Learning how to fletch arrows can take a bit of time and practice, but is well worth the effort: the fletching isn’t just pretty, it’s also functional. One of the best things about archery is that you can personalize your gear, from color-coordinating your bow and accessories to creatively fletching your arrows. The nock, fletchings, and point that you install on your arrow help to stabilize it in flight, because the arrow actually bends like a wet noodle when it leaves your bow:
The options for beautifying arrows are almost endless, whether you use brightly colored nocks, custom arrow wraps, or fun fletching combinations. Here are 5 ways to get creative with your arrows:
1. Rock (nock?) the bright colors
The nock is super important: it’s the plastic piece on the end of the arrow that attaches your arrow to the bowstring. You can choose from lots of different color options…these are just a few of your many options.
2. Go back to your (archery) roots
Traditional archers get major points for creativity: many longbow shooters (think Katniss Everdeen) use brightly colored feathers for fletchings – the feathers or vanes that help to stabilize your arrow during flight. The striped feathers below are called “barred” feathers, and you can get different sized ones at almost any archery shop.
3. Hunt for the best colors
Just because you wear camo in the woods, you don’t have to skip the colors on your arrows. If you’re inclined to try bowhunting, you can rely on brightly colored fletchings to help you spot your arrows during target practice and while bowhunting. Many compound archers use shorter fletchings – like the vanes pictured below – for optimum arrow speed.
4. Archery gives you wings…
Spin Wings, that is. And Kurly Vanes, and Eli Vanes, and lots of other fletchings designed specifically for archers shooting a recurve bow outdoors, at longer distances. These fletchings are plastic vanes – notable for how thin they are, and their distinctive curl – which help super skinny arrows achieve better flight. Enough color options to suit anyone with Olympic dreams, like Mexico’s Aida Roman.
5. Wrap It Up
One of the best ways to personalize your arrows? Use arrow wraps, a modern twist on the ancient tradition of cresting, which used to identify the archer who shot an arrow. Wraps can be completely customized for you, or you can check out your local archery retailer for pre-made options in a huge variety of colors and designs.
What will I need?
If you don’t know how to fletch arrows, head to your local archery store, where you can get a fletching lesson from a coach or other expert at the pro shop. Once you feel comfortable with the technique, it’s fairly simple to fletch your own arrows. Sure, there are a few tools you’ll need, but with a quick lesson, you’ll be making your own creative arrows in no time at all.