Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mini bow and arrows


Another of my husband's creative adventures at boys' club.  This is an awesome craft - obviously because it involves bows and arrows - but also because it's simple to set up and very inexpensive.  All credit for the original idea and instructions belongs to this post from The Brooding Hen.  However, there was quite a lot of helpful additional information in the comments section from that post so I'm going to rehash it all together for you to make it simple.

For each person, you'll need a wooden paddle-pop stick, 3-6 cotton-wool buds and some dental floss.  If you are doing this craft with a group, I'd suggest an envelope for each child for taking home their bow and arrows and some textas  for decorating their bow.  For the preparation beforehand, you'll also need a pocketknife, a tall drinking glass or a round container (about the dimensions of a wide mug or glass).

If you are doing this at home, you'll need about an hour for soaking the sticks, 30 mins to dry them into shape and then you are good to go.  If you are doing this for a large group, I'd suggest starting your prep the day before or with at least 5 hours lead time for preparation.


1. First step is to soak the pop sticks for at least an hour or two.  This is to get them bendy enough to flex.

2. Cut notches on both sides of the top and bottom of each stick.  You want to make sure the bow string is going to tuck in nicely and not slip off.  Don't make the notch too deep or you create a weak point at the head of your stick and it might snap off.

3. As soon as you've done the notches, gently bend the stick and fit it into the inside of a wide mug or glass or narrow storage jar or vase.  You will lose some sticks in this process - they will have a fault line somewhere and snap on you.  So have more stick soaking than you think you'll need.  I soaked 20 and lost about 5 in the process.

  You're going to leave the sticks in the mug/glass/vase to dry out into a nice bent shape.

With the kids

4. Get the kids to decorate their special bow with their own tribal design.

5.  They need to pull the cotton wool off just one end of each of their arrows.  You may want them to make their own unique stripes/markings with coloured sharpie markers on the arrows so you know whose is whose.  This is to aid the identification of the guilty later when the leaders end up with arrows in their hair.

6.  Tie a piece of dental floss to one end of your bow, then wrap it around the other end a few times until it is nice and taunt.  Then tie it off.  The string needs to be taunt or the arrows won't fly very far. Younger kids will need help with the knots so you can have an adult helper going along and doing that with the kids individually while they busy decorating their bows.

7.  Fire time!  To use the bow successfully, you must use a pinching action for pulling back the string.

So you pinch the end of the cotton bud horizontally with the bow string in between your thumb and forefinger.  Pull back (aiming away from people's faces) and fire!  You'll want to do a little safety chat if you have... oh, let's say about a dozen ... six-year old boys running wild with bows and arrows.


Tasmanian said...


Karen said...

Love your work, Deb. We have leftover sticks from making Oreo Pops for the birthday party...some have become finger puppets but I'm thinking this might take care of the rest of them :)

Ben McLaughlin said...

Awesome. I'm surprised at the maliableness of the paddlepop sticks.

ps- congrats on being W.V. Free:)

Deb said...

Thanks, Ben! I think I never knew I had W.V. because it doesn't come up when I do a comment (like this one). So I thought I was free. Now I know I really had an infestation and it need some strong action. Thank goodness you pointed it out and we were able to exterminate all the W.V. before it got out of hand. You can never be too careful with these things.