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PART 1 - Cone Fletching Making

Copyright:   Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Preliminaries
4. Tools
5. Construction
    Part 1 - Cone Making.
    Part 2 - Preparing Shaft For Bead And Placing The Cone.
    Part 3 - Using A Muzzle Jig To Trim The Cone To Proper Caliber.
    Part 4 - Making A Broadhead Tip From # 11 Surgical Blades.

Title photo of a Bamboo Skewer Blowgun Dart

1. Intro

Blowgun darts can be made out of many different materials. In the title photo above are represented four from bamboo skewers and three from wire coat hangers. Both work great and are a joy to pop balloons with or to group tightly into paper plates.

I have experimented over the years with several different materials and methods and have arrived at what I believe is the best, least expensive and most adaptable dart that can be made out of either. This tutorial covers the BAMBOO SKEWER type.

There are plenty of photos in this tutorial to make it easy to understand.

Before you jump right in and start you should read the entire tutorial and review the photos to get a good idea what is involved and how to begin.

This project is reasonably easy and the parts are practically free.

2. Materials

A pack of bamboo skewers. ( You can get them at most department stores. They are usually packed in a 100 quantity. Look over the pack closely. They are close to being the same quality but there are differences on occasion. Find a pack that has nice straight skewers and mostly consistent thicknesses. )

A pack of beads sized 9mm. The ones with holes already in them.    ( K-Mart, Walmart, Michael's etc. all have them. )

A roll of clear packing tape. The wide, good quality type.

Writing paper. Thin cheap type is great. ( Thick paper is not good. Too much weight at fletching end.)

Photo of parts needed for making Bamboo Skewer Blowgun Darts

Parts for making Bamboo Skewer Blowgun Darts.


We will be making the cones ( the equivalent of arrow fletching ) from regular writing paper and clear packing tape. The tape I use is a better quality Scotch brand tape approximately 2 inches wide.
I use cheap left over writing paper from some tablet. Just rip out a sheet when needed. You will only be using a piece about 2 X 2 inches so the paper is not critical. You will see later why it is not critical.
The bead is for providing support to the cone once it is made and slid into place.

If you have a plumb-bob, as shown on left in photo below, then you are already a step ahead in the cone making process.
You will use the plumb-bob as the template for making the cones.

If you do not have a plumb-bob you should make something similar to what is shown below on the right, that is plumb-bob-like. Something you can get a consistant angle with. Something to use as a template.
A long pencil, a couple of sheets of paper, a couple of layers of packing tape and a handful of some patching plaster or Portland cement and you can make a nifty homemade plumb-bob for cone making.
It will take all of 5 minutes, except the time it takes for the plaster or Portland to dry.

Photo of a plumb-bob and a homemade plumb-bob

A plumb-bob and a homemade plumb-bob.

You will use the plumb-bob for wrapping a layer of paper around for the initial cone layer. The paper will allow you to slide the cone off the plumb-bob when enough layers of packing tape have been applied over the paper layer. You don't want to just start off with tape on the plumb-bob because you won't be able to slide the cone off.

3. Tools

Razor blade,
Plumb-bob ( make something similar if you don't have one )

4. Construction

Part 1 - Cone Making.

It is very important that each cone be made the same way. You would not expect arrows with different weights or fletching to fly the same or bullets of different weight and design to group closely.
The same with the cones. They catch the air when you make that critical quick puff. When each cone is the same it at least has the potential of catching the same amount of air, exerting the same momentum to the dart and having aerodynamics the same as other darts you make.
To get consistency we want to make everything on the dart that we can the same. The cone is just one of the variables that can be controlled.

Wrap one layer of 2 X 2 writing paper around the plumb-bob. A very little piece of tape to keep the paper joined after wrapping. Cut a piece of packing tape about 4 inches long. Wrap it right over the top of the layer of paper. Do a second layer of packing tape. Then do a third layer.
Pull the cone off the plumb-bob.
After you get to making cones you will decide if you want three layers of tape or more. It all depends on personal preference and the quality of the packing tape you use.

Photo of a paper layer wrapped around homemade plumb-bob

Cone - first paper layer wrapped around homemade plumb-bob.

Photo of cone wrapped with one layer of paper and three layers of tape.

Cone with one layer of paper and three layers of tape wrapped around plumb-bob.

Photo of cone trimmed off and removed from plumb-bob.

Cone has ben trimmed preliminarily and removed from plumb-bob.

    Part 2 - Preparing Shaft For Bead And Placing The Cone.
    Part 3 - Using A Muzzle Jig To Trim The Cone To Proper Caliber.
    Part 4 - Making A Broadhead Tip From # 11 Surgical Blades.

Blowgun darts are lethal so treat them as such.

A future tutorial will cover 'Wire Hanger' Frogging Darts and 'Rod Ferrule Add-on' to the blowgun tip.

Bamboo Skewer Blowgun Darts.

Feel free to copy the information for your own use.

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