6" Bow and Needle-tipped Arrows (Perversely Inspired by Cupid)




I saw some gaudy heart-shaped balloons the other day, and my inner-imp thought it would be wonderful to pop them. And since Cupid pierced people's hearts with shafts of love, the natural method of balloon popping that came to mind was "Shoot them with arrows!"

I guess this is a bit perverse for a Valentine's Day project, but I'm sure some of you have had similar desires to pop a few heart-shaped balloons.

(I didn't actually pop them.)

I grew up in urban/suburban areas, and never had much of a yard for archery, so I improvised as a kid. I grabbed some bamboo skewers, a few sewing needles, floss and glue, and made myself little bow+arrow kits that would work wonderfully in my bedroom. (All those beastly stuffed animals to hunt and all.)

The general idea: a single skewer will be made into a bow, and the rest of the skewers will be cut in half to make arrows.

Step 1: Disclaimer & Materials Needed

I had considered writing this instructable down to the tiniest detail (e.g. what knots I used to tie what), but then I thought "If someone can't figure out some of this on his own, he has no right to be shooting little needle-pointed arrows around in the first place."

I am not responsible for your stupidity.
Even as a seven year old I didn't skewer any living things with my arrows, so you don't have much of an excuse.

Reality check:
These things shoot at pretty high velocity and fly very unpredictably and can ricochet. From five feet away, I got an arrow firmly lodged in a solid wood door. These things will go upwards of 10 feet.


So, you'll probably need:
Bamboo skewers (minimum 6")
Sewing needles
Floss or upholstery thread (as a kid, I totally had mint-y, plaque fighting arrows.)
Some blister-pack plastic or stiff paper
Super glue, white glue
X-Acto knife

Step 2: Skewer Prep.

Get a skewer. Cut notches into the sides of the skewer, about 1/4 inch from the ends: this will be where your bow string is tied, and you don't want it slipping off.

Get a second skewer. Cut it in half. Take the end without the point-y bit, sharpen it. Now you have two point-y half-skewers.

Step 3: Making It Pointy

Cut a groove into the two halves: this is where the needle will sit. You will probably want half the needle sticking out, but adjust the length of the groove as you will. No need to cut it all that deep, just enough to cradle the needle.
(If you happen to have fairly unequal halves, cut the groove into the stouter half.)

Place the needle into groove. Dab some superglue on to hold in place.

Grab about 10 inches floss (you'll probably want leftover string at the end--it makes things easier to tie) and tie the needle towards the eye-end to one half of the skewer. Glue. Sandwich the floss between the two halves, start wrapping. Tie off and glue.

Step 4: Stick Some Tail-feathers On

Cut out fletching from paper/plastic. Dab some white glue on either side, slide into not-pointy-end of arrows. Leave some space at the end of the skewer so that when the arrow is on the bowstring, the fletching isn't getting in the way.

Grab about 6 inches of floss, tie the two skewer halves together at the far end of the arrow and wrap the floss around a few times, trail the floss to the other end of the fletching, wrap a few more times, trail it back, wrap and tie. Glue.

Step 5: Oh, Right. the Bow.

Go back to your bow skewer. Take 10 inches of floss, tie securely to one end of bow. Bend bow slightly (the curve should be about/less-than one inch deep) and tie other end. Glue. Lots of glue.

Let bow and arrows dry.

Step 6: Arrow Variations

-If you have a longer skewer with which to make a bow, keep the shorter skewers full-length to make arrows
-You needn't needle-point the arrows, but you will want extra weight at the point-end, so come up with some other weighting method
-You can try splitting the arrow skewers into thirds and fletch them with the triple fletching real arrows usually have

Step 7: Have Fun

Shoot things. Carefully.



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    53 Discussions


    2 years ago

    i never realized how hard it was to bend unsoaked wood til now

    ryzellonAce Guyas

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    None of the bamboo chopsticks I've ever seen could be flexed more than a few millimeters, so no, you couldn't use chopsticks without modification. You may be able to split a chopstick down into slimmer sections that could flex enough for this project, but I haven't tried it. I wouldn't try it with the non-disposable type, though: they're probably too solid/rigid/sturdy.

    gabe yoo

    5 years ago

    Isn't the skewer already pointy? But the nail is cool


    6 years ago

    This is a good instructable


    7 years ago on Introduction

    might make it into a crossbow.. now that would be cool!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    thanks.this is just what i needed.since i've been umemployed,i needed a simple project to keep my brain occupied.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I am soaking the bow shaft in water for it to be flexible. Is that OK? I think i need to make a nock for the arrow to sit on the string, but the skewer is too small for me to cut it with a knife, any way to do it?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Soaking the material is usually done when you want it to hold a shape on its own. If you're having issues bending the bow piece into a sufficient curve, then soaking it will help. (Be careful, though, since it will reduce the power of the bow.) As for the nock, here's a few suggestions: -Wrap fine sandpaper around something like a credit card and file the nock -Wood burner/heat a narrow piece of metal and use it to char a notch out (but make sure you don't mind ruining the temper on the metal) -Triangular or square files (hobby-sized) -Jeweler's saw *Though if you've already split the rear of the shaft to allow for the fletching, then you can just carefully sand down each side of the split to create a notch when the sides are stuck back together.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     the bow kinda looks like a pencil, but cool anyway


    9 years ago on Step 1

     wow. you're pretty smart for a 7 yr old.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i used to shoot people with my mini crossbow when iwas young .Good times


    10 years ago on Step 1

    my only problem was i shot it and it recoshaded of the wall into by leg. it whent in 2 inches. But on the bright side now i dont have to get my yearly shot!

    2 replies