How to Make A Bow Target (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

By Andy Ryan


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arrow target

Archery targets are huge for improving your skills and you can’t overlook the details when making one because even a small divergence from the norm and you could be creating something that trains you to become a worse shooter, we’ll help you prevent that in our guide. 

However, purchasing an archery target from a shop can be pretty costly. You can avoid spending a lot by making your own DIY targets. Here I will show you a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade bow target.

Why Make a DIY Archery Target

Build your own archery target so you may practice shooting your bow whenever you want. But have you considered the advantage of making homemade archery targets?


Archery targets sold in stores are frequently of specific sizes and designs. Assuming they don’t have what you’re looking for, building custom targets with the size and shape you desire is a viable choice.


You may use recyclable items to make handmade archery targets. As a result, you won’t have to worry about looking after them. If you want to get rid of them, you can just toss them out and start over.


Making your own cheap archery targets is feasible, which is one of the main motivations to do so. Many of the items required to construct a target are readily accessible. Several of them consist of materials that you may recycle. 

The Materials Needed

The filling and the frame are the two sections to examine. The filling for a simple box target can be any soft material. Foam is one of the best options, but you can also get discarded garments and rags. All that you require of the stuffing is that it is soft and absorbent. If you have access to hay, this is an excellent option.

The frame, on the other hand, is unique. You can make it with an old cardboard box. Choose a box that is of a reasonable size. Pick a good box that is at least 18 inches wide to match the average industrial target. You may also create your own wooden frame.

Size of Archery Target

Before building an archery target, think about what size you want it to be, relying on your needs and intended applications. The bow you use should influence your decision. A compound bow target is slightly smaller than a recurve bow target at big tournaments, but compound bow archers will stand closer to their targets.

A conventional recurve bow competition target will be around 4 feet in diameter with ten rings. Every ring will be approximately 4.7 inches in diameter. The outer ring will be worth one point, with each subsequent ring increasing in value until the center ring is worth ten points.

A tournament compound bow target will have a diameter of around 2.6 feet and ten rings. Every ring will be approximately 3.15 inches wide when uniformly distributed across the target. When you get nearer to the target’s center, the rings will rise in value from one to ten.

Consider all those target statistics with a grain of salt if you’re not training for significant contests. I only wanted to draw your attention to the official rules to figure out what will perform effectively for your target size. (1)

Most people who practice archery in their backyard can estimate the size of target they’ll need. Please remember the target’s size if you intend to keep it while it’s not in use; you should be able to move it around conveniently.

Weight of Archery Targets

Think about if you want your archery target to be movable. If that’s the case, the weight of your archery target is critical. You should be able to pick it up and move the archery target on your own with ease. From a portability standpoint, cardboard or foam targets may be your best bet. You can minimize the weight by making the other targets smaller or using lightweight materials.

If you choose to make a wooden box target, I’ve discovered that utilizing thin plywood dramatically reduces the target’s weight. Note the materials you’re employing and how much they’ll add to the overall weight of your target.

Cardboard Archery Target

You should favor a cardboard box archery target if you already have an excellent backstop set up. They’re simple to produce and last a long time. They can be made so light; bringing them inside after shooting is not an issue.

Things You Will Need:

  • A Cardboard that is twice as deep as its width.
  • Many rags, old clothes, additional cardboard, plastic wrap, packed newspapers, or any other material to block an arrow.


Step 1: Estimate the target’s measurements and find a cardboard box that fits them; I recommend having a box that is twice as deep as its width.

Step 2: Stuff the cardboard box with rags, old clothes, additional cardboard, plastic wrap, packed newspaper, and other materials that can block an arrow.

Step 3: Fill the box with the materials and securely close it.

Step 4: For scoring, paint rings on the box or use a printed target.

They’re ideal for shooting lightweight outdoor targets. This may not be the target for you if you plan to use a powerful bow with a draw weight stronger than 30 lbs. You won’t have to worry if you have a good backstop. However, packing enough stuff in the box to stop a rapidly traveling arrow every time is difficult. For your draw weight measurement, click here for the guide.

This is among the most cost-effective targets. Using items for recycling is the best resort since it’s practically free.

Foam Mat Archery Target

This is an interesting target to create, and they are relatively sturdy and last a long time. After several hits, this kind of target will eventually need some repair. However, if you build the frame correctly, replacing mats that are breaking apart is easy. 

Things You Will Need:

  • 50 mats or more (5 packs of 10 or more)
  • 4 lengths of 2×4 planks of wood, longer than your target width (3 or 4 feet)
  • 4 threaded rod lengths, longer than your goal height; a 5/16′′ diameter would suffice)
  • 8 nuts (5/16′′ or equal threaded rod size)
  • A total of 8 washers (inner diameter to match threaded rod)

The foam mats I’m referring to are rather popular, and you’ve most likely seen or known them. These mats are also known as puzzle mats; you can most typically find them in children’s play areas or gym workout areas. You may use the puzzle shape on the sides of the foam mats to lock them together. They usually come in ten-piece bundles of one-foot-by-one-foot mats.


Step 1: Link the mats together to create the desired goal width.

Step 2: Pile mats on top of each other until you attain the optimum target height.

Step 3: Layer a few additional mats on top.

Step 4: Drill holes large enough for the threaded rod to pass through at either end of the 2×4 woods.

Step 5: Insert the threaded rod through both ends of the 2×4 woods.

Step 6: On the threaded rod, place the washers and nuts.

Step 7: With the threaded rod on each side, put the stack of mats in between the 2×4 woods.

Step 8: To compress the matting tightly, tighten the bolts on the threaded rod.

Step 9: To have something to aim at, tape a printed target to the side of the mats.

Archers firing broad range or hunting arrows will benefit from a foam mat target. Over time, the sharp arrows will nibble away the foam mats, but they’re easily replaceable, so it’s not a big concern. You might not need this type of target if you’re only shooting bullet points or target arrows.

Wood Box Archery Target

This is one of the more challenging diy’s to do, but it will serve you well for many years. You need to repair the target surface and refill part of the stuffing. However, you’ll probably only need to do this each year.

Things You Will Need:

  • 8 four foot long 2×4 woods
  • 4 two by four inches pieces of plywood
  • 1 four by four inches piece of plywood
  • Tarp, burlap, or old grain sack
  • Deck screws or drywall screws
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Packing material like plastic pallet wrap, foam, etc.


Step 1: Join the 4 4 inches 2×4 planks of wood, and make a perfect square frame

Step 2: Then make another perfect square frame and attach the other 4 of the 2×4 woods

Step 3: Link the two frames together with a piece of two by four inches plywood

Step 4: Attach 2 different pieces of two by four inch of plywood, leaving one end open

Step 5: Next, attach the four by four-inch piece of plywood to close up the back of the target

Step 6: Then, staple the target face to the front of the frame

Step 7: Stuff the packing material into the opening of the frame

Step 8: Now, compress the packing material inside the target frame

Step 9: Finally, put on the last two by four-inch piece of plywood to close up the target

You should pack the wooden frame with arrow-stopping material like a tarp or burlap target face that holds everything in place. Since this target might become quite heavy once entirely made, I recommend including a means of transporting it like wheels.

Carpet Archery Target

If you have any old carpet lying around, this is a good alternative. When you already have these supplies, this will be a very inexpensive target to create. 

Things You Will Need:

  • 2 pieces of wood, with a size of 2 inches thick, 1 inch wide, and 4 inches long
  • 4 pieces of threaded rod, 5/16 inches, will suffice
  • 8 washers
  • 8 nuts, it should match the size of the threaded rod
  • Roll of old carpet


Step 1: First, make a hole in each of the wood boards’ corners (holes need to fit the threaded rod)

Step 2: Link the two pieces of wood by inserting one threaded rod into each corner hole.

Step 3: Next, mount the nuts and washers on the threaded rod.

Step 4: In between the two wooden planks, place the carpet strips.

Step 5: Then, to compact the carpet, tighten the nuts on the threaded rod.

Step 6: Lastly, print out a target or draw your own target on the carpet.

This target is simple to construct, and carpet layered in this manner is remarkably long-lasting.

Paper Targets

There are also targets made of paper. These targets are nothing more than sheets of archery paper with target shapes printed on them. You hang them on the wall or position them over a sturdy surface to fire. Typically, these targets aren’t just for archers. They assist all types of sharpshooters. Remember that these are usually used in tandem with other targets because they are pretty frail. (2)

If you opt to buy instead of doing the above DIY instructions for your target, you may want to check this guide for the best archery target in the market today.

(1) statistics –
(2) paper –

You may want to check the video below;