Avid hunters, competitive archers and amateurs alike can benefit from making their own targets. Foam makes a great material for homemade archery targets, as it can withstand multiple arrow strikes and will not damage arrow heads when they enter and leave the target.
Acquire the foam you will use for your target. Select a a high density foam, generally between two and four pounds. This type of foam will exert more pushing power on the arrow, bringing it to a stop without damaging the arrow itself. Polyethylene and ether foams are good places to start.
Stack the foam boards on top of each other to form the basis for your target. The number of layers you use depends on the size of the target you want. The layers will also depend on the thickness of your boards. Be sure you stack enough layers that you have a sizable target with which to practice.
Use a banding machine to compress the material. Banding machines will apply a significant amount of compression without a lot of work on your part, and keep the weight consistent and even across the target, which is the best option for a target that is effective in stopping an arrow.
Use a homemade compression system if you do not have access to a banding machine. Set a sturdy wooden board, such as a piece of plywood, on top of the stack of foam. Add significant weight, such as a number of cinder blocks. Continue to add weight until the material is tightly compressed. This may require a significant number of weights. Evenly distribute the weight across the top of the target to ensure that all areas have the same effective stopping power.
Bind the board and weights to the target using strong rope. Tightening the rope will add to the compression of the foam. Secure the rope tightly. Use duct tape or another strong tape to be sure the ropes are secured in place. If you find that the compressed target has become too small for your needs, remove the weights and add more foam. Your ideal finished target should be at least two feet thick. The height will depend on your preference.