Archery Butts - Has anyone made their own?

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Dec 22, 2009
I've recently taken up archery and having shot my way through all the old telephone directories I had in the house, I'm not thinking about making my own archery butt. Has anyone got any tips, I've tried corrugated cardboard and newspaper sandwiches and they work fine, but as I get more accurate they shoot out quite quickly.

I'm wondering about traditional straw butts like:


Does anyone know how they're made? I've got plenty of straw.

Ogri the trog

Apr 29, 2005
Mid Wales UK
I've shot into bales of straw before now.
They don't last too long and so long as you can avoid shooting through the twine they should be OK for a while - certainly until they get replaced as the old ones go for stock bedding.

It does become a little more important if you loose a pile though!


Ogri the trog


Jul 19, 2004
I made one out of old carpet tiles from an office refurb that appears to be holding up well enough, held together with two ratchet straps and held between two pieces of wood. The arrows slide between the tiles and don't churn it up too much.

Someone also suggested a large plastic bag tightly filled with other plastic bags. Seal the holes with duct tape.


Dec 22, 2009
Thanks for all the tips, I did wonder about carpet tiles as I've got about fifty of the things, they'd be pretty heavy to love about though and SWMBO says "no you can't leave that thing in the garden the whole time"

I'm really taken with the idea of making a traditional style round target, the reason I put it in DIY and Crafts, it would give me something to do on the days like today when it's peeing down.
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Aug 11, 2006
In a boat somewhere
I made a couple of these years ago, a lengthy but satisfying task. If you already have plenty of straw then all you need is suitable string and a sack needle. Oh! something to push the needle with doesn't go amiss either.

It was suggest to me by a farming friend that I make a tapering tube to tighten the straw as it passes. In Skep making this is done with a piece of cow horn, but for the rope for a butt something much larger is required. As it turned out, I ended up doing it by hand feeding new straw into the rope and winding the string around every two inches or so. You quite quickly create an unmanageable snake so start coiling into your butt once you have about four feet or so rope made. Starting is quiet difficult and needs to be right as this is the place that all your gold seeking arrows will end up, with luck!

Would I do it again? I'm not sure. It was satisfying, but they certainly didn't last like a professionally made straw butt. A lot cheaper though.

Traditionally butts were mounds of soil though, turfed and trimmed to keep them tidy. Not quite as portable though. :)

Let us know how you get on and don't forget the pics.



Dec 22, 2009
Thanks for that, I just stumbled across skep-making and thought it looked similar. I think I'll have a read, maybe try a skep even, and then go for it. I like the satisfaction that comes from making myself. I'm currently reading about rope making from paper, which could be interesting, although it'd need a lot of newspaper.

And if I do, I'll be sure to take pictures.


Nov 19, 2003
Sutherland. Scotland.
I was given a couple of sheets of Polystyrene (8 x 4 x 4").

I made the butts 8" thick rather than 4".

I put cut them to size put 2 together then taped bin liners round them, then held it all together with a couple of old inner tubes.

I made a tripod from some old wood tying the 3 lengths together with cord at the top, the butt is then is held onto the tripod by threading the legs through the inner tube and hooking it over the top of the tripod.

I pegged it to the ground after a breeze caught it an flipped it over.



New Member
May 25, 2010
nail a rope on to th centre of your board and start winding round tacking it on at points then repeat the process with more rope or for more fun rig up
a guy fawkes guy stuffed tightly with old clothes (best cut in to small rags for density) either from the house or a charity shop this will give you a more
realistic target which can be hung on a board by the arm pits (DONT hang from a tree) or you will have the boys in blue calling at your house.


Full Member
Mar 15, 2009
Straw bales last a bit longer if you wrap it up with pallet wrap, the big rolls of cling film you can get. And it keeps them light and tight.


Jan 1, 2010
Purley Surrey
An old way to make an archery target from the 50s and 60s.
You will need; two door mats, a wire coat hanger and a pair of pliers.
Place the mats together bristle face in so they lock face to face (put them on the floor and jump on them).
Cut the coat hanger into four 5" lengths and poke one through each corner and twist the wires to lock.
You can double up if you don't think its thick enough.
They last up to a year depending on how often you shoot.

Old carpet works as good backstop netting so you don't kill nextdoors dog/cat.

hope it helps.
good shooting whatever method you use.


Dec 3, 2007
i use a cardboard box, bottom lined with old magazines i didn't want, then a load of expanding foam sprayed over the top. taped the lid up with tape and the expanding foam filled it all up great. it is rock solid and so far has no sign of over penetration or of the face flaying out. the foam slows the arrow nicely and the mags at the back then stop the arrows without damage. works for me.


Full Member
Sep 19, 2008
Scotland, looking at mountains
You can get a big one for about £35 from Merlin Archery ("big shot butt"). Not designed to last forever but should do the trick and certainly beats the hassle of making one. Not much help in France I know but I bet there is something similar available over there

Sounds like you've got plenty of land on which to use it without danger of ricochets, accidental releases etc



Dec 22, 2009
Thanks for all the other ideas too. I should say I quite like the idea of the hassle of making a traditional straw boss.

I'm currently experimenting with homemade targets made in the same way as those newspaper logs. I've torn it up a load of newspaper and soaked it over night in flour and water mix and then squeezed that into a wooden frame which also serves as the support. I laid some of that holey hardboard (used as pegboard for toolracks) either side of this, and then I just parked the car on top to squeeze the water out. I then lifted the boards off and put a bit of plastic sheet over to keep the rain out.

So far it works great even though it's not fully dry and two inches seems to stop pretty much everything. When it gets a bit holey, I'm thinking of just plugging them with more bits of papier maché.

Cheap and easy to make.

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