How to Build an Archery Target for a Compound Bow | The Easiest Methods

How to Build an Archery Target for a Compound BowCompound bows are some of the most impressive weapons in the modern age. They are significantly more efficient compared to traditional bows and allow for greater accuracy and power from longer distances.

However, they are also very technical in nature; furthermore, they’re larger and heavier than traditional bows. So if you’re unacquainted with them, it can take a lot of practice to get used to a compound bow. For this, you can buy commercially-produced practice targets, but they tend to be expensive.

The solution is to build your own archery target. Not only will this be more cost-effective, but it allows you to customize your target according to your needs, thereby enhancing the ease of use.

Here’s how to build an archery target for a compound bow.

Why You Need a Target for Practice

A lot of beginners or novice archers might wonder why a target is even needed for practice. Shouldn’t it be enough to shoot at a wall or other random items?

The answer is: no, it’s not. The following reasons are why it’s recommended to use a target.


Archery targets are, by definition, built for safety. Newsflash: arrows are sharp! You don’t need to guess what happens if an arrow lands on an animal or human. A dedicated target reduces the risk of injury.

They Take the Damage

With an archery target, you have something to shoot at, which will not be damaged by the sharp, tearing, and highly forceful impact of arrows. Instead of bouncing off, the arrows will embed themselves in the target. If you use other objects as targets, they will certainly be damaged.

Protect Your Arrows

Although inexpensive arrows can be found on the market, the best ones cost quite a bit of money, and you want to get as much out of them as you can. Archery targets, however, are built to take damage; this prevents the metal tips of arrows from being damaged upon impact, and in turn, allows you to keep using them for longer.

Help Improve Your Accuracy

The point of a practice target is that it will have clearly marked spots for impact. That is (obviously) something you won’t get if you practice on random objects. So if you’re really serious about honing your archery skills, you’ll need a dedicated target for practice.

Building Your Own Archery Target

Here’s the step-by-step guide to making your own archery target.

Choosing the Right Materials

An archery practice target has two main components: the stuffing, which will receive incoming arrows, and the frame, which provides stable housing for the stuffing. Each component has to made from suitable materials that allow it to serve its purpose.

Stuffing is super easy to make; any soft material will do. Polyethylene foam is the most popular choice because it resists moisture and therefore, won’t be plagued by mildew/bacteria when pierced through. If you can’t find foam, you can also use old or discarded clothes.

It’s very important that the frame is built from sturdy materials, as it will have to withstand the force of the arrows’ impact. The right kind of material will depend on the type of target you’re building.

Types of Targets

Why You Need a Target for PracticeFor the purposes of this article, we’ll be discussing how to build two different target types: box and wooden.

Box Target

As the name suggests, a box target utilizes a box frame. The following steps will help you to make your perfect box target.

Step 1: Get Some Cardboard

The easiest box target to set up is by using a cardboard box for the frame. The cardboard should be between 12 and 18 inches in thickness.

Step 2: Choose Your Stuffing

The stuffing for a box target can be foam, as we have discussed above, but you can also choose to use plastic bags. They’re quite abundant (even though they shouldn’t be), so it’s a cost-effective choice for stuffing.

Step 3: Prepare the Box

Once you have your stuffing of choice, pack it all into the cardboard box as tightly as you can. Now close the cardboard box and seal it securely with strong tapes, such as duct tape or packing tape.

Step 4: Paint the Target (Optional)

Now comes the fun part: a painting on the target. Bright, high-visibility colors such as red, blue, and yellow, but it’s your target, so choose whatever colors you like. Alternatively, you could just leave it as is, without painting a target.

Wooden Target

If you prefer a stronger, more durable target for practice, then we recommend building a wooden target. This will be more expensive and time-consuming, and it requires some DIY woodworking experience, but the long-term benefits will be greater.

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

To build a wooden frame, you’ll need:

  • Six 15″x1″x2″ wood pieces
  • Eight 36″x1″2″ wood pieces
  • Two 36″x36″ cardboard pieces
  • Stuffing of choice
  • Tarp

Step 2: Construct the Frame

Connect four 36″x1″x2″ wood pieces to make two squares. The six 15″ boards will be used to build the support. Attach two boards at the bottom and two at the top, with the other two boards between them.

Step 3: Create the Target Panel

Now take the cardboard sheets and set them up as the backing of the frame, then fill the frame with your chosen stuffing. Then, seal the box by adding the other cardboard piece to the front of the box.

Step 4: Add the Tarp

Finally, you have to wrap your tarp around the entire construction. Secure it in place with nails hammered into the frame’s edges. Now you’re ready to practice on your brand-new homemade archery target.

Also Read: 8 Best Womens Compound Bows | Latest Picks



Why spend a bunch of money on archery practice targets when you could so easily make one on your own? Not only will you be saving money, but it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment to build your own target. And of course, it’s the environmentally conscious thing to do, as well.

Good luck, and may you hit your target every time!

About Ethan

Welcome to Geeky Picks! I am Ethan Howard, a passionate outdoor adventurer, and professor of environmental science. I grew up hiking in the Rocky Mountains and now travel all over the world. With expertise in all sorts of outdoor activities, I can guide you on your outdoor adventure endeavors.

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