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    DIY PVC Bow and Arrow

    Posted by  ·  July 24, 2012

    When my boys were little we did several parties centered around these PVC bow and arrows. Now we have a little girl who just saw the movie Brave , so these wildly fun bow and arrows have made another appearance.

    The bow and arrows are super simple to make and make great party favors if you are hosting a party! The best thing is the kids love them.

    How to make a PVC Bow & Arrow


    You will need the following supplies:

    40″ of  1/2″ PVC pipe (these come in 10′ sticks of schedule 40 thickness)
    16″ X 3/8″ dowel rods (purchase a 48″ piece that makes three arrows)
    6″ of foam pipe cover (use a 3/4″ diameter piece that is sold in 6′ lengths)
    thick nylon string
    a lighter to seal the ends of this string
    a hacksaw or fine tooth jig saw
    duct tape
    zip ties
    foam cut into triangles (I used 2″ thick foam home insulation cut into approximately 3″x 3″ triangles)

    One 10′ pipe will make three bows. Cut pipe into 3 equal 40″ pieces

    Tie a large knot into the end of the nylon string. It needs to be big enough to not slip through the notch in the pvc. Use a lighter or match to burn the end to keep it from fraying.

    Cut a one inch long notch into one side of the PVC pipe on each end. Next place the knot into the notch. Pull tight and make sure the knot is big enough to not slip through. A bead can also be tied to the end to keep it from sliping.

    Pull the string tight along the cut PV pipe and cut sting and tie a knot about 4 1/2 inches from the other end of the pipe. Bend the pipe and slip the knot into the other end.

    Wrap a piece of duct tape around each end of the pipe to keep the string from popping out.

    Place the pipe foam around the middle of the pvc pipe. Bring edges together and secure on each side with a zip tie. Trim the ends of the zip tie close to the handle.

    Stick the dowel into the foam and remove. Now coat the end of the stick with hot glue and place back into the foam. A slit can be cut into the end of the dowel to make it easier for the child to place on the string of the bow.

    It takes some practice and patience but they mastered it. The bow and arrows kept our Brave girls busy until sunset!

    Leave a Comment


    1. Kellie
      Monday, May 11th, 2015
      These look so fun! My kids will love them. Thanks for sharing!!
    2. Cairn
      Friday, July 25th, 2014
      Did I miss it or how long do you make the string/cord?
    3. Bob Taylor
      Monday, December 30th, 2013
      My grand daughter and I made 14 of these this weekend for her 9th birthday party. I also had trouble with the string breaking. I had used the Tarred line (not waxed) and it broke, so I tried non tarred trot line that was a larger size. It worked better, but still had a little problem breaking, so I found a larger diameter tarred line (also from Walmart) and made a spare bow string for each bow. Hopefully that will last longer. My son in Law and I may be busy re stringing the bows during the party.
      The string was pretty rough on our fingers, so I wrapped the 2" section of the string where the arrow hooks onto the string with duct tape. That made the string less abrasive.
      After assembly we shot a few arrows and noticed that the foam tip made the arrow flip around and fly backwards down range. I didn't want to go to the trouble of gluing feather fletching, so I made fletching by cutting 8- 2" strips of bow string and taped it to the rear section of the arrow using duct tape. This made the arrow fly straighter.
      This was a good grandfather/ grand daughter project on a cold rainy saturday afternoon.
      • Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
        Hi Bob, thanks for the tips! Our string was a heavy duty nylon and had no problem with breakage.
    4. Bob Taylor
      Sunday, December 22nd, 2013
      For the string, try waxed thread used by trotline fishermen. It can be purchased from Walmart in the fishing dept.
    5. R
      Thursday, November 21st, 2013
      we tripled our string and it forced the pac pipe to bed into a nicer bow shape.W
    6. MAJ
      Sunday, October 20th, 2013
      To protect our hands when shooting, I bought packs of Hanes tube socks and cut off about 1/2 " from the toe. The kids slipped the now-truly-a-tube tube socks over their hands and forearms and no one sustained injury. Hope that helps!
    7. Mary
      Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
      I am having the same trouble with the string either splitting or breaking. I even tried wire that is used to hang pictures but eventually broke. I have 7 made but cannot conquer the string problem. the one i bought for a pattern had a brown rope like in a 5 ply but not stretchy at all. couldn't find anything like that. Any ideas what that would be?
    8. Dickface
      Sunday, October 6th, 2013
    9. Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
      Can anyone suggest a nylon string which you used? I used 2 types, and both split after little use.
    10. Eli
      Monday, August 19th, 2013
      Did anyone have trouble with the pipe splitting when you bent it to slip the string in on the second end? Any ideas on how to prevent this problem, or what is causing it?
    11. Marlo
      Friday, July 26th, 2013
      We are so excited to make these. We went camping this weekend and our friends kids had made these. My boys want to make them so Ihave been searching on line for instructions. To personalize them they covered the pvc pipe with fun duct tape. This might help cover the writing on the pvc. If not try liquid sand I have used that remove ink stuff before.
    12. Friday, July 19th, 2013
      The CPVC pipes are used for a number of reasons. The pipes are used for commercial purposes.
    13. Fanua Matagi
      Monday, June 24th, 2013
      They turned out great-thank you!
      We also used pencil eraser tops for the arrow tips instead of the foam, and then cut more length to the string so there was more slack. Those of you getting a sore thumb/hand will find that there is less soreness with a more slack rope. There is a difference in efficiency, but the arrow will still shoot and that's what we needed for our group of 4-5 year olds.
      Thanks for the fun project and thorough instructions!!
    14. Alison Navarro
      Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
      Above someone said to use a blow torch gently to brown the pvc and give it the look of real wood. Could maybe cover up the ink?
      We are doing this in a few days, my kids can't wait! Neither can my husband!
    15. Cathy
      Monday, June 17th, 2013
      Does anyone know how to remove the ink writing on the PVC ? I have made six so far for our family reunion. I do like the erasers better, less bulky. I am having fun shooting them myself. Thanks for the instructions .
    16. Frank Bright
      Friday, May 31st, 2013
      I can't seem to get the arrows to go straight. any help?
    17. Shawna
      Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
      My coworker and I made these for a youth group. We used those little pencil top erasers for arrow tips, with the tips cut off. They work great. Also, we had the kids dip the arrows in washable paint before shooting at a paper target. We also ended up adding an arrow rest with some of the leftover foam. It makes for a great activity for a wide range of ages!
    18. john
      Thursday, April 25th, 2013
      If you have older children 17+ and they want a bow and arrow you can use 1" pvc piping markin the midle and 2" down each way from the center, use a heat gun to heat it up one side at a time and flaten it with a 3 ft 2x4 this will make the bow stronger and provide more pressure, although it requires a real bow string you can purchase from bow shops for about $15
    19. Ashley
      Friday, April 19th, 2013
      The same thing is happening to me as to Terri (above). The string is hitting my thumb joint and it really hurts. I want to fix this before I try to give this to my kids.
    20. Terri
      Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
      When I saw this, I immediately went to HD and got what I need to make one. I am hoping to use these with our youngest girls at girl scout day camp. My only problem is when I pull back the string then release it, it hits my thumb joint. Did I do something wrong? It seems like the bow doesn't have much curve.
    21. A Rigsbee
      Saturday, April 13th, 2013
      Did this today! Thanks for the instructions - very fun!
    22. MamaC
      Saturday, February 9th, 2013
      I would like to make a couple of these for a kindergarten Valentine's day party. Wondering if I can use an elastic cord and run it all the way through the pvc as time is limited (school party) and it sounds like it may take a bit of time to become comfortable with this instrument. I'm thinking the elastic will offer immediate bouncy and kids won't get discouraged if their arrow goes haywire,everyone goes home happy, etc. Thoughts?
    23. Patricia
      Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
      Wonder if you could give an approx length of the nylon cord for the bow. I would like to have everything precut to make 'kits' for the children to put together. Thank you.
    24. Mr.Reality
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      yeah then what happens when the kid decides to take of the foam and put a rock on how strong is this bow 5, 10, 20 pounds?
    25. lynn
      Thursday, September 13th, 2012
      thanks so much for the great project. we made 3 bows and arrows today with my son and his friends (ages4-7) and it was a really great project to do together. and, of course, once we were finished they had a blast.
      i can see making more for gifts in the future. again=thanks!
    26. Brigitte
      Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
      Thanks for sharing! I made 25 of these today for my daughter's Brave party this weekend. I had a very tough time bending that sch 40 pvc pipe. I found some sch 20 1/2" pvc at my local hardware store (a local chain; HD and Lowes doesn't have it). It has thinner walls than the sch 40 and a lot easier to bend. I saw some similar to these on Etsy, but they were spray painted so that's all I have left to do. :-)
    27. Monday, September 10th, 2012
      Thank you for sharing, I've been looking over your website as some inspiration for babysitting my nephew, and this one got me excited to try even on my own :)
    28. Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
      Loved this so much we had to share on our blog today! Thanks for the inspiration!
    29. Saturday, September 1st, 2012
      What a cool idea!
    30. Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
      Yes, Melissa, there are pro archers, matter of fact. I hope you were able to watch replays of the archery eliminations, semifinals, and trophy events of the olympic archers. It was WAY exciting for those of us who have competed at any point in time. If all you can handle is "one" event, watch the final. Exciting, exciting!!! And if she does to take up the sport (they even have a junior olympics organization), be sure she takes classes so she develops correct form. It gets so discouraging to practice and practice, yet not know what you're doing wrong :) (As hobbies go, it's not nearly as expensive as some!)
    31. Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
      How fun and clever. I think both of my not so little ones would actually enjoy this!
    32. Sunday, July 29th, 2012
      Oh, what a great idea. We have a friend's son in Canada that really enjoyed using our real bow and arrow, but we sure are not going to give him a real one. I just might have to make this for him for Christmas.
    33. Amy
      Thursday, July 26th, 2012
    34. Katrina cannava
      Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
      My kids loved this project! Thank you for sharing.
    35. Cathy Hayes
      Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
      The photographs are AWESOME! Especially that first one! :)
    36. virginia hopper
      Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
      I have just finished a "Ride into History" with some kids and adults. One boy made an arrow out of a small limb and feathers and lashed a real arrow head onto it. Making a bow out of another limb and a string. I thought he did a great job in replicating the iIndians. Yours is a great project depicting a safe, modern tool. Thanks
    37. Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
      um, should I put this....YOU JUST MADE MY LIFE. or my daughter's life to be exact! She's 6 and 'Brave' has consumed her world and imagination -- she wants to be a professional archer now (is there such a thing??) -- this is too fabulous, thank you!!!
    38. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      Such a neat idea...I will be making these with my son. Thanks!:)
    39. Susan
      Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      love this idea, my boys are going to have a blast. Can't wait to put this on the calendar. FUN!
    40. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      oh my gosh this is so awesome I'm pinning it for our next Hunger Games Party!

      rae gun ramblings
    41. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      How fun!!! What's crazy is that I already have everything I need to make this after making my parrot a play stand!
    42. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      thank you for this! My daughter is far to young, but my boys have really wanted a bow and arrow set for a long time! This is one I wont mind them having. No sharp edges!
    43. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
      I see a project with my daughter coming on. Thank you!!