Playing with Nerf guns is a fun activity fun activity enjoyed by many people. Unfortunately, the fun often runs out once all the darts have been lost. Making your own darts is much cheaper than buying replacements.
The one caveat of using these darts is that your Nerf gun must have barrel post removed. This is easy to do although not appreciated by the Hasbro company. The method by which you can remove the barrel post of your specific gun can be easily found trough a few Google or Youtube searches.
If you modify your guns, homemade darts (stefans) allow you much more options in barrel and loading systems as well as increased performance.
This is a slightly modified version of the classic home made Nerf dart that makes them more safe and easier to retrieve.
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Step 1: Materials
-Hot glue: Don't be a cheapskate, buy Arrow brand, it is the best I have found.
-Hot glue gun: Try to use one with a ow heat setting, too hot of a glue gun can over-melt your foam.
-BBs: I use copperhead brand air-gun bbs, these will provide weight.
-Knife: I like to use a plain old razor blade, make sure it is new and sharp.
-Hair dryer: There is a heat gun in the picture, it is overkill. Even some hair dryers can be too much. I only used the heat gun since I did not have a hair dryer on hand.
-Spray paint: Try a few brands to see what sticks to your foam best, don't use krylon fusion or any metallic paints though, they will not work well.
-A pillow case: This will hold the foam while your heat it. Many things can be used in place of a pillow case, I have even used a brown paper bag.
-1/2 inch Foam backer rod: This is what you actually make the darts out of. Make sure that you buy the 1/2 inch variety. It can be found at any hardware store. Ask for foam backer rod, if they say they do not have it, try asking for "Caulk saver." It usually costs around 3-5 dollars for 20 feet and is available online cheaper. There are many brands, most are fine. DO NOT BUY "Frost King" brand foam, it is crap, anything else is better. Also, color is not important some are almost white and some are black.
Step 2: Cut the "blanks"
The first step is to cut the pieces of foam that will be the body of the darts. I make them a little over 2 inches long, the length is up to you. When you cut it, bu sure to pull the foam straight. That way, after the blank is straightened permanently in the next step, the tips will be flat.
Cut one blank, then repeat as many times as you want. If you are planning to use the whole roll, save a foot or two for the final step.
Step 3: Straighten the Blanks
After you cut your blanks, load them all into the pillowcase or whatever suitable substitute you have come up with. Then, using your hair dryer, blow it into the pillowcase while shaking the darts around. I like to start with 10 seconds and then check the foam. If the pieces look straight, stop. If not, heat them for a few seconds and check again. The darts will go very quickly from straight, to, shriveled hunks of molten plastic so you don't want to heat them longer than you have too.
Heating the foam make the air inside it expand and make it reject the curve it has adopted from being coiled up in a bag.
Step 4: Melt Holes in the Blanks
You can either do this to all of the blanks and then start steps 5 and 6 on each dart, or do steps 4, 5, and 6 to each dart as you go.
For each dart, use the tip of your hot glue gun to melt a small intend in the center of one end of the blank. This should be deep enough that the top of the bb is almost flush with the top edge of the blank.
Step 5: Glue
Making sure that the glue will not melt the foam, put a small amount of hot glue on top of the bb and quickly progress to step 6.
Step 6: Making the Tip
Remember the piece you saved while cutting up the foam? Take the end of that and stick it on top the weight and glue.
Step 7: Trim the Head
After the glue has set, use the razor blade to cut the dart free of the extra foam, leaving a layer over the top of the weight.
Step 8: Paint the Darts
Painting makes your darts much easier to find, decreasing lost darts and litter. This step is optional, unless you are planning to use these darts at a Zomb-East hosted event. There are many ways to do this, I just throw them in a box, paint, shake them around, and paint again until they are all well covered.
Let the paint dry and you are done!
If you are a Zomb-East participant go to the next step, we are not done with you yet.
Step 9: For Zomb-East Participants
Pro Tip: Paint your darts the day-of the event. The paint is most durable for about 12 hours after application.
THESE ARE THE ONLY HOMEMADE DARTS ALLOWED AT ZOMB-EAST EVENTS and must meet the following standards.
-Use bbs as weights, anything more could be dangerous.
-All metal and glue must be covered by a foam tip
-The darts must be painted a BRIGHT color.
-In other words, the only thing that can differ from these instructions is the color, length and brands of materials used.
Also, a reminder: PICK UP ALL DARTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. If you are not under the direct threat of zombies, you have time to pick up the dart next to your foot.
Have fun and see you at the event!
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