Introduction: No-Glue Bow and Arrow

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My other Instructable, the Bow and Arrow, is one of the most popular projects among my students. It's fairly easy to build, customizable, and highly rewarding to play with. This project, the No-Glue Bow and Arrow, utilizes the same building ideas, though as the title implies, does not require hot glue.

You can find the lesson plan, 1-page project sheet, and more project ideas at

Step 1: Materials

Please message me to report broken links. All of these materials are used in my other Instructables for kids, so your purchases can be used across multiple projects.

2 straws

1 skewer

4 craft sticks

1 rubber band

1 cube

1 glue stick

masking tape (Dispenser)

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Step 2: Build the Frame

Cut a straw into quarters. Flatten the end of a straw piece by pinching it and then insert a craft stick about half way in. Continue until 4 sticks and straws are connected to form a square.

Peel off some tape from the roll, but don't sever it. Apply the tape to the side of the square and wrap the entire perimeter. This will prevent the sticks from slipping out of the straws.

Step 3: Create the Bow Shape

Tape a cube near the corner of the inside of the square, then fold it and tape it together. The gap created by the cube is where the arrow will rest. This helps to stabilize the arrow when launched.

Step 4: Add Support and Rubberband

Cut a skewer so that it is about 2" shorter than the bow. Wedge one end of the skewer into the bend and tape it in place.

Bend the bow into a V shape and wedge the other end of the skewer into the other end of the bow. Tape that as well.

Loop a rubberband around the ends of the bow. The friction of the rubber should be enough to temporarily hold it in place. Firmly apply tape to the ends of the bow to secure the rubberband in place.

Step 5: Make Arrows

Insert a 1/4 piece of a glue stick into a whole straw. Leave some of the glue stick poking out and tape it to the straw. The glue stick lends weight to the arrow which will provide momentum when fired. An arrow without a glue stick does not perform as well since it is too light and too susceptible to drag.

Wrap tape around the other end of the arrow and cut a notch. The tape prevents the plastic straw from splintering as the notch is cut.

Step 6: Useage, Safety, and Tips

To use the bow:
  1. Load the arrow though the front of the bow and hook the notch onto the rubberband.
  2. Pinch the notched part of the arrow with one hand and hold the bow firmly in the other hand.
  3. Aim away from people and fragile things, pull the arrow back, and release!
  • Warning! This project can be dangerous! Never allow students to aim the bow at another person, even if it is not loaded. If a student aims their bow at someone, warn them to not do that or they will have their bow revoked until the end of class.
  • If you are confined to an indoor area, set up at least one designated shooting area. Create targets that are fun and engaging such as stacked cups, something that makes noise, or even a piece of cardboard with a hole in the center. Have students take turns firing. After a student fires an arrow, he/she should quickly retrieve it and move aside before another student takes his/her turn.
  • Some students have difficulty effectively firing the bow. Make sure that: the arrow is being pulled back far enough to store lots of energy; the bow is being held firmly; the notch is being pinched, not grabbed; the arrow is released by letting go of the notch, not by flicking the bow forward.