September 29, 2015

Modern Recurve Bow for American Girl Doll

See my other free archery tutorials 

This bow is not meant to be used for real shooting, just for decorative purposes !!!

What you need

  • cardboard like a cereal box
  • glue (PVC glue like Elmer's glue)
  • super glue (optional) Adults ONLY !!!
  • polymer clay (Sculpey or FEMO or such)
  • black sewing thread (14 yrds)
  • 2 silver or gold seed beads (the tiny ones that are just about 2mm or so)
  • acrylic paint to paint the limbs (I used metallic silver spray paint from Rust-oleum)
  • sharp knife to cut polymer clay
  • Heavy books for weights
  • wooden craft sticks (tongue compressors at least 1/2" wide)

How to make a recurve bow

1. Creating the limbs.
    Take the cardboard and cut 8 strips 1/2" x 7"

2. Take 4 of the strips and glue them together as a stack but only glue the first 4 1/2"
    Leave the last 2 1/2" without glue.
    Let glue dry.
    Repeat for the other 4 strips

3. Take the glued cardboard strips and have some heavy books ready.
    Put glue between all layers on the last 2 1/2" then bend the ends up about 45°
    Leave the first 5" unbend and then start bending up at about 5".
    Let glue dry.
    Repeat for the other strip stack.

4. Cut the bend up section down to about 1" in length and round the ends.
    Cut slits for the string about 1/2" from the end.

5. Creating the riser.
    Take your polymer clay and take 1/4 of the package
    Form a 1/2" x 1/2" x 3" rectangular prism.
    I used wooden craft sticks (tongue depressors) to shape.

6. Find the center ( 1 1/2" from one end) and start forming the handle away from that center point.
    To form the handle just push down on all three sides tapering off towards the end.
    The whole handle indentation should be 1" long.
    Taper the last 1/2" downwards to the end using the fun stick to shape the slope.

7.  About 1/8" on the other side of the center (about 1/8" away from the handle start)
    make a 1/8" vertical cut to start the arrow rest.
    Then slowly slope it towards the side. The whole arrow rest opening should be about 3/4".

8. Cut the overall piece to about 3" long and taper the last 1/2" downwards towards the end.

9. Turn the riser on its side, so the arrow rest opening faces up.
    Bend the riser on both ends (should be the same on both ends, here I bend the left side more
    than the right by accident)
    Make sure the first and last 1/2" stays straight, this is where we mount the limbs later.

10. Bake according to sculpey clay manufacturer directions.

11. Glue the limbs to the riser. Make sure you have the ends pointed the right way, see picture.
      I used super glue here but that should only be done by an adult !!!!

12. Make the bow string
      Take your black sewing thread and measure 40" then fold back and forth until you have 4 strands.
      That will give you 4 strands each being 40". Tie a knot on the side with the loose ends.
      The image shows the already finished rope.

13. Twist the thread until it starts curling (but keep in tight). It took me close to 5 minutes when
      I did it manually. The second time I did a bow string, I used my Dremel rotary tool on the slow
      setting, that took about 1 second :-)

14. Fold in half and let it curl on itself to create a rope

15. Create a 3/4" loop on one end.

16. Thread 2 seed beads onto the string

17. Measure between your slits for the bow string.
      Create another 3/4" loop on the other end.
      Make sure the overall length is your distance between the slits, mine was 12 1/2" long.
      The string's overall length is measured when the loops are closed, not open.
      When the loops are opened to go on the risers, that will shorten the string just enough to bend
      the limbs slightly.
      Put a dab of glue on both loop knots and cut leftover rope.

17. Put one loop onto the limb end into the slits, then carefully bend the limbs a little to put
      the other loop onto the other limb.

18. Finding the nock points
       Take your arrow (see tutorial here) or a stick and put on arrow rest and go to the bow string.
       The arrow and bow string should form a 90° angle.
       Align the seed beads on top and bottom of your arrow but don't make it too tight.
       Glue the beads in place.

Your bow is done !!!
See my other free archery tutorials