How to make your own bow

Updated April 17, 2017

The bow has been used for 50,000 years according to Larry Wise's "Bow and Arrow: The Comprehensive Guide to Equipment, Technique, and Competition." Bows were first made from a stick and a piece of vine stretched across the wood. Bows are still popular today, as millions of Americans shoot them recreationally. You do not need a sophisticated bow to enjoy archery, and can make your own bow from a piece of bamboo and a string.

Cut a thick piece of bamboo about 4 feet in length. Bamboo is ideal because it is a flexible material and it is readily available in nature.

Cut the bamboo into two sections lengthwise. Separate each piece in half lengthwise, leaving you with four 4-feet long pieces of bamboo. Remove all the edges by scraping the sides of the pieces with your knife.

Stack three bamboo pieces on top of each other tightly to add more strength to your bow. Tie both ends with a 550 paracord. Bind the bamboo pieces in four places: at each end, three quarters of the way down and at the centre to make a grip. You can also twirl the cord around the bow from one end to the other then come back a second time along the length of the bow. This is called the Wedge Method.

Measure your bow and cut a bowstring a few inches shorter than the bow itself. Use Dacron or some other string that is not too stretchy. Make loops on both ends of the thread and pass each loop over each end of the bow. The cord that secures the end of the bow should hold the string into place.


Bamboo can be found near open wetlands and lakes. Bamboo is not the only material appropriate for this project. You can also use oak, maple, reed or ash. Choose straight and thin branches without knots. For the bowstring, you can also use nylon, fishing lines, silk threads or even a vine.


Wear gloves to reduce the chances of getting cut by the knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Bamboo
  • Knife
  • 550 paracord
  • Dacron string
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About the Author

Soumy Ana started writing professionally in 1995. She has written for “Al Jumuah” and various Web sites. Ana is the winner of the 1999 IWA Short Stories Contest. Ana holds a Master of Arts in TESOL from Southern Illinois University, a Maîtrise des Lettres et Arts from Pau, France, and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center, Canada.