How to Build an Archery Target for a Compound Bow

No matter what kind of bow shooting archery sports lovers carry out, they do need to practice. A bow and arrow target may seem cheap as they are only paper target faces, yet this is half of the archery target.

When you carry out target practice, you need to think about what will stop your arrows or the backstop. You don’t want to shoot, and your arrows end up leaving your backyard toward your neighbors home.

It can get expensive to buy bow hunting targets from the store, which can be recurring as these don’t last forever.

DIY Archery Target

To get away from this cost, you can make a DIY archery target. And, once you have used your DIY archery target, you’ll realize these DIY options easily rival store-bought targets.

There are many ways to construct a DIY archery target so that you can learn all the best DIY archery target ideas in our guide. All are easy to make, yet some are more accessible, and some DIY archery target ideas are more durable. (Find the Best Crossbow Bolts)

No matter which you choose, you will see how to make an archery target suitable for you.

How Do You Make a Homemade Archery Target?

  1. Find a big cardboard box at least 12 inches thick to stop the arrows, or around 18 inches thick if using high-velocity arrows or a bow with high draw weights.
  2. Stuff the cardboard box with plastic wrap or plastic bags and packing material. You can find stores getting rid of shrink wrap from their deliveries. Plastic bags are a good alternative, yet for a DIY archery target, aim for using plastic wrap.
  3. Tape the cardboard boxes shut with packing tape or duct tape. That is all you need for a homemade bow and arrow target. All you need is a target stand, and you are ready to go.
  4. Test the target in an open area that has a good archery target backstop. One thing to note with this DIY archery target is to use field point arrowheads because if you use broadhead arrows, they could break as they hit the cardboard target.

What Can I Use for Archery Target?

Before you get into making your home archery range, you need to understand a couple of things you need to make your DIY archery target.

  • Lumber Frame
  • Target Backstop

In archery, you’ll discover these components are as important as the facing target. It would help if you had a robust target frame, and you had something to stand it on at the right height and withstand many arrow shots.

The most popular material for the outer is a lumber frame. However, this option uses cardboard for the outer of the DIY cardboard box target.

A backstop is a material the arrow is shot into and will catch the arrow before it exits, and you find arrows all over the place. The degree of this will vary depending on the draw weight of your bow.

Backstops are spongy materials that disperse the pressure of the arrows and slow the speed of the arrow. Common backstops include cardboard, feed bags, carpet, fabrics, plastic, hay, straw, and foam.

When making your DIY archery target, you can interchange some of these materials depending on your DIY archery target’s design. Here you can see a couple of ways to make an archery target to suit your needs and the available space you have. (Read our Jaguar Crossbow Review)

Puzzle Mat Targets

The cost of archery targets of this design is more than other options, yet they can last quite a long time. The biggest cost being the stacks of puzzle mats.

Materials Required

  • Puzzle Mats x 1-foot square
  • 4 x 1″ by 1″ by 36″ pieces of wood
  • 2 x 1″ by 1″ by 3″ pieces of wood
  • 2 x 3″ by 3″ by 36″ pieces of wood
  • Old Carpet x 3 feet square
  • 2″ Nails
  • Screws
  • Metal Angle Braces
  • Chicken Wire


  1. Lay the puzzle mats, which will form the backstop of your DIY archery target.
  2. Make a 3×3 grid if each is 1′ by 1′
  3. Stack them until about 12 inches thick
  4. Make the lumber frame using pieces of wood. Saw 2 of the 1x 1x 36 inches pieces of wood in half.
  5. Cut the 3 x 3 x 36 piece of wood in half.
  6. Here, you’ll make the bottom of the frame. Take the longest 3″ by 3″ piece and lay flat, then fasten shorter 3″ by 3″ pieces to each end of the wood. You should have this perpendicular to the longer 3″ by 3″ wood.
  7. Fasten these with the 2″ nails and metal angle braces.
  8. Make the top of the frame the same way with two sets of the 1″ by 1″ pieces of wood.
  9. Fasten these top parts of the frame to the bottom.
  10. To finish, add the 1″ by 1″ by 1″ blocks into the top corners and nail them securely to the top of the frame.
  11. Add the chicken wire to the back face of your frame.
  12. Take your 3 by 3 puzzle mats and lay them on top of the chicken wire.
  13. The last step is to fasten the carpet to the front face of the frame.

Carpet Archery Target


  • 1 x 2″ x 12″ x 6-foot piece of wood
  • 4 threaded dowel rods with 8 washers and nuts
  • Lots of old carpets


  1. Saw the 2″ by 12″ by 6′ wood in half to make two 2″ by 12″ by 3′ boards.
  2. Drill a hole in each of the eight corners (make sure they are in the same position).
  3. Place one piece of wood on the ground as the base. Push a threaded dowel rod through each hole and connect a washer and nut.
  4. Take the old carpet at cut it into 2″ by 11″ strips. Take the strips and stack them on the baseboard. Stack as high as possible as you will compact this
  5. Add the other board and slide it over the top of the dowels. Add the washers and nuts and tighten as much as you can with a wrench.

You will need bullet point arrows or broadheads that could break on impact as the carpet will be dense.

Compressed Straw Archery Target

Compressed Straw Target


  • 2 x 29″ by 4″ by 1″
  • 2 x 28″ by 4″ by 1″
  • 6 x 4-foot bands of Compressed Straw
  • 1″ Screws
  • Wheels


  1. Take the six 4-foot bands of compressed straw and cut them in half. You will have 12 x 2-foot bands of compressed straw. Compressed straw can be easy to cut. Cut the edges with a quick box cut, and you can break it in half.
  2. The compressed straw will be used as the backstop for the fired arrows.
  3. To make the frame, use one of the 29-inch pieces of wood as your base.
  4. Center a piece of compressed straw on the board, then screw the 28″ pieces of wood vertically to either side
  5. Pile your bands of straw on top of each other inside the frame. Once you reach the top, fasten the second 29″ board to the top of the frame. It would help if you had the straw to be higher than your frame so that compression would hold it in position.
  6. Once you screw on the top, you can add the wheels to the side of your new DIY archery target. Adding wheels is advisable as the total weight can be around 50 pounds or more.

What Kind of Foam is Used for Archery Targets?

Foam targets are one of the more popular types and are mainly made from polyethylene foam. Depending on the type of foam, you can find a high 6lb density, which increases with more foam layers. One other thing you can do is repair these if they get damaged with spray foam. Arrows can penetrate the target surface and stick without passing through or bouncing off these types of archery targets. (Find the Best Target Arrows)

All you need here is a good archery tree stand or another target stand to hold your foam, and you have your DIY archery target ready for use.

Can You Use Hay Bales for Archery Targets?

You can find a hay bale target one of the best; however, there are some significant downsides to have these in your backyard.

Hay will deteriorate quickly outdoors and can go moldy. Besides, some animals take a liking to this, so you could find your hay bales eaten or pulled to pieces. It helps keep them covered with a tarp, but this won’t prevent any animals from getting in. (Read Shooting A Bow And Arrow)

Hay bales are made from grass that’s been cut, dried, and packed together. The targets are perfect for beginners because they’re large and cheap.

Arrows penetrate them quickly so they won’t bounce or break. If you have a younger member of the family who is an archery fan, hay is great for target archery as the arrow will stick, even with low-poundage bows, so that they will build up confidence.

Besides stacking your bales, you need nothing else for a homemade bow target in your backyard. (Find the Most Powerful Crossbow)

Homemade archery targets make a great weekend project, and after you make your DIY archery target, there won’t be any need to purchase archery targets ever again.

Besides the above options, you can easily make bag targets, yet a bag target may not offer enough size when you are beginning.

A bag target is best left when you begin to see more success and want something more challenging than the archery targets listed here.

How to Build an Archery Target For a Compound Bow


Scroll to Top