A quick DIY archery backstop that my husband built from a stall mat and some 2x4s that we had on hand. This project was around $50 and helps prevent him from losing arrows.
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When we last visited my in-laws, they dusted off the old children’s archery equipment for the kids to play with. My oldest son really enjoyed it and took the archery stuff home which got my husband to thinking he should pick up a bow.
It was all fun and games until he immediately lost a couple of arrows. See… they’re sharp. They aren’t like children’s arrows that fall to the ground. These went INTO the ground.
For Christmas, I bought him a metal detector because I don’t like wasting money and apparently neither does he, as he always spend time hunting for the lost arrows.
The bad news is that since he put together this backstop, he hasn’t really lost any arrows! Or the good news? Either way, the metal detector is still a fun toy.
This is going to be pretty basic because I wasn’t there to take pictures or video of the process, but hopefully it’ll help you make your own!
What is a Backstop?
A backstop for archery is something to put behind your target that will help prevent arrows that miss the target from getting lost. They are also helpful if your arrows go through your target, which is a possibility if you use certain types of targets with certain types of arrows. Not all arrows/arrowheads are the same.
As I mentioned before, a backstop isn’t necessary for the super basic kids bow and arrows because they’re not meant to piece anything substantial. My husband’s arrows will hit the ground and go ALL THE WAY into the soil, making them impossible to find. A backstop is ideal for this problem.
Here are some options on Amazon if you don’t want to make your own, but as you can see below, DIY’ing a backstop can save you money.
DIY Backstop for Archery
- Pressure treated 2x4s for the frame
- Pressure treated 4x4s or 2x4s for the feet of the frame
- Stall Mat: 4×6′ for $50 (Home Depot sells this one, but we got ours at the farm store)
Because we were using 2x4s and screws that we had on hand, this project only cost us $50 for the mat. You will probably run closer to $90-100 if you buy all of the materials.
Options for Backstop Materials
A stall mat is a pretty good option for backstop materials as it’s unlikely that the arrows will go through it. A good thick stall mat is heavy duty and thick- but keep in mind they’re heavy to move.
Some people also use 4-6 layers of carpet, a couple of bales of straw, or cement as an alternative. You can also purchase a backstop.
You want something that your arrows won’t go through so go ahead and test whatever you are considering using out before you commit to it.
Leave me a comment if you have another clever idea that works!
How to Put it Together
First, it would be ideal to build it wherever you want to place it as it’s fairly heavy to move. My husband built it on our driveway, then we moved it using a dolly out to the archery area near our woods. It certainly was movable, but he likely couldn’t have moved it alone.
Wood Cuts for the Frame around the mat:
- (2) 75 1/8″
- (2) 47 3/4″
- Scraps for bracing the frame
You want to start by building your rectangular frame. The 75 1/8″ are along the top and bottom with the 47 3/4″ pieces are vertical sides.
You need to cut 2x4s at 45 degrees with a miter saw for the back side of the backstop so the mat won’t swing.
He used large screws and washers to attach the mat to the frame. These were just ones that we had on hand.
Wood Cuts for the Feet of the Stand
- (4) 120″ (10′) 2x4s — You want two for each “foot”
- OR (2) 4x4x10s
He said he would have opted for 4x4s if he’d had any but he built with what he had on hand. Because he didn’t have 4x4s on hand, he attached two 2x4s together for each foot.
Finally, he added scrap 2x4s cut to 45 degrees with a miter saw to brace the feet of the stand. Without them, your stand WILL flop over.
And that’s it! This isn’t a complicated project, particularly if you are experienced at building things, but it’s a feasible beginner DIY project too!
Setting up a Home Archery Range
This backstop and a target are almost all you need to setup a home archery range. You can add other things like a stand for your bow, but this is really the perfect setup if you live in the woods like we do.
You should add fencing around your archery area to prevent children from accidentally wandering into your space. Here are some portable fencing options that can be relocated if you need to move your space. We initially installed easy no-digging required metal fence panels for a dog run and we may reuse them for this area.
You may, however, want to opt for taller privacy fencing to prevent stray arrows from hitting anyone. Where your archery area doesn’t need to be huge, it would be affordable install these and you could dig the post holes by hand.
Just make sure to follow all local laws about placement and ensure the safety of neighbors, family, and friends! And always, always be careful and aware of your surroundings, just like you would if you were shooting a gun.
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Danielle Pientka is the sewing and DIY blogger behind DIYDanielle.com. She taught herself to sew in 2011 when she wanted to make cloth diapers for her first son. She’s been sewing everything from ecofriendly items to kids products to clothing since, as it has become a passion. She loves learning how to do new things and teaching others in the process. She hopes to inspire other moms to take time for themselves to find their own creative passion.
Danielle lives in Maryland with her three young sons and her husband, Brandon. In her spare time, she gardens, reads, horseback rides, and has a small homestead with goats and ducks. Visit her shop to buy patterns or her sewing eBooks. Subscribe to her newsletter to get blog updates, free patterns and other printables by clicking here.