So when I made my archer bow for my Dragon Nest Archer cosplay I decided to take pictures at every step! I’m hoping it’ll help out anyone that needs something similar to it since I do get asked what it was made out of.
The bulk of the short bow is made out of cardboard… you know those packaging boxes you can buy at the hardware store.
Materials you will need are:
1. Cardboard pieces cut out in even squares (so if its small you can cut 4 x 4 and if your prop is bigger than 8 x 8 like mine)
2. Glue meant for paper/cardboard!
3. Exact-o Knife or a box cutting knife for the cardboard
From there you’d want to already have your rough draft of the prop! So draw that baby out on some banner paper or butcher paper (whatever you might call it) and with that you can layer the cardboard! So it’s layers in a way where the creases are NOT in the same place so it’s more sturdy. Think of… bricks. They aren’t stacked right on top of each other but instead in the middle of two! For this bow I used 3 layers of cardboard.. it’s pretty sturdy with that amount. I’d use 3 as a bare minimum if you want it to have some strength to live on, more is always welcomed if you need something thicker though~
So here is just my reference picture and you can start to see some linear process!
Here just glue the squares on top of each other with the cardboard glue.. then trace your pattern down!
So from here… you may want the extra support in the middle so I put in dowels! I just cut the dowels into pieces that I needed and traced the shape to where I wanted it on the bow. Cut out the slots and used ALOT of hot glue to glue them in! No worries if it’s a little messy on top, this will be paper mache’d later so it won’t even be noticeable~ I even used a thinner square wood piece for the more thinner ends of the bow… it puts my mind at ease that it won’t bend if I accidentally bump into someone.
Now to use your arm muscles!! Cut your design out! Hopefully yours doesn’t have these curves like mine… it takes a lot of patience! AFter that I cut the same design out of cardstock! The thick hard paper on top will automatically make the paper mache process go a lot smoother~ This step is of course optional but just from my experience… it looks nicer :D
After a few layers of paper mache… paint it over with your favorite gesso! Mine just happens to be black this time around xD Then I sanded it and painted it again with another layer of gesso. You can keep repeating this process until you get the desired smoothed surface~
So from here I would just paint on the design and add the big wings you see on the reference picture. Sadly I don’t have an updated picture of it.. but I will update this when I do :D
I hope that helps someone on maybe not just this bow but some other prop they are trying to make! It’s possibly the cheapest prop I have made but just because the materials are cheap doesn’t mean the outcome looks like it :D Just remember to put time but patience into your projects and they will sure succeed~