Create Your Own Archery Targets At Home (easy-to-follow)

You really can create your own homemade archery target in an afternoon using materials from around your house. What supplies you don’t have on hand can be easily found at any hardware store or tractor supply shop.

This article will tell you how to build 10 types of arrow stopping archery targets at home. In addition, we have included design ideas for wood and PVC target stands.

Even if you are not handy with tools, you will be able to build most of the homemade archery targets shown here.

Things to consider before building homemade archery target

To begin with, safe target practice requires a contained area free of interruptions. This can be either a wide open space or walled in areas.

For target practice on the field, you will need transportable targets. For archery in enclosed spaces, create a target backstop capable of stopping arrows without damaging them.

So take a minute to think about how you plan to use your DIY archery target.

Do you already have a practice site picked out?

How large do you need your target backdrop to be?

How high do you want your target to be? Or would you like targets available at multiple heights?

Will anyone else be shooting with you?

What are their target requirements?

Will they have special safety needs (for example, archery practice with children).

Got an idea of your dream archery target area? Great! Ready, steady, let’s go….

Hay Bales

The most traditional homemade archery target is the hay bale.

Hay bales make ideal homemade archery targets. Hay is affordable, readily available, and not too difficult to transport.

Use several bales to layer targets at multiple heights. They bales will last longer if you can shelter them from rain. Here is a practical example, using a small shed to house the hay bale target.

Hanging Mat

A rubber horse stall mat suspended behind a frame is a durable target backstop option that you can construct yourself.

With basic carpentry skills you can construct and anchor a wood frame for suspending your mat and commercial targets. This one is extra beautiful.

But before you hire a carpenter, get creative in choosing found objects for your hanging mat backstop frame.

Consider gate posts, trees, old sheds, workout equipment, a playhouse or other garden gazebo style structures. Visit junk yards and yard sales for cheap equipment options.

Remember, your mat and pipe suspension system can extend beyond the frame sides. Here are three creative homemade examples:

Here are the basic necessities for hanging a rubber mat backstop like this:

TIP: Use vice grips for moving and lifting the heavy mats.

  • Use a drill to bore bolt holes into one long edge of the mat at 10” intervals. [Ask the hardware store to drill for you if you don’t have access to a bore hole saw drilling bits kit.]
  • Drill matching holes in two 1”x2” lathing strips the same length as your mat(s)
  • Sandwich the mat between the boards
  • Bolt the “mat sandwich” together with hanging clips
  • A galvanized pipe will hang the mat evenly when threaded with a cable or chain
  • Attach cable to back of hanging frame with rigging hardware

Compressed Frame Targets

In addition to the hanging mat backstop, there are several household materials you can use for building your own compressed archery targets.

In this method of target construction, you will layer materials into blocks. Then the stacked materials need to be compressed so the fillings won’t shift.

You can use a crate with tie downs, carriage bolts, or duct tape to compress found items. For squishy materials like fabric and plastic bags, you can cover a crate with chicken wire. Or, you can simply use a large cardboard box.

Compressed Frames are cheaper to make and more portable than the larger archery targets and backstops shown above.

Here are some household materials (maybe even some things you would like to get rid of) that make good archery targets:

Target Stands

For the Rope Target listed above, you will also need a Target Stand. Here is a well-detailed plan for building your own wood target stand by John W. Scott of Beaumont, TX:

PVC pipe also makes a reliable DIY archery stand, especially for hanging targets. This post shows two PVC archery stand designs.

Get Creative

It is possible to duplicate 3D commercial archery targets in your home. Goroboto uses elevation mapping to create a pattern for cutting and layering foam-core into a hog shaped target. He tells you how in this Hackflo Build post.

Before going “hog-wild” on this type of project, consider how long your 3D target will last. Will you be able to easily reuse/reprint your pattern for making many targets?

BONUS: Check out this Wiki-How Video for creating homemade ballistic gelatin:

Go For It!

Consider building several archery targets. Then you can practice your archery skills at home (with backdrops) and in the field (with portable targets and stands).

Once your DIY archery targets have been built, finish them by spray painting on a bulls-eye.

Building your own targets will help you learn archery at a deeper level. You will quickly find out what materials are the most durable for your style of shooting. Before long you will be designing your own targets!

Not to mention, having ready practice sites will ensure your skills are sharpened. Then, your practice will pay off in the field. Think of Thanksgiving Dinner with the main course provided by you and your bow, the perfect prize for all your archery practice.

Hopefully this article has provided you useful knowledge on how to build a homemade archery target and happy shooting!

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