To make an archery target, gather hay bales or foam blocks and stack them against a sturdy backdrop. Archery is a popular and challenging sport that requires accuracy and precision.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced archer, having a good target is essential for practice and improvement. While there are ready-made targets available in the market, making your own archery target can be a cost-effective and simple solution. In this guide, we will show you how to make an archery target using easily available materials.

By following these steps, you will be able to create a durable and effective target for your archery practice sessions. So, let’s get started and make your own archery target!

Materials Needed

In order to make your own archery target, you will need a few key materials. These materials are essential to create a durable and effective target that will stand up to repeated use. Make sure you have the following items before you begin:

Foam Block Or Mat

A foam block or mat is the main component of your archery target. This material will absorb the impact of the arrows and prevent them from damaging the surrounding area. Look for a foam block that is specifically designed for archery targets. Alternatively, you can also use foam mats that are used in gyms or martial arts studios. These foam blocks or mats are typically made from high-density foam, which provides excellent stopping power for arrows.

Waterproof Fabric

To protect the foam from the elements and extend the lifespan of your archery target, you will need a waterproof fabric. This fabric will serve as a cover that prevents moisture from seeping into the foam, which can cause it to degrade over time. Look for a durable and waterproof fabric such as nylon or polyester. These materials are resistant to water damage and will keep your target looking and performing its best.

Nylon Or Sisal Rope

In order to secure the fabric cover to the foam block or mat, you will need some nylon or sisal rope. This rope will be used to tie the fabric tightly around the foam, ensuring that it stays in place during use. Nylon rope is a popular choice due to its strength and durability, while sisal rope offers a more traditional and natural look.

Wood Or Pvc Frame

To give your archery target structure and stability, you will need a frame. This frame can be made from either wood or PVC, depending on your preference and available resources. Wood frames provide a solid and sturdy base for the target, while PVC frames offer a lightweight and portable option. Choose a frame material that suits your needs and budget.

Staple Gun

A staple gun is an essential tool for attaching the fabric cover to the foam block or mat. Make sure you have a staple gun with staples that are compatible with the thickness of your fabric and foam. This tool will make the process of securing the fabric quick and easy.


To trim the fabric and rope to the desired length, you will need a pair of scissors. Make sure your scissors are sharp and capable of cutting through the fabric and rope without fraying or damaging them.


A marker will come in handy when measuring and marking the fabric and rope for cutting. Use a marker with a fine tip to ensure precise markings.

Step 1: Choosing The Right Foam Block Or Mat

When it comes to making your own archery target, selecting the right foam block or mat is crucial. This is because the foam will determine the durability and effectiveness of your target. In this step, we will explore the essential considerations when choosing the foam for your archery target.

Density And Thickness Considerations

The density and thickness of the foam are important factors to consider when selecting your archery target material. The density refers to how tightly packed the foam is, while the thickness determines the depth of the target. It is important to strike a balance between density and thickness to ensure the target can withstand the impact of arrows while still allowing for enough penetration.

To determine the ideal density, consider the draw weight of your bow. Higher draw weights require denser foam to prevent arrow pass-through and prolong the target’s lifespan. Additionally, the thickness of the foam should be sufficient to absorb the energy of the arrows, preventing them from bouncing off and causing potential accidents.

Ethylene-vinyl Acetate (EVA) Foam Vs. Polyurethane Foam

When it comes to choosing the type of foam for your archery target, two popular options are ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam and polyurethane foam. Each has its own advantages and considerations, so let’s take a closer look:

Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foamPolyurethane foam
EVA foam is known for its high durability and weather resistance, making it suitable for outdoor targets.Polyurethane foam offers excellent arrow stopping power and is often preferred for indoor or backyard shooting.
EVA foam is lightweight and easy to transport, making it convenient for archers who frequently move their targets.Polyurethane foam tends to be denser, offering better arrow stopping capability.
EVA foam is available in a variety of colors and can be easily customized to add visual appeal to your target.Polyurethane foam may offer fewer customization options, but its density provides reliable arrow stopping power.

Consider your specific needs, shooting environment, and personal preferences when deciding between EVA foam and polyurethane foam for your archery target. Both options can provide excellent results when chosen correctly.

Step 2: Building The Frame

In this step, we will focus on constructing the frame for your archery target. The frame is an essential component as it provides support and stability, ensuring your target lasts for a long time. There are two common types of frames you can choose from: wood frame construction and PVC frame construction. Let’s explore each option in detail.

Wood Frame Construction

If you prefer a traditional and sturdy frame, wood construction is the way to go. Here are the steps to build a wood frame for your archery target:

  1. Start by selecting the type of wood material you want to use. Popular options include pressure-treated lumber or exterior plywood.
  2. Measure and cut the wood pieces according to the desired dimensions of your target. Ensure that they form a rectangular frame.
  3. Secure the corners by using corner brackets or wood screws. This will strengthen the frame and prevent warping over time.
  4. For additional stability, consider adding cross-braces to the frame. This will help distribute the force of the arrows evenly and prevent the target from sagging.
  5. Sand down any rough edges or splinters to create a smooth surface that won’t damage your arrows.

A wood frame construction provides a durable and reliable option for your archery target. However, keep in mind that wood may require periodic maintenance, such as sealing or painting, to protect it from the elements.

Pvc Frame Construction

If you prefer a lightweight and easy-to-assemble option, PVC construction might be the best choice for you. Here’s how you can build a PVC frame for your archery target:

  1. Obtain the necessary PVC pipes and connectors from a local hardware store.
  2. Measure and cut the PVC pipes to the desired lengths, ensuring that they form a rectangular frame.
  3. Connect the pipes using the appropriate PVC connectors. Make sure they are securely fastened to prevent any wobbling or instability.
  4. Consider adding cross-braces or additional supports to enhance the overall stability of the frame.

A PVC frame construction offers portability and ease of assembly. However, it may not be as durable as a wood frame and may need extra attention to ensure it remains stable during use.

Dimensions And Measurements

The dimensions of your archery target frame will depend on the size of the target face you plan to use. Ideally, the frame should be several inches larger than the target face to provide ample room for arrow penetration and prevent damage to the frame.

Here are some general guidelines for target frame measurements:

Target SizeFrame Dimensions
40 cm (16 inches)60 cm x 60 cm (24 inches x 24 inches)
60 cm (24 inches)80 cm x 80 cm (32 inches x 32 inches)
80 cm (32 inches)100 cm x 100 cm (40 inches x 40 inches)

Remember, these measurements are merely recommendations, and you can adjust them based on your specific needs and preferences.

Ensuring Stability And Durability

Regardless of the frame construction method you choose, stability and durability are crucial factors to consider. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Ensure the frame is securely fastened together to prevent any wobbling or instability during use.
  • Regularly inspect the frame for any signs of damage or wear and make repairs as necessary to maintain its structural integrity.
  • Consider using weather-resistant treatments or sealants to protect the frame from moisture and prolong its lifespan.
  • Store the target in a dry and sheltered location when not in use to further prevent damage caused by exposure to the elements.

By following these steps and considering stability and durability, you can construct a strong and reliable frame for your archery target, allowing you to enjoy countless hours of practice and precision.

Step 3: Preparing The Foam

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials and have your plywood frame ready, it’s time to prepare the foam for your archery target. This step involves cutting the foam to size, shaping it for a better target surface, and sanding the edges for safety. Let’s dive into each of these substeps in detail:

Cutting The Foam To Size

Start by measuring the inside dimensions of your plywood frame. You want the foam to fit snugly inside, with no gaps or overlapping. Use a measuring tape for accuracy and mark the dimensions on the foam. To achieve a clean and straight cut, it’s recommended to use a foam cutting knife or a serrated bread knife. Slowly and carefully cut along the marked lines, ensuring a straight and even edge.

Shaping The Foam For A Better Target Surface

While a rectangular foam piece can be used as it is, shaping the foam can help improve the target surface and make it more effective. One popular method is tapering the foam, which means cutting the foam at an angle to create a sloped surface. This helps in better arrow penetration and prevents arrow bounce-back. Use a long ruler or straight edge to draw the desired slope lines on the foam, and then carefully cut along those lines. Remember to taper both the top and bottom sides of the foam for consistency.

Sanding The Edges For Safety

Before placing the foam inside the plywood frame, it’s crucial to sand down the edges to ensure a safe and smooth finish. Rough edges can cause damage to arrows or even pose a risk of injury. Using sandpaper with a medium grit, gently sand along the cut edges of the foam. The goal is to make the edges slightly rounded and free from any sharp corners. Be thorough with the sanding and check for any rough spots or unevenness. Once you are satisfied with the smoothness, remove any excess foam dust before proceeding.


Step 4: Wrapping The Foam

Preparing The Waterproof Fabric

Before you wrap the foam, it’s important to prepare the waterproof fabric for a secure and long-lasting archery target. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Cut the fabric: Determine the dimensions of the foam and cut the waterproof fabric accordingly. Leave some extra fabric on each side to ensure a snug fit.
  2. Check for any imperfections: Inspect the fabric for any tears, holes, or weak spots. It’s crucial to use a fabric without any major flaws to prevent moisture seepage.
  3. Apply waterproofing sealant: To enhance the fabric’s ability to resist water, apply a waterproofing sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Stretching And Securing The Fabric Over The Foam

Once you’ve properly prepared the waterproof fabric, it’s time to stretch it over the foam. Follow these steps:

  1. Place the foam on a clean and flat surface: Find a suitable area where you can work comfortably. Make sure the surface is clean to avoid dirt or debris sticking to the fabric.
  2. Position the fabric: Lay the prepared fabric flat on the surface and position the foam on top of it. Ensure that the fabric is centered and aligned with the edges of the foam.
  3. Start stretching: Begin by pulling one side of the fabric over the foam, ensuring a tight fit. Continue pulling and stretching the fabric over the remaining sides.
  4. Smooth out wrinkles: As you stretch the fabric, be mindful of any wrinkles or folds that may form. Smooth them out gently to achieve a neat and even surface.

Stapling The Fabric To The Frame

After you’ve successfully stretched and secured the fabric over the foam, it’s time to fasten it to the frame using staples. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Prepare the stapler: Load a staple gun with appropriate staples suitable for the thickness of your frame. Ensure the stapler is in proper working condition.
  2. Position the frame: Align the frame over the wrapped foam, making sure it’s centered and level.
  3. Start stapling: Begin by stapling one corner of the fabric to the frame, ensuring the staple penetrates both the fabric and the frame. Move to the opposite corner and staple it securely as well. Continue this process along each side of the frame.
  4. Space the staples evenly: For optimal security, space the staples evenly along the edges of the frame, maintaining a distance of about 3 to 4 inches between each staple.
  5. Inspect and adjust: Once you’ve stapled all sides, inspect the fabric to ensure it’s tightly and securely attached to the frame. If necessary, make any adjustments or add additional staples where needed.

Step 5: Adding Target Markings

Once you have built your archery target frame, stuffed it with the appropriate filling, and covered it with a durable material, it’s time to add the all-important target markings. The target markings not only serve as a visual guide for your aim but also allow you to keep score and track your progress. Follow these steps to add accurate and distinct target markings to your DIY archery target.

Creating A Bullseye Design

Start by creating a bullseye design at the center of your target. The bullseye design, with its concentric circles, is what gives the target its distinctive look. To create the bullseye design, you can use different colored materials or simply draw it on the target surface. Here’s how you can create a visually appealing bullseye design:

  • Measure the diameter of your archery target, typically around 122 cm (48 inches).
  • Divide the diameter by the number of rings you want to have in your bullseye. For example, if you want to have five rings, divide 122 cm by 5 to get 24.4 cm (9.6 inches).
  • Start at the center of the target and draw a small circle with a radius of half the width of the rings. This will be the center of your bullseye.
  • Using a marker or paint, draw concentric circles around the center circle, increasing the radius by the width of the rings with each circle. Be sure to leave enough space between each ring to ensure clear visibility.

Using A Marker To Draw The Target Rings

Using a marker to draw the target rings is a cost-effective and easy way to make your archery target markings stand out. Follow these steps to draw the target rings using a marker:

  1. Select a marker color that contrasts well with the target surface. Black or dark colors often work best for visibility.
  2. Using a measuring tape or ruler, mark the center of the target.
  3. Place the marker at the center and draw a circle with the desired radius for the outermost ring of the bullseye.
  4. Repeat the previous step, reducing the radius by the width of each ring, until you reach the desired number of rings.
  5. Ensure the lines are well-defined and evenly spaced to maintain the accuracy of the target markings.

Adding Scoring Numbers

To keep score during archery practice sessions, you need to add scoring numbers to your target. The scoring numbers typically range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. Here’s how you can add scoring numbers to your DIY archery target:

  1. Select a suitable font and size for the scoring numbers. Make sure they are large enough to be visible from a distance.
  2. Using a contrasting color marker or paint, draw the scoring numbers within each ring of the bullseye. Start with the highest number (usually 10) in the center and work your way outward, decreasing the numbers accordingly.
  3. Ensure the scoring numbers are evenly spaced and legible, making it easy to accurately score your shots.

By following these steps and paying attention to detail, you can create visually appealing and functional target markings for your archery target. With your DIY target now complete, you can fully enjoy your archery practice sessions and steadily improve your aim and accuracy.

Step 6: Hanging The Target

Now that you have constructed your archery target, it’s time to hang it up so you can start practicing your aim. Hanging the target correctly is crucial for safety and optimal performance. In this step, we will guide you through the process of choosing the right location, installing the rope hanger, and adjusting the height and angle of your target.

Choosing The Right Location

When selecting the location for hanging your archery target, it’s essential to consider safety as the top priority. Ensure that there is a clear shooting range and no obstacles behind the target. This will prevent any potential accidents or damage caused by stray arrows.

Find a suitable spot that offers ample space and a stable surface to secure the target. Ideally, choose an area with a backstop to catch arrows that miss the target, such as a sturdy wall, fence, or hillside.

Installing The Rope Hanger

Now that you’ve decided on the ideal location, it’s time to install the rope hanger. The rope hanger is a simple yet effective method to suspend your archery target.

  1. Choose a strong and durable rope that can bear the weight of the target without fraying or snapping. Nylon or polypropylene ropes are excellent choices due to their strength and weather resistance.
  2. Secure one end of the rope to a sturdy anchor point, such as a tree branch or a metal hook attached to a wall or post. Make sure the anchor point can support the weight of the target.
  3. Thread the other end of the rope through the target’s hanging loops or holes. If your target doesn’t have pre-installed hanging loops, you can use cable ties or twine to create them.
  4. Tighten the rope securely, ensuring that the target hangs straight and stable. Having a stable target will facilitate accurate shooting and minimize the risk of the target swinging or spinning when hit.

Adjusting The Height And Angle

Once the rope hanger is securely in place, it’s time to adjust the target’s height and angle. These adjustments will help create a realistic practice environment and ensure that you can effectively gauge your shooting accuracy.

Height: The target’s ideal height largely depends on your shooting technique and preference. Most archers find that setting the center of the target at their eye level allows for proper alignment and visualization of the shot. However, feel free to experiment and find the height that works best for you.

Angle: Adjusting the angle of your target can add an additional level of challenge to your practice sessions. Tilting the target slightly forward or backward can simulate shooting at various distances and angles. Experiment with different angles to replicate different scenarios you may encounter during actual archery events.

Remember to always prioritize safety and adhere to any local regulations or guidelines regarding archery practice. Now that your target is securely hung and properly adjusted, you are ready to test your archery skills and improve your aim!

Step 7: Testing And Adjusting

After diligently constructing and assembling your archery target, it’s important to thoroughly test its stability to ensure optimal performance. In this step, we will discuss shooting the target to check for stability, making adjustments if necessary, and replacing worn-out foam or fabric.

Shooting The Target To Check For Stability

Before you start making adjustments, the first thing you need to do is shoot the target to evaluate its stability. Place your target at a suitable distance according to your skill level and shoot a few arrows at it. Observe how the arrows penetrate the target and whether it withstands the impact. Pay attention to any wobbling, tilting, or excessive movement of the target upon arrow impact. This initial test will give you a clear idea of the target’s stability and help you identify any potential issues that need addressing.

Making Adjustments If Necessary

If you notice any stability issues during the initial test, it’s crucial to make necessary adjustments to ensure a reliable and safe target. Here are some adjustments you can make:

1. Target Stand Adjustments:

Inspect the stand to ensure it is securely anchored and stable. Adjust the legs or base accordingly, tightening any loose bolts or screws. Use a level to check the vertical alignment of the target stand, making sure it is perfectly upright. Properly aligning and securing the stand will provide a stable foundation for your target.

2. Foam Density:

If you find that the arrows are penetrating too deep into the target, causing excessive wear and tear, you may need to adjust the density of the foam. Add additional layers of foam or replace the existing foam with a denser one. This will help prolong the lifespan of the target by providing adequate resistance to arrow penetration.

3. Target Face Replacement:

Over time, the target face may become worn out or damaged from repeated arrow impacts. If you notice significant wear or tear, consider replacing the fabric or foam covering the target face. This will ensure a consistent and reliable surface for arrow penetration.

Replacing Worn-out Foam Or Fabric

To maintain the effectiveness and longevity of your archery target, it’s important to periodically inspect and replace worn-out foam or fabric. This will ensure that the target continues to provide adequate resistance for arrow penetration and prevents arrows from penetrating too deeply. Regularly checking the condition of the target and promptly replacing worn-out parts will help extend the target’s lifespan and optimize its performance. Now that you have completed Step 7 – Testing and Adjusting, you are well on your way to creating a high-quality and reliable archery target. With a properly constructed and stable target, you can enjoy countless hours of practice and hone your archery skills with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Make An Archery Target

How Do You Make A Homemade Archery Target?

To make a homemade archery target, start by gathering materials like old blankets, foam layers, and a sturdy frame. Layer the foam inside the frame and wrap it tightly with the blankets. Secure everything together, ensuring the target is firm and able to withstand arrow impacts.

What Is The Best Material For An Archery Target?

The best material for an archery target is dense foam. It is durable, stops arrows effectively, and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

What Are Archery Bag Targets Filled With?

Archery bag targets are filled with dense foam, usually made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyethylene, to stop arrows effectively.

What Are The Dimensions Of An Archery Target?

The dimensions of an archery target vary, but typically range from 48 to 60 inches in width and height. The center target, also known as the bullseye, is usually around 4 to 6 inches in diameter.


Crafting your own archery target can be a cost-effective and rewarding project. By following these simple steps, you can customize a target that meets your specific needs and preferences. From choosing the right materials to constructing a sturdy frame, this DIY project allows you to enhance your archery skills while saving money.

So, grab your tools and enjoy endless hours of practice on your homemade archery target. Happy shooting!