Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Make a Cheap Arrow Quiver, Finger Tab, and Arm Guard for Archery

I wanted to make my own quiver for my new hobby, archery.  I know what you're thinking.  You don't need another hobby.  But of course I do.  My husband had gotten a couple of recurve bows way back when, and they were just sitting in his closet until last weekend.  We went to an archery store and got strings for them.  And voila, new hobby!

DIY cheap arrow quiver
Cheap, DIY Archery Quiver

There's a few things we needed.  We had 2 bows and 7 arrows.  My husband made targets out of cardboard boxes that were laying around.  Then, he drew a zombie face on some paper and stuck it to the boxes for a target.  After some preliminary messing around with the bow, without the arrows, I decided I needed something to protect my fingers and arms.  That and my husband had shot a few arrows and his arm looked like it was hit repeatedly with a baseball.

I made this forearm guard out of a leather skirt I bought at Goodwill a while back for about $3.  That is the best way to buy leather.  It comes in big amounts, very cheaply.  Skirts also tend to have larger sections than shirts, pants, or belts.  I put some velcro on it to fasten.  This was pretty much just cut leather and sew on velcro.

DIY archery arm guard

After shooting a couple of arrows, I decided, that frickin' hurts, so I added some more padding.

DIY archery arm guard

I wanted to keep shooting, so I grabbed the closest padded looking thing around, which was a shammy.  Turns out, this was a brilliant idea since shammies absorb lots of water, and sweat.  Of course, when it gets gross, I'll have to hand wash it, but no big deal.

Turns out the smaller bow we had is left handed (who knew?), and me not knowing any difference, said why not just shoot left handed, so I did.  However, the bow string was now hitting my upper arm.  Probably I'm not holding the bow right, but I was trying to do what felt natural, didn't hurt my neck, and hit the target.

After only a few hits to my arm, it looked like this.

archery bruise

It looks much worse than it felt.  I had to stop and make another arm guard before going on.  Then, I went to see Dr. Turner (the neck/migraine guy).  My husband came along because he had an appointment in the area, which of course, is far from our house.  This is the first time he has gone with me to see Dr. Turner since I started seeing him a year ago (wow, time flies!).

At the end of the session, my husband proceeded to ask Dr. Turner about things I couldn't do.  He said, what about knitting, spinning, archery, and sitting in a chair because they involve looking down and/or straining my neck. I was like, what the heck is left for me to do except cook and make cheese?  Hmm, I think I know where this is going.  Turns out Dr. Turner used to do a lot of archery.  Small world.

So he said, no archery, knitting, spinning, etc. for 2 weeks while we try this new technique, (which by the way , the first time I did it while in Dr. Turner's office, I felt zero pain for the first time ever)!

Well, I'll show them, I say, being a Sagittarius, the frickin' archer.  I learned to spin without looking, Ha! It's actually easier/better.  When I go by feel, the yarn turns out more consistently, since I can feel exactly what I'm spinning, rather than looking at what I'm feeding it before or after my hands.  I already knew how to knit without looking, and for archery, well, you don't need to see since a blind archer won at the Olympics, but I do use my neck, so I decided to finish making my equipment while I wait the 2 weeks out.

This is a finger tab.  You can see by my grid it's only a few inches (not a baseball mitt). That will protect my fingers as they slide over the bow string.

DIY archery finger tab

I cut out an outline of a finger tab from two pieces of leather.  It was too flimsy though, so I glued the two pieces to a piece of cereal box cardboard, and it was just right.  Cereal box cardboard is great for lots of projects where you want some flexibility.  It's a crude one, but it's highly functional.

DIY archery  finger tab outline
Archery Finger Tab Outline
Then, for my arm guard to cover the whole arm, I decided to try making it with grommets and laces since I had tons of time before I could use it.  Grommets are not as hard to use as you might think.   I had some grommets and leather string left over from an old Halloween costume I made. I used more of the skirt and shammy.

DIY archery arm guard

I think maybe the velcro holds better, but the laces are more adjustable.  

Now for my quiver.  I went online and found some pretty complicated ways of making PVC pipe or fabric quivers, but I had an ingenious idea.  Last year, I went as a margarita for Halloween:

margarita costume

I had read about using pipe insulation for costumes, because they are extremely light and easy to work with.  This worked great for making my margarita costume.  Unfortunately, I didn't have much time then to document how I made it since I was also working full time.  But underneath the green is pipe insulation wrapped in coils.  I still have lots of pipe insulation leftover to work with.

Basically, I took a piece of pipe insulation that was a little shorter than the arrows.  Put the arrows in it to see if they'd fit, they fit beautifully.  Pipe insulation comes in all kinds of sizes and is super cheap from under a $1 for 6-8 feet.  It's slit down the middle to wrap around the pipe, but you can get self adhesive, or do like I did and duct tape the side together.

Then, I just needed a strap.  While the duct tape was out, I made a duct tape strap, also lightweight.  I taped a long piece of duct tape sticky side up to my table.

DIY duct tape strap

I put another piece of tape, sticky sides together on one side of the duct tape, lengthwise, and another overlapping on the other side.
DIY duct tape strap

I flipped it over, and wrapped the edges around.
DIY duct tape strap

Here's the strap.

DIY duct tape strap

It wasn't long enough, but heck, it's duct tape, I just added on to it.

Then, I tried it on, eyeballed where the strap should go, and then taped it to the top and bottom.

DIY cheap archery quiver

DIY cheap archery quiver

Here you go.  Extremely lightweight, durable quiver.  Also, when they're all in there, they don't fall out when you turn it upside down.  Nice bonus!

You could also:

  • Cover it all in leather and make it look fancy, but you'll know it was very affordable.  
  • Use fancy colored/patterned duct tape.  
  • Position it over your shoulder, but in my research, people preferred the lower down for ease in reaching, and for hunters, less visibility to prey reaching down than reaching up. This way is probably better on my neck, too.

So, there you go.  Super cheap archery accouterments in about 15 minutes! I give it 5 buttons up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips, i like your quiver idea, i think i even have an old gunstrap i could substitute for the duct tape

MuttNut said...

Yes, the quiver idea is my favorite. You could use all kinds of straps. I think using the camo duct tape would work great for hunters. Endless possibilities!

Anonymous said...

Yes u r holding ur bow wrong.... Keep ur elbow bent... And u should have known when u got the bow that it was left handed.. They usually tell u on the tag.. If u r left eye dominant then that's good if not u may wanna train ur left eye to be dominant.. Just saying.. I shoot left btw...

Pin It button on image hover