Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Make a Toy Bow and Arrow Set

This easy-to-make bow and arrow work well enough to get some decent distance when shot but not enough to inflict any serious puncture wounds. Although, of course, keep away from the eyes!

bow, arrows, quiver

This past Halloween my son went as Robin Hood. We didn't like any of the plastic-y, bright bow and arrows at the toy store so we decided to make our own. I happened to be pruning some watersprouts out of my fruit trees and thought the branches would be perfect for the job, but any straight, somewhat flexible branches will do. I was surprised how fast and easy it was to make a bow, arrow, and quiver. All you need is several thin, straight twigs, some twine, a mailing tube, craft paper and your clippers!

First I selected several branches about 1/4-1/2" thick and about 2' long. Pull all the leaves off.


Make several angled cuts at the thick end to form a point.

making the point

Holding your clippers carefully, scrape the nodes off the branch so that it is smoother.

shave off the nodes

Carefully cut down the middle of the thin end about 3/4" long. Slip the blade of the clipper carefully into the cut and gently work it so that they opening is a bit wider.

split end in half

gently widen split

For the bow, take a branch that is about 3' long. About an inch from the end, carefully run your clipper blade around the circumference so that a slight groove is formed. Tie the twine so that it rests in the grooves and pulls the branch back into a bow shape.


Cover the mailing tube with craft paper and cut some fringe at the bottom if you want to get fancy. Drill two holes and tie the twine through so the quiver can be thrown over the back. Make sure the twine is the correct length so that the quiver rests high enough on the back that the arrows can be easily reached over the shoulder.

mailing tube

And you're done!

Load the arrow by putting the twine of the bow between the slit on the back of the arrow. Pinch the back of the arrow and let the front near the point rest on your hand holding the bow. Pull back, aim and release!

loading arrow

robin hood



  1. This was AWESOME! Thank you! I just whipped up a toy for my kiddos, and credited your blog. Thank you!!

  2. i have a project for litercy and im being katniss. so i needed a bow and arrows ive spent literly an hour trying to find some decent site and now ive found yours this will be great!

  3. I too was looking at websites for a safe and affordable bow and arrow for my daughter's Princess Merida costume.... and then I found your blog. Thank you so much for the great idea, ready to search my yard and trees for twigs.

  4. Your son is adorable!! I <3 making these for my kids! They absolutley love them! Thanks alot!

  5. I will try this asap. I am so glad that i own a cherry tree cos the branches are really flexible. Thanks for sharing your ideas, im sure it will work. I wonder if this is how Katniss Everdeen would make her bows and arrows in The Hunger Games films. I love the Hunger Games and i have all the books and film and as soon as the new one comes out i am going to watch it. Ur son is sooooo cute:)

  6. This is brilliant! I'm going as Robin Hood to a party tomorrow night and was trying to find inspiration for how to do the bow and arrows. I didn't think of a parcel tube. I'm pinching one from work - thank you!!

  7. they work great-made some for my scout den for a skit

  8. Great for World Book Day! Thanks ^w^


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