My buddy, Jerud, has researched quite a few “DIY” archery targets, but he was never fully satisfied with the designs that he found. Taking matters into his own hands, he came up with a durable, functional, easy-to-build field point target, and offered to share his design and instructions here, with you.
This project should take about 3-4 hours, and only requires some basic building skills and tools. Here’s what you need…
- Carpet or cardboard, or both; and lots of it
- (4) 3/8” x 36” all-thread
- (8 each) 3/8” nuts, washers and oversized washers
- 3 1/2” decking screws/wood screws
- Tape measure
- Sharpie or carpenter’s pencil
- Utility knife
- Saw horses
- ½” wood drill bit
- Arrow Puller (not for what you’d think)
Now that you know what you need, let’s get started…
For the remainder of these instructions I will be referring to the size of the target that I build, which is 36” wide by 23” tall and 12” deep, but you can modify these plans to build any size you wish. For my target, the uncompressed stack of carpet was 32” tall. So, plan on a minimum of 5”-7” of compression for the carpet stacks (depends on type of carpet). Cardboard would be less, but I’m not sure how much less. My target is comprised of a 9’x8’ leftover piece of carpet, an 8’x6’ area rug, a handful of scrap pieces, and 1 box that was approximately 37” wide x 36” tall x 4” deep.
You want to make the most of every piece of material that you have, so take some time and carefully lay out your cuts to get the most useable material. Going 36” wide with the first piece of carpet (9’x8) was a no-brainer on the cut lines. The area rug took a little bit of thinking. I used 1 of my 2×4’s as a straight edge and a Sharpie to mark the cut lines. I made all of the cuts with a utility knife. You don’t need to worry about following the lines exactly – just start cutting and stay close, and it will all work out in the end. If you choose the cardboard route, I highly recommend a table saw for doing the cuts. (Note: Pieces not quite long enough or wide enough can be paired with other similar pieces to complete out a layer. Just make sure to overlap and place complete pieces before doing another “mixed” layer.)
Total time measuring and cutting carpet – 2 hours.
I took a different route with the frame, compared to many other DIY target plans that are on the Internet. I turned my 2x4s on end and made a framework similar to a studded wall. Most other targets had used 2×4’s or larger lumber laying flat. This will cause the board to bow in the middle and loose compression on the target. Or, in extreme cases, the boards could fail.
One area of improvement would be to attach plywood to the side of each frame that will be in contact with the carpet. This is not necessary and will take up some of your available length of the all thread. I cut the main 2×4’s four inches wider than the carpet on each side. So for 36” carpet width, my 2×4’s are 44”. I cut the intermediate bracing 2×4’s eight inches, so the total depth of the frame is 11” compared to the 12” depth of carpet. For the holes in the 2×4’s for the all-thread, I measured in 2” from the end and drilled a ½” hole. Slide the all-thread through the holes and place oversized washer, regular washer, and nut on each end. Just get the nuts started flush on the end of the all-thread. All attachments were made with 3 ½” decking screws.
Total time cutting (power miter) and assembling (cordless drill) the frame – 1 hour.
Now it’s time to start adding the carpet to the frame. I laid the frame face down on the floor and started adding the layers of carpet. For anyone doing the math, my uncompressed stack was 32” tall and my available space in the frame is 29”. If you have help this is not an issue. I did not have help. Back to work. I started adding the carpet with the frame laying flat on the floor. This corrects any errors in carpet cuts and makes the front flush. I ran out of room with about 6” stack of carpet remaining, so I started tightening the all thread down. I tightened it to the point that I could pick the frame up and the carpet stayed in place. I set the frame upright on saw horses and then removed the upper portion of the frame. This allowed me to add the remaining 6” stack of carpet, reinstall the frame and begin tightening it back down. The bottom all0thread I only tightened to about 4 threads showing. The top all-thread I initially tightened to about 5 ½” of thread showing. I let it set overnight – ok, I shot it up some then let it set – and then tightened it about another 1” of thread showing. How much you tighten it will depend upon your type of carpet. I would suggest compressing it about 5 inches and then shoot a “junk” arrow at the target and evaluate the results.
Total time installing carpet and tightening (wrench and arrow puller to hold all thread from turning) – 30 minutes.
Total build time 3.5 hours.
I have been shooting and only one spot of target with no issues so far. My initial assessment is that I will get several years (even at 3,650 arrows a year) out of this target, along with the satisfaction that comes with building something useful yourself.
To give your practice more focus (and fun!) cover the front of the target with cardboard and then tape on any kind of printed target face that you want to shoot.
An optional addition…
I plan to make a 2×6” frame on casters for the target, so that I can free up my saw horses and easily move the target. I will install eyebolts in the top frame, so I can remove it from the 2×6 caster frame and hang it outside. Also, my arrows protrude through the back of the target a few inches, so I might add slot on the back using 2×4’s and plywood to allow me to slide in a piece of 2” pink foam insulation board. I am also considering just boxing in the back side with 2×4’s and plywood and packing it full/tight with old rags as a cheaper alternative. It’s really not a big issue currently, but I’m always tweaking. (Tweaking as in “improving”. Not to be confused with twerking).
Materials required for the addition…
- Plywood ¼” minimum
- 2” pink foam insulation board
- 2” decking screws
- Caster wheels
- Eye bolts
A warning for micro-diameter arrows…
This target will not stop my micro-diameter, Vicotry VAP arrows. The concrete wall behind my target is all that kept these arrows from a complete pass-through. (They hit so hard that the tip chipped the wall.) I can shoot Carbon Express Pile Drivers (476gr @ 279fps) with no problems, but the Victory VAP (401gr @ 300fps) will pass through. To remedy this, I will be building a 4-6” deep rag compartment on the back, which should stop the micro-diameter arrows.