How To Make A Bow In The Forest (DIY Guide)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
a girl with a bow in the forest

Are you going camping, hiking, or hunting? A bow will come in handy for emergency situations and is a useful resource for self-defense. A lot of camping and hiking purists like to go out with minimal equipment and create their own gear, for those types of people this is a great do-it-yourself resource.

While there are modern hunting tools available, the sophistication of a bow and the fact that it can be created by anyone makes it one of the key tools in anyone’s do-it-yourself arsenal.



Evaluate Your Bow and Arrow Making Strategy


The following are some valuable steps and tips that will aid you in making a bow and arrow:

Gather all the necessary items that you might need for making a bow and an arrow. The main tool that you’ll need to make the bow is a sharp knife or stone. Store the items in a safe and accessible place, such as your backpack.


Creating your Arrow


A bow is nothing without an arrow, so you’ll need to make both items.

Firstly, find good sticks for the arrows, such as long thin sticks from trees or bushes. Getting sticks is easy; you can find them anywhere in the forest.

Secondly, find feathers from fallen birds these are usually all around the forest while feathers are not completely essential they are very helpful in stabilizing the arrow when it is released from the bow but if you cannot find one you can also make a wood back which is also called the knock.

Cut, split and attach the feathers on the one end of your arrow with glue, tape, or tie it with tree vines.



Steps to Crafting a Bow



  • A branch that’s 4-5 feet long
  • Easily bent sticks

Pick the stick for the bow based on your height. The stick should be dry but not cracking to ensure that it is somewhat flexible to bend.



To create a bow, you need to cut notches at each end of the bow. Cut them at least a half-inch deep and assure that the notches are made on the opposite side of the curve.



Make sure the notches are deep enough to hold the bowstring steadily and securely. Also, make sure that the notches at each end of the stick are equally at a distance from the end.



Create a Bow String


Various materials can be utilized to make the bowstring. But making a bow in the forest is limited by the availability of materials. You can use:

  • Plant Fibers
  • Linen
  • Silk
  • Vegetable Fibers
  • Rawhide
  • Sinew
  • Hemp
  • Fishing line

Make sure that what you choose for the string should not be stretchy, and should have the necessary strength to sustain power.


Stringing your Bow


Now to the last step of making the bow is to string your bow. To complete the bow, make sure the string is 3/4s of the bow’s length. The determined size is the best fit to increase the power of the bow and make it easily usable.

Next, make loose loop knots at both ends of the string before fitting it into the bow’s notches. Then tie the loops string at each notch of the stick. Make sure that the loops are tight and perfectly fit the notches to assure that it is tight.

The string needs to be tight enough to bend the bow, and then check the bow to make sure that the stick bends evenly and is flexible as required.





What kind of wood do you use to make bows and arrows?


For making a bow, selecting the correct type of wood is the key. While in the forest, you are exposed to various kinds of trees, each with its unique characteristics. The different types of woods that you can use to make bows and arrows include: (1)

  • Maple 
  • Osage Orange
  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Green-Wood
  • Ash
  • Black Locust
  • Bamboo

The types mentioned above are the ones that you can easily get your hands on.


What is the best wood for making a straight or recurve bow?


For making a straight bow, any of the preferred wood in the section above can be used. However, for recurve bow, the best wood is a tie between maple and hickory. Both wood types are accessible and reasonable, having durability and sappiness that are needed for a recurve bow.

For a beginner in DIY bow and arrow making, hickory is your go-to option, while survivalists in the past have preferred maple due to its flexibility. Maple and Osage orange has good flexibility, along with having high strength. The availability of Oak makes it one of the best wood materials for making a bow and arrow.


Why is a recurve better?


Recurve bows have a unique arched shape, which enables the person to use a higher amount of energy. A recurve bow is better than a straight bow, as it sustains more energy and has more speed as compared to the straight bow. (2)

Recurve bow shoots faster and hits on the target more accurately. It has been used during ancient times for fast shooting arrows and fast targets. Once used as a weapon by Native Americans to hunt animals to fight enemy armies, the Recurve bow is one of the oldest hunting and fighting tools that you can also use.


Wrapping Up


Creating a bow on the fly is a great and interesting skill to have. A lot of hunters that like to be purists and go out with nothing can use this as a great technique to create your boat. We hope that we have helped you and you learn something new today.


(1) type of wood –
(2) energy –