Have you browsed countless archery photos on Pinterest or Instagram, looking for arrows with a serious wow factor? Infinite colors, an array of sizes, and various fletching types combine to make arrows strikingly unique. But looks aren’t everything with arrows. They’ll never touch the target without functional fletching. To shoot consistently precise, your arrows must be properly fletched before you head to the range.
Let’s review a few fletching designs to get your creative juices flowing. Each type has its own design and specifications to guide flying arrows, so let’s get started!
1. Flu-flu Arrow
Flu-flu arrows feature large feathers, or fletchings, that intentionally cause air drag. But that’s counter-productive, isn’t it? No. These arrows are tailored for shooting at aerial targets, so your arrows won’t fly far if you miss. Flu-flus are also used for clout archery, in which archers lob arrows high into the sky to try to hit targets lying flat on the ground hundreds of yards away. Pretty cool, eh?!
The fletching on flu-flu arrows often feature different colors and poofy aerodynamic shapes, but they all intentionally apply air brakes to the arrow. And they all look cool. So, go for it. Choose whichever style you like best!
2. Turkey Feathers
Turkey feathers are a more traditional way to fletch your arrows, and they’re naturally designed for flight. Several videos on the internet explain how to make arrows the way you want with this bird’s feathers. However, turkey feathers used for fletching are standard gray. If you want eye-popping colors, find a video or article that instructs you how to dye them.
3. Spin Wings
Most recurve archers use vanes. These fletchings speed up the arrow’s rotation while reducing wind drag. Spin Wing vanes, for example, come in infinite colors. You can even mix and match to get the combination you crave! Who says fletchings must be matched or monochrome?
Another fun thing about Spin Wings is the double-sided tape that adheres them to the arrow shaft. If you don’t like using glue, which requires waiting 15 minutes for it to dry and affix the vane, this tape is your new best friend.
Vanes have become today’s standard fletching. They’re primarily used on compound-bow arrows, and deliver fast, forgiving flights to the target. Because vanes glue on, you can mix and match color combinations to your desires. They’re also available in various lengths to fit the type you prefer to shoot.
We know elves aren’t real, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have arrows that match their style. Elven fletchings can be created in various ways. The easiest method? Take a large set of feathers and cut them into a pattern you like. Use a stencil or reference to cut each feather the same! Strive for consistency.
Elven fletching is usually used with a costume, but don’t underestimate their function. These fletchings make accurate flights to the target. As with turkey feathers, find a video that teaches you how to use sinew to reliably bind fletchings. You might also visit your local archery store to discuss how to make your arrows. They’re there to help.
6. Splicing Fletchings
Splicing your fletchings is another fun way to make unique arrows. This involves cutting feathers into shorter pieces and combining them to create new, full-length fletchings. This is a cool way to show off your favorite hobby! Traditional Archery Academy made a great video that teaches you how to splice feathers.
And if you decide that’s too much work, you’ll find basic feathers at nearby archery stores. Let your imagination and color preferences guide you from there!
7. Dragon Flight
This cool, new fletching is said to make vanes incredibly forgiving when the arrow contacts the arrow rest. So if you expect good arrow clearance from the bow, Dragon Flight could be a great match. This fletching’s low profile also minimizes the wind’s effects, which might be reason enough to try them. Besides resembling a well-decorated Christmas tree, these vanes definitely belong in the cool department!
Do you want to show your support for flag and country? Say it through your fletching! This is also much cheaper than getting a flag painted on your bow’s riser. Your arrows will strike targets with star-spangled speed and color. Who knows. Maybe a bald eagle will be right behind them. Weirder things have happened.
9. Arrow Wraps
If you want to try different combinations of your favorite colors, don’t limit yourself to vanes. Many archers prefer Arrow Wraps, which add individualism to every arrow. Instead of affixing boring fletching with glue, apply the wraps toward the end of the shaft where your feathers will soon sit. Once the wraps are secure, glue your feathers atop the wraps. Wraps can include your name, just in case one of them doesn’t reach the bale.
Obviously, archery’s fun goes far beyond practice and shooting feats. For looks alone, archery can be as unique and awesome as you, right down to your fletchings. But don’t take our word for it. Check out the many options at your local archery store, and discover which style fits you best.