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Shoot Straight for Valentines Day
February 7, 2013 - Jen Zbozny
Sometimes Valentines things can be more challenging for young boys than for girls. As they grow older little boys quickly become too cool for heart stickers and fuzzy little creatures. They want monsters or weapons or something that builds monster weapons, preferably on something with wheels. A speeding train full of monsters firing ping pong balls at will would be perfect for a little boy. Wait, it might be perfect for me too. Hmm...
I don't have that craft ready for you today but I do have a super fun little bow and arrow craft that's perfect for Valentines day since it can represent Cupid's arrow. It can also fire harmless cotton swabs all ove the joint. Super fun and no one should lose an eye.
Mini Bow and Arrow.
Note well, your "bow" will need some time to soak and dry so start soaking now if you want to make these tomorrow.
Tongue Depressors or wider Popsicle type craft sticks.
Cotton Swabs - don't use the ones with the plastic sticks, get the cardboard kind. They're easier to fire and don't break into nasty little plastic shards.
Thin, stretchy, elastic jewelry thread (or you can use dental floss)
Stickers, markers, or any supplies you want to us for decorating.
The tongue depressors will form the bow. To get them to bend without breaking, you will need to soak them in water. I took ours and put them into an old quart sized jar I had filled with warm water. I screwed the lid on and left our bows to soak. After 3 hours I took them out and bent them into a gentle curve by forming them into the bottom of a low, wide, two-cup sized stainless steel bowl. You want a gentle arch, not necessarily a dramatic angle. Let them dry in the bowl so it retains its shape.
Once your bow is dried, use your scissors to cut two small notches into the side of each end of your bow. This is where you will attach your bow string. Don't cut too far into the middle or your tongue depressor will break.
Once you've notched, you need to attach to attach the string. Cut a length of your thread that's a little longer than your bow. Wrap one end of the thread around one end of your bow (slipping it into your notch to keep the thread in place) and tie a knot. Pulling the thread so there's a fairly taut bowstring, fix the thread into the notches at the other end of your bow. You want the bowstring nearer to the one long edge of your bow, not in the middle. That's because you need to shoot your "arrow" somewhere. If you fix the bowstring in the middle, when you shoot your arrow, it will hit the middle of the bow (and unless you made a port hole!) it will bounce back at you.
If you tie the thread on and it's too loose, wrap it around a time or two to tighten it up.
Once your bowstring is affixed, hand over the bow to your little archer and let him decorate it. I made one with hearts and foils stickers. Feel free to add monsters at will.
While he decorates, you get to cut one cottony end off some cotton swabs. These are your arrows. When he finishes decorating, let him have the "arrows". If he's ever played Angry Birds, he'll probably be a natural at pulling it back and letting the arrows fly.
If you're skittish about the idea of the bow and arrow, it's only fair to tell you about my field testing of this craft. I made two. I handed one bow to Eve and on to her best friend, who happens to be a boy.
Eve instantly thought it was a musical instrument (points for creative thinking!). That's my girl. Her friend immediately inquired what he could use for arrows and in seconds was stagin some kind of military exercise. Atta boy!
Check out my pictures at right!
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Valentine Craft Cupid's Bow and Arrow