What could be a more fun activity and take-home favor at a Minecraft birthday party than a toy bow and arrow?
These PVC pipe bows and wooden dowel arrows are a blast to play with. Even for me. They worked surprisingly well, and were really fun to shoot.
Materials for Making Toy Arrows:
- 5/16" wooden dowels
- eraser pencil toppers
- packing tape
Cut the dowel to 2' lengths. The dowels I bought were 48" long, so I cut my dowels in half.
Cut cardstock to 4"x3" and fold in half.
Use a low temperature hot glue gun to glue the dowel to the center fold of the cardstock. Be sure to place the dowel slightly below the edge of the cardstock, so you can create a notch to make it easier to shoot the arrow.
Cover the cardstock and dowel with clear packing tape. I added a little washi tape for fun, too.
Pinch the sides of the cardstock fletching together so you can cut the paper into that classic arrow shape and have both sides.cut at the same angle.
Cut the cardstock away at the center point, so a space is created to help keep the string on the back of the arrow.
Add an eraser pencil cap as an arrowhead. If you use a 5/16" dowel, it'll fit perfectly, and you won't need to glue the eraser on.
Materials for Making a Toy PVC Bow:
- 1" PVC pipe
- parachute cord
- pool noodle
Cut the 1" diameter PVC pipe to a 3' length.
Cut a few inches of pool noodle to create a soft grip and arrow rest. I bought my pool noodles at the dollar store. The cheap ones are perfect for this project. Slide the length of pool noodle to the center of the PVC pipe. There's already a hole in the middle of the pool noodle, and it turns out it was the perfect size for the 1" PVC pipe. No need to glue the pool noodle in place; it grips perfectly.
Drill a hole about a half and inch from each end of the PVC pipe. Cut an extra long piece of parachute cord, and tie one end.
Thread the other end of the parachute cord through the hole at the opposite end of the PVC pipe, and gently bend the pipe, pulling the cord ever more taut. Tie the second end when you have enough bend and the string is very tight.
If you're having trouble bending the pipe, you can help it along by heating it with a hair dryer. I didn't bother with that, and only broke one pipe. But the internet says it works.
See how that pool noodle gives the arrow a perfect place to rest?
The kids needed a little coaching on how to hold and fire the arrow, but they caught on quickly.
And they had SO MUCH FUN!
The paper lantern ghasts (tutorial here) made the perfect targets. They moved in the wind--which made it a more challenging target--and they were very satisfying to pierce with our toy arrows.
Each kid got to take home a bow and arrow set, and I've heard reports back from our party guests that they're proving very popular toys in the weeks since the party. Yes! I dislike party favors that are cheap plastic that break or are simply thrown out quickly after the party. And for not much more money than I would have spent on such a goodie bag, the kids got a fun toy that they're actually using. I call that a win.