What are Archery Targets Made of?

If you’ve been thinking of how to start practicing archery shooting, this article is for you, as I will discuss what archery targets made up are and what to consider when buying or making one.

Archery targets are made from a wide range of blocks, straws, dense foam, bags, papers, 2D and 3D models. These materials provide the basic classifications of commercial targets.

There’s so much more to know about archery targets, so grab a cup of coffee and lets dive in!

What are the four basic types of archery targets?

There are many types of archery targets, but the basic ones are paper targets, block targets, bags, targets, and 3D targets. Here’s a detailed explanation of each type:

Paper targets:

Paper targets are the most common archery targets. They’re mostly archery sheets with target shapes printed on them. These archery papers are placed on the wall or on a solid soft material to shoot at. Paper targets are used not only by archers but also by marksmen. These targets are mostly used together with other targets as they’re very fragile and need regular replacement.

Block targets:

These are made from dense foams layered into huge blocks of foam. Depending on the manufacturer, they can be of soft foam or rigid solid foam. However, solid foam is mostly used due to the resilience they provide.

When shooting an arrow to a block foam target, friction is generated once the arrow hits the material. The friction melts it and slows its movement until it stops. Unlike bag targets, block targets are not effective at preventing arrows from damaging the target material.

Bag targets:

Bag targets are made of bags filled with artificial fiber or other spongy materials. When an arrow is shot to a bag target, it hits the external covering and goes through the internal porous material.

The arrows kinetic energy is then absorbed by the bag so that it will not penetrate too far into the material, this helps improve the target’s lifespan. One advantage of bag targets are that they allow archers to remove arrows easily which can sometimes be difficult with foam targets.

3D targets:

3D targets are also made from dense foam, just like block targets. They work in the same way as block targets.

However, they add fun to target shooting practice as they’re often shaped into different animals. This ranges from antelopes, wolves, turkeys, or even dinosaurs. I’ve even seen a zombie target to practice your apocalypse shooting!

How to make a Durable Foam Archery Target

Below, I’ll show you how to make a DIY foam archery target. I’ve embedded a video at the end to help with the instructions as it’s sometimes not easy to follow written instructions without images.

Step 1

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 24″ square foam mats. If you’re willing to make a 2×2″ target, you’ll need 16 stacks, while if it’s a 2×3″ target, you’ll need 20 stacks.
  • Box cutter
  • Hand or circular saw.
  • 3″ exterior wood screw
  • Power drill
  • ½” drill bit
  • A grinder
  • 8 – ⅜” washers
  • 8 – ½” Washers
  • 8 – ⅜” Coarse threaded nut
  • 4 – 4′ length of ⅜ Coarse threaded rods
  • An adjustable spanner
  • T- square
  • Sharpie
  • Locking pliers
  • 6 – 3′ lengths of 2×4 wood
  • 2 – 1′ lengths of 2×4 wood

Step 2:

Cut your foams into suitable sizes of a target.

Measure 12″ from the edge of each foam using your T-square and make a little mark there. Restack the foams to face the same way you make the mark.

Next, rotate your stack to 90 degrees and use your T – Square to draw a line on the mark you’ve made earlier. After that, use your box cutter to cut your foams in half pieces across the line, make sure you cut them smoothly, then set them aside.

Step 3:

It’s time to build a base for your target. Cut your 2×4s into the required length. Now take 4 of the 3′ length and use your screws to carve a two-step ladder but leave a 12″ board to stick out past the horizontal board in the middle on each side. Next, make dots in the middle and bore a hole through the dots.

Step 4:

Now let’s build the top of the target. Now take the remaining 2×4 woods you’ve and build something similar to that of the base but smaller but this time let 8″ of the board to stick out on each side. After that, drill four ½” holes on the piece, make sure the holes are in the same line.

The top will be used in compressing the foam pieces to make a solid target that will be easily shot at.

Step 5:

Now take your base and lean it on the side. Insert your threaded rods into the holes you drilled. Now turn the base’s underside and put a ½” washer, a ⅜” washer, and then put a ⅜” nut on end. Keep screwing the nut until an inch of threaded rod strikes out past each nut.

Step 6:

Stack your foam neatly, one on top of the other. Ensure they’re neatly arranged and lined up so that the target’s surface will be smooth. When you are done, slide the arranged foams down over your threaded rod.

Step 7:

The next part is to compress your foam; this is rather a time consuming and tedious. Now screw the nuts firmly into the threaded rods. Screw them down till the foam is compressed firmly.

Step 8:

We’re almost done! The next thing to do is to cut off the extra-threaded rod. Take your hacksaw and cut the extra-threaded rod above the mark you made before you compress the foam.

Step 9:

Yeah, we did it! Now get your arrow and start shooting! Your foam archery target is done!

Watch the video below:

How Thick Should an Archery Target be?

Like any other sport, archery has its own set of standards, rules, and regulations that ensures decent judging and enable archers to know what they’re aiming at.

Even though archery has existed for a long time, there’s has not been a specific height and thickness a target should be. However, some archery organization includes a specific thickness of archery targets in their professional archery events.

The thickness of an archery target depends on the place it will be used – whether indoors or outdoors. However, a home-made foam archery target should be about 6cm (2.3 inches) thickness; this way, the target will be durable and last longer, but it should still be easy to get your arrows out.

We’ve talked a lot about archery targets and hopefully you now know how to build a durable foam target for you to practise with. The durable foam archery target can last for two years or more, depending on how frequently you shoot.