Today on Fun Jar Friday ~
Kid Friendly PVC Bow and Arrows
+ 4 more!
No matter what generation you are, there is a hero wielding a bow and arrow. Native Americans, Robin Hood, Link from Zelda, Hawkeye from the Avengers, Legolas of Lord of the Rings, and now Princess Merida from Brave. Children everywhere are aspiring to be like their archer heroes. And now they can with a simple, kid-friendly tutorial.
I came upon this idea quite randomly. My family and I were on a walk when we passed a neighbor that we had met years ago but hadn't spoken to since. We exchanged polite conversation and then went on our way. As we got home and started getting the kids ready for bed, the neighbor stopped by our house and wanted to know if our kids wanted to come by because they were making PVC bow and arrows. Well, we declined because we are pretty strict about bedtime, but that got my brain thinking about how cool and how potentially dangerous a bow and arrow in the hands of a child could be.
However, I was intrigued. I love PVC and making things with it. It's fantastic and super cheap! I looked online and came across this tutorial at You Craft Me Up. It seemed to be heading in the right direction, but I still had worries in the back of my mind. When it came to my kids, the bow seemed a little long, and the arrows a little long and dowels still seemed like they could do some damage at high speeds. So I decided to change it up a bit. Still the same great idea, but with a few extra safety precautions. And it cost me less than $8 to make 3!
Here is what you will need for 3 bows
10 feet of 1/2in. PVC pipe
wooden dowels 5/16x48 (one dowel makes three arrows)
string (nylon preferably but any string will work as long as it's thick enough not to break)
6 - 1/2 in. PVC end caps
pencil erasers (same number as your arrows)
1/2 in. pipe insulator (optional) -which is not pictured because it apparently got blown away
black electrical tape (optional)
colored duct tape (optional)
First off, I wanted to make my bow a little shorter. 3 1/2 feet seemed a little long and I wanted to make as many out of my 10 feet as possible, so I cut my PVC into 3 foot lengths. If you do not have a PVC cutter (which I do not although I should invest in one considering how much I use PVC) then you can cut it with a miter saw or have the guys at the hardware store do it for you.
We choose to make our Bow look flashy so we got some yellow duct tape. I really wanted to get brown (I'm a Robin Hood fan) but the boys wanted yellow to look like gold. Oh well! I simply wrapped the PVC from top to bottom with the tape at an angle. You can take the time to make it nice and smooth. I didn't and I'm okay with that.
Next comes the handle. This isn't necessary, but I highly suggest it. Not only does it help your child know where to place their hand, it provides a comfortable place to do so with a nice grip.
I cut a 5 in. length of the pipe insulator and wrapped it around the middle of the pipe. Then I removed the plastic covers from the edge and squeezed it together as tight as I could. Using the electrical tape, I wrapped around the middle of the insulator, pulling tight so that the insulator squeezed together the rest of the way and it made a decent indent in the insulator. I did the same halfway between the middle tape and the end of the insulator on both sides. When you are done, you should have 3 pieces of tape wrapped around the insulator. Then I covered the whole piece of insulator, not pulling tight so that it was all black with nice grips.
Now, of course, you need the string! This part gets tricky. You first need to make a 3/4 in. slit in the ends of the PVC. The tutorial said to use a scroll saw. It took me all of 1 minute to realize that power saws were not meant for me. So I hacked away at it with a hand saw, leaning it at an angle. It worked, but I didn't feel nearly as cool and manly. When making the slit on the opposite end, make sure it's on the same side as the first slit.
Now, tie a double knot in the end of the string and slide the string in the slit so that the knot is inside the pipe.
The next part is up to your level of strength and how far you want your arrows to go. I am a weakling so I am going to give you the weakling instructions. Pull the string tight and make another double knot about 6-8 inches shorter than the pipe. cut off then end a couple inches from the knot just to give you room for error. Now is when you need to use your super hero archer arm strength. Bend the pipe so that you can pull the knot into the other slit. I did this by maneuvering my body in a sitting position with my foot pressed against the insulator handle and pulling as hard as I could. I eventually gave myself a blister but I got it in. You will probably come up with your own equally awkward positioning to do this. If you are stronger than me (or if you have a man around) you can make the string shorter, allowing more of a bend in the bow and also making it go farther. Although mine goes plenty far enough.
Once you've done this, squeeze your end caps onto the ends. This not only looks nicer, but it helps keep the string in place as well. Now your bow is done!
Now for the arrows. I liked the idea of dowels for arrows but they still seemed scary and long. I cut them shorter at 16 in with my miter saw. They were easier to handle and I could get 3 out of one dowel! I also came up with the idea of placing pencil erasers on the tips. Now, not only are they a whole lot safer, they look like arrows! On the opposite end, with my hand saw, I cut a small 1/8 in notch. This is where you place the arrow against the string. Make sure the notch is wide enough that the string fits in.
And now you are ready to give your bow and arrow a try! They work really well too!
And although I feel very comfortable with the safety of the arrows, we have a house rule that we do not point them at people. I'm pretty sure an arrow to the eye would still hurt.
WARNING: The adult child of your house will want to give this a try. And he will want to see how far he can shoot it. And it will go into the neighbor's yard. The children have their no aiming at people rule, but the adults have rules too. No aiming up, and whoever sends an arrow over the fence has to go retrieve it!
Now for some fun bonus Fun Jar Activities!
1. Giant Bubbles
These were so cool, we invited friends over to play! For the special giant bubble wands, I used dowels, eye screws, ribbon and a washer. I made a small version for my little guy at 1.5 feet and a large version for my big guy at 2.5 feet. Cut two lengths of dowel each and screw the eye hooks into the end of the dowels. Cut two lengths of ribbon (or you can use nylon string). The large at 7 feet and 3 feet. The small at 5 feet and 2 feet. Tie the ends of each ribbon to the eye screws and lace the washer onto the longer ribbon. Now your wand is done! For little guys, we found that blowing into the bubble wand made the easiest bubbles!
For the bubble recipe we used this one:
12 cups water
1 cup dish soap
1 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp. baking powder.
mix together and let sit for an hour. It was also suggested to add a 3oz tube of personal lubricant (blush). I could only come up with 1oz. I added that but it didn't really start sticking until I started to add cornstarch.
If you want another version, here's one at FamilyFun
2. Make Ice Cream in a Ziplock Bag
This is really fun and easy. I've seen it all over the internet, but you can also find it on FamilyFun. In a quart sized ziplock bag, put in 1 cup milk (white milk for vanilla ice cream, chocolate milk for chocolate ice cream), 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Seal bag so that no air remains. Place bag in a gallon sized ziplock. Fill halfway with ice and 1/2 cup ice cream salt. Squeeze and shake bag for about 5-10 minutes. Cover with a towel if it gets too cold. If ice cream hasn't thickened in 10 minutes, add more ice and salt. put in a bowl and add toppings! We made our own topping bar with mason jars!
3. Make Your Own Moon Sand
I did this one last summer, that's why my son looks so porcelain and chubby cheeked! But here's the recipe:
2 cups fine sand (found at the dollar store)
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
mix it all together and test consistency. It should look like loose sand, but mold like wet sand. If it's too wet, add more cornstarch. Too dry, than add more water. My son had a blast with this and made a nice little tropical beach for his toys to do unthinkable, bloody massacres in.
4. Jelly Fish in a Jar
All you need for this is a clear container (I used a jar because it was the only thing I had without ridges but I think a 2 liter bottle would work a bit better), a clear plastic bag, string and food coloring. I cut my plastic bag about 1 foot x 1 foot square. I just eye balled it. Pinch the middle and tie the string around about an inch and a half down. Don't tie it tight. Cut tentacles. This doesn't have to be an exact science but skinnier and fewer tentacles work best. No more than about 10 skinny tentacles. I think mine were too fat. Just cut straight up to the string but don't cut the string. cut off any excess or bulky areas. Fill your jar with water and whatever color you want of food coloring. Fill the head about 80% with water, leaving some air at the top and don't seal it off. Put the jelly fish in, close the lid, and you have your own pet jelly fish! Turn it upside down and watch him swim to the top!
Until next week, Tiffany