Arrow cresting has long been used as a way for archers and hunters to identify their arrows. Cresting is also often implemented as an art form to beautify the arrow's appearance. The arrow crest rests under the fletching and typically involves bright colours, bands and patterns. Several methods are used to crest an arrow, but the overall design is specifically up to the arrow owner's preference.
Pattern cresting is a way to set your arrows apart from one another or from other hunter's arrows. Pattern cresting is also used for "show" arrows that can be given as a gift or those used in a ceremony. If you have specific arrow weights you need to use for specific shots, a pattern can help you identify the arrows you need to use so you can grab them quickly. Patterns, such as religious symbols, flag symbols, sections of lines and dots or alternating colours are ideal patterns to use to set an arrow apart from another. Patterns can be formed by applying various paints or by hand-painting them with a small brush.
Arrow wrapping can also be performed as arrow cresting. This type of cresting involves wrapping fabric, string or sinew onto the arrow after adhesive has been applied to the shaft. Note that this form of cresting will add weight to the arrow shaft, which will cause a change in velocity and flight. Alternating patterns with coloured or died string can also help to beautify the arrow crest. A simple white wrap can be used for specific arrows used for specific targets, or a black wrap for arrows intended for specific targets. Premanufactured cresting wraps are also available in many sizes, styles and colours.
If you know how to use an airbrush, airbrushing your arrow crest can be a fast and easy method. Not only can you blend and mesh colours to your preference, but you can also touch the area up if it becomes worn or faded. This type of cresting technique is generally done along with a cresting machine. A cresting machine is a simple device that rotates the arrow while you apply the paint. Some airbrushed designs include names, initials, various colour schemes and camouflage.
The most original form of cresting is the brush method. The brush method involves using several size detail brushes to apply the design. You can perform this type of cresting without the aid of a cresting machine or kit if you have a steady hand and a good eye for detail. Many who chose to hand-brush their own cresting also use a cresting machine or a kit which has a jig or a cresting chuck to hold the arrow in place and keep it balanced as you paint the crest.