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Ready to up your archery and crossbow game? There are many quality target options on the market.  What you may not know is that there are ways to construct DIY broadhead targets at home. 

Learning how to make homemade archery targets out of household or even free materials can save you money. 

Broadhead targets purchased brand new at the store. The larger target block style can cost you anywhere from $50 to $200. Rather than buying a new target every time, make your own! 

If you want to learn how to create your homemade archery target for broadheads, this article will show you how.

5 Ideas for DIY Broadhead Targets

Here are five of the best ideas on how to make a broadhead target. We’ll cover the materials you will need for each, step-by-step instructions, pros and cons, and estimated costs. 

Sandbox Target

A DIY sandbox broadhead target is a reliable way to ensure your blade will stop at the target. 

Materials needed

Here are the materials needed to make a sandbox broadhead target:

  • 30-40 50lb bags of sand (if you are looking to make close to a 1 ton sized sandbox)
  • Scrap or pressure-treated wood
    • 13 2x4s
  • Nails or screws
  • Hammer, nail gun, or screwdriver
  • Shovel, for moving sand in place
  • Wheelbarrow, for relocating the sandbags easily

A step-by-step how-to guide 

  • Assemble the boards in a U-shaped configuration, with openings on the top and front.
  • Use one board across the top to keep the boards sturdy and in place.
  • Fill the inside of the open box with sand, and use a shovel to even out as desired.

Potential pros and cons 

  • Pros: this is a larger, more permanent installation that will last a long time, far beyond just a handful of uses.
  • Cons: the cost is somewhat higher than some of the other projects we’ll present to you since it is a longer-term solution. Be certain that your sandbox is clear of debris such as gravel, which will certainly cause more damage to the blade than intended.

Rough estimated cost

Bags of sand can run on average about $3.00 each for 50 lbs, depending on your location and local availability. The sand will probably cost you around $90-120. The wood can be collected as scraps or purchased for around $20, plus hardware.

The total cost for the sandbag DIY broadhead target should be less than $150.

Cardboard Box and Cloth Strips

This cardboard box and cloth strips broadhead target is an inexpensive and relatively quick option for creating your DIY broadhead target. The design is simple and the materials for the inside are reusable.

Materials needed

Here are the materials needed to make a cardboard box and cloth strips broadhead target:

  • Cardboard box
  • Duct tape
  • Cloth strips (alternative, use couch cushions or pillows)
  • Permanent marker

A step-by-step how-to guide 

  • Remove buttons and zippers from the cloth scraps, which could damage the broadheads.
  • Tear cloth into strips and stuff tightly into the box.
  • Upon filling the box, tape shut.
  • Use tape and markers to add targets to the faces of the box.
  • When the cardboard is used up, simply move the cloth strips into another box and repeat.

Potential pros and cons 

  • Pros: this design is incredibly easy to put together and very cost-effective.
  • Cons: unfortunately, the cardboard isn’t very durable, and will have to be replaced more frequently than other designs may need to.

Rough estimated cost

These cardboard boxes can be purchased for less than a dollar, making this a very cost-effective alternative to store-bought brand name broadhead targets. 

Use old cloth scraps from around your home, or gather materials from a local thrift store. Ask if they have discards you can have for free.

Duct tape should run you around $3.00 for 55 yards, and permanent markers are usually $2-3 for a pack of two. 

The total cost for the cardboard box and cloth strips DIY broadhead target will cost you $5-10 each, depending on how you source the cloth.

Foam-Based Broadhead Archery Target

Home made foam archery target for broadheads

Many hunters swear by foam-based broadhead targets. There are a variety of ways to get creative with using foam to create these targets. 

Depending on the foam box you can find, these targets can range from quite large to relatively small and the price will vary accordingly.

Alternatively, if you can source reasonably thick sheets of foam and compress them together, this will provide a particularly effective target.

Materials needed

  • Expanding foam in a can
  • Foam cooler
  • Duct tape
  • Alternatives: polystyrene blocks, miscellaneous floating dock pieces retrieved from a lake or river, leftover packing pieces from factories and loading docks.

A step-by-step how-to guide 

  • Spray foam adhesive inside the foam cooler, following layering instructions on the can. 
  • Once filled and hardened, tape the cooler shut.
  • Alternative: tape foam blocks together and wrap them in tape or plastic wrap.

Potential pros and cons 

  • Pros: This is the lightest-weight option, great for taking with you to remote shooting locations.
  • Cons: Be careful that the foam doesn’t create a large mess as it is wet and expanding as it can be hard to clean up once dried. 

Rough estimated cost

Spray foam and foam coolers each can be found for less than $10.

The total cost for the foam DIY broadhead target should be less than $20.

Compressed Carpet Archery Target

Reach out to your local carpet dealer and request leftover scraps and samples.

They are usually more than happy to find someplace to offload these rather than toss them in a landfill.

Compressed carpet archery targets are a great economical option for DIY broadhead targets.

Materials needed

  • 30-50 layers of carpet, approximately 12 inches by 18 inches in size
  • Hole puncher or knife
  • 2-4 dowels or hooks 

A step-by-step how-to guide 

  • Punch approximately ½ inch holes in the top corners of the carpets.
  • Thread dowel or hooks through holes to keep carpets together.
  • Can hang up or simply place in the yard, ready to shoot.

Potential pros and cons 

  • Pros: very easy setup.
  • Cons: durability is variable based on carpet samples.

Rough estimated cost

The carpet, if obtained from samples, could be very low cost or free, making this one of the cheapest DIY options for a target.

Hay or Straw Archery Target

One of the easiest to set up and a common option is the use of hay bale targets as a DIY broadhead target.

Many ranges already use them as backstops behind their more conventional targets because they provide great stopping power without damaging the arrows.

If you have access to it, try to use straw because it is longer lasting and is less prone to suffering from mold.

With only a little bit of work you can turn a reasonable quantity of straw or hay into a very serviceable broadhead target.

Materials needed

  • 2-3 small to medium bales of hay or straw
  • Scrap wood to build stand
  • Target paper
  • Plastic wrap

A step-by-step how-to guide 

  • Make sure your bale of hay or straw is tightly compacted. A loose straw will not make a good target.
  • Stack the bales of hay so they are 2-3 deep, so there’s enough stopping power.
  • Place the target paper on the bale and wrap it in plastic to keep it in place.

Potential pros and cons 

  • Pros: Easy setup.
  • Cons: Can be a messy cleanup. Make sure you have somewhere in your hard to dispose of the extra hay when discarded. Hay can become moldy.

Rough estimated cost

Hay will be more costly, around $100 or so for a bale, whereas straw will be less at around $50 or so. Hay is recommended.

The total cost for the DIY hay or straw bale target will probably cost between $75-125.

Conclusion

We recommend trying out the cardboard and cloth strip option, due to its simplicity and super cost-effective price.

You now have the foundational knowledge and ideas you need to know how to make a broadhead target. 

By being a little creative you can also create some illustrations that depict a deer’s vitals or some type of variation to provide a meaningful practice session.

Congratulations! Get out there and have fun with target practice.

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