How to Make a Homemade Bow & Arrow

Updated March 30, 2017

A homemade bow and arrow can be made out of simple supplies and in a short amount of time. A homemade bow and arrow is an essential tool when camping if you have no other tools to hunt food. A homemade bow and arrow also is handcrafted and will last with maintenance. Impress your friends and family with your own homemade bow and arrow.

Find a yew, willow, locust, cedar, hickory, ash, oak, elm, birch or maple tree branch that is straight as possible with few knots in the branch. Cut two or three branches. You may also use saplings, suckers or shoots that are near a water source such as a creek or stream. The length of the bow should be between 4 and 5 feet. The diameter of the bow should be at least an inch at the centre of the bow and 3/4 of an inch at the top of the bow.

Peel the bark of the branch by hand. Allow the branch to dry in the shade.

Wrap tape or leather around the centre of the branch. Wrap the top centre of the bow with tape or leather to make an arrow rest.

Use a knife to cut notches in a "V" fashion towards the inside of the bow on both ends of the branch. Wrap tape around both ends of the bow to reinforce.

Use scissors to cut 12 inches of nylon twine, string or leather strip. You can even use shoelaces that have been tied together.

Tie the string to the bottom of the bow and make sure it is secure. Tie a loop or slip knot in the other end of the string about 6 inches shorter than the length of the bow.

Put the thick end of the bow on the ground next to your foot on the outside. Hold the top end of the bow with your right hand and step past the bow with your right foot. Put the back side of your right knee against the inside of the bow. Hold the string slip knot and bend the bow over the back of your right knee and toward your left hand. Put the string over the end of the bow.

Gather up to 20 straight sapling, shoot or sucker branches that are 24 to 30 inches in length without knots. The branches need to be 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in diameter. Shorter arrows will fly straighter and more easily.

Take the bark off of the branches and tie them all into a bunch. This helps preserve the straightness of the arrows. Allow the arrows to cure for one to 10 days in the shade. Hand straighten the arrows if needed daily.

Carve a point in the arrow with a knife. You can harden the end of the arrow by charring the point over a campfire.

Carve a notch into the thick bottom end of the arrow so it will fit on the string of the bow and can be fired. Wrap twine around the end of the arrow where you carved the notch to help prevent the end of the arrow from splitting.


Do not aim your bow and arrow at other people.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine or string
  • Tape or leather
  • Knife
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Cassie Skelley has been writing articles about computers, electronics, video games and personal care for the Ikana Kai newsletter and Bon Losee Beauty College since 2005. Skelley majored in biology at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and in cosmetology at Bon Losee.