How to Build an Archery Target for a Compound Bow

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Whether you enjoy bow hunting or target shooting you need to have the right tools for your practice sessions.

Everyone needs archery targets, but they can get quite expensive. If you choose the paper or bag targets and buy them it can be expensive. Instead, it would be better to learn how to build an archery target for a compound bow. You can customize it to meet your needs, reduce the price, and make it easier to set up and use.

Why You Need Archery Targets

Most people often wonder why they need archery targets and why they can’t just aim or shoot at a wall or items set up on a wide fence. While some people may choose to target practice this way, it isn’t safe.

Archery targets are designed with safety in mind. Arrows are sharp objects that are traveling at high speeds. Even a field point arrow can do major damage if it hits someone.

Archery targets give you something to shoot at, which is essential. However, they also soak up the force of the arrow. Arrows are not flying around because you have a specific place to aim and shoot at. It won’t bounce off the target but will embed within it. Therefore, it takes the damage instead of your walls and fence posts.

Archery targets can also ensure that the arrow doesn’t get too damaged. If you shoot at trees, the arrow is going to go in deep. When you pull it out (which won’t be easy), you’ll damage the arrow. Archery targets tend to be made using softer materials to prevent damaging the metal tips.

Archery targets can also help improve accuracy. When you’re shooting at a target, you shoot within the target points and can determine how much you’ve improved based on where within the target you hit.

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Why Make Homemade Targets

Now that you know why targets are important, it’s a good idea to learn why you should consider making your own. You’ll find a variety of archery targets that are pre-made and ready for use. Building your own targets has many benefits.

For one, homemade archery targets are less expensive. You just have to buy the materials, and you’re good to go. In fact, you might be able to get them for free if you can find them around the house or ask someone who has the items.

Another reason is that they can be customized for your preferences and style. Commercial archery targets usually have specific shapes and sizes. If you can’t find what you need, you can simply make it yourself. You can also paint it the color you want to make it unique.

Of course, a homemade target is also recyclable. Most of the materials you need can be re-purposed. Therefore, you don’t have to take care of them. When they have served their purpose, you can throw them away or put them in the recycling bin and make new ones.

How to Build an Archery Target for a Compound Bow

Before making a target, it is essential that you know what material you  will need. You’ll find a variety of options, such as foam, 3D, bag, and box targets.

Foam Targets

The foam target uses a block of foam. You can usually find polyethylene foam, which is a closed-cell foam that can resist moisture.

When your arrow hits it, the holes won’t develop bacteria or mildew. The polyethylene is water-resistant, which means it is suitable for the outdoors. Of course, you have to buy the foam, but then all you need to do is paint the target lines or do without the paint.

Box Targets

If you’d like to make a box target, you’ll need a large cardboard box, about 12 or 18 inches thick. That way, the arrow won’t shoot through it. If you’re using a high-powered compound bow, make sure to go with 18 inches.

Fill the box with shrink film or plastic bags. You’re going to need a lot of them. Many times, stores use shrink film and might throw it away, so you can ask if you can have it for free. Some stores might also donate plastic bags. Otherwise, start saving your bags when you go to the store.

Once you have enough, stuff the target box as tightly as you can. Next, seal the box using durable tape. Packing tape and duct tape work well. You can then paint the box or leave it as is.

Of course, you’ll need to test it. Do this by standing closer than normal to the box and shooting your arrow. If the arrow goes through it, then you’ll need a larger box and a more tightly packed stuffing.

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Wooden Target

If you need something more durable, you’ll need to make a wooden frame. If you can find a hollow frame that is about two by 12 inches deep to stop arrows, then you can buy it. If you can’t find one, just make it yourself.

Get two pieces of wood about 12 inches long and two or four inches wide. Because it is made of wood, you may need to store it in the shed or garage when not in use so that it doesn’t get damaged by rains.

Make sure to cut a large hole in one of the boards on the upper side. You will need that hole to fill the box with stuffing. Then, lock your frame using wood screws that are about 3.5 inches long. You’ll also want to add chicken wire on both sides of the opening to keep the stuffing in place.

Cover both sides completely and staple it securely to the board. You can use material scraps and anything else you can find as stuffing, but it must be compressed. You’ll also want a cover, but it should be able to be removed so that you can replace the stuffing as necessary.


Learning how to build an archery target for a compound bow can help you save a lot of money. While it can take time to do this, you’re sure to enjoy working with your hands, letting the kids help, and making something in which you all can take pride in.

Of course, you’ll be putting plenty of holes in the target, but it can serve its purpose for quite a while. Then, after it’s served its purpose, you can simply make another one using materials already in your home.

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