DIY Survival: How To Make A Crossbow From Scratch [Video]

Make a DIY crossbow from scratch using this featured video guide so you can increase your chances of survival in the wild!

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DIY Crossbow | An Effective Survival Weapon

How a Crossbow Works

The crossbow will be a better option than a longbow, especially in a scenario where you may have lost your rifle or just didn’t bring one along. This weapon does not demand too much physical exertion as a longbow does.

All you have to do is to draw the string and you’re ready to shoot. Shooting positions can be varied and your height will not be a hindrance.

Another advantage is you do not need to master the draw-aim-shoot technique. This type of survival weapon is fairly easy to use, so it’s a good idea to learn how to use it.

A crossbow offers many advantages in survival situations. In fact, it’s getting quite a following as a survival weapon, all thanks to The Walking Dead and Daryl Dixon’s character.

There are four components of this weapon: the body, the limb, the string, and the trigger. The first two will be pretty straightforward to make, but the latter will be a bit complicated.

Here’s a guide on how to make a simple crossbow easily with what’s available around you.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Sharp survival knife or machete
  • Rope for the string
  • Bamboo


  1. The first step is to find a good bamboo tree. Use the ones that are mature enough for a DIY crossbow. It should also be sturdy and in good condition.
  2. Cut the bamboo with your preferred measurement. Find a comfortable length and mark the wood where you want it cut, then smoothen the nodes to get rid of sharp edges.
  3. Next is to cut the bamboo in half vertically.
  4. Now you have two bamboos, cut 1 inch on the sides of each bamboo. Do it vertically.
  5. Combine the two bamboos together facing each other to form a symmetrical almond shape, then secure the bamboo with sticks at both ends. This will be the body of your crossbow.
  6. The next step is to tie one end with a rope and loop several times to make sure it’s tight.
  7. Now, time to make the limb. Cut approximately 2 inches wide of bamboo stick for the limb.
  8. Smoothen the bamboo with a sharp knife and get rid of the first outer layer. By reducing its thickness, you can make it flexible enough to create a good limb for your crossbow.
  9. Then, create a hole at one end for the limb. Add another bamboo stick into the whole along with the limb so the limb won’t move.
  10. Secure the ends of the other bamboo stick with a rope. Make several loops to secure it properly.
  11.  Now, your DIY project is starting to look like a crossbow. Using a rope, connect both ends of the limb together. Make it tight so the string can create force when pulled and released.
  12.  It’s time to make the trigger. Using your sharp knife or machete, make the groove to hold the string. Cut the bamboo for the trigger system. Use a thinner piece (around 1 inch thick) of bamboo to create the trigger. Attach it using a bamboo stick on the side near the groove.
  13. The last step of this DIY crossbow is to make your own bolts out of bamboo. Cut several bamboos to fit the size of the channel on your crossbow. Make one end of the bolt sharp and pointy.
  14. Set up a target in a safe place to test fire your DIY bamboo crossbow.

Tip: For the string, you can also use one from vines or tree barks, but you need a sturdy string for it to work. If you have paracord accessories with you, it can solve the problem, but there are better ways.

The simple trigger mechanism is where you need to be technical, that’s why you need a sharp tool to work on it. All in all, making a crossbow from scratch is feasible with your optimism and will to survive.


Out in the wild, it will seem like you’re helpless with only the elements. But armed with the proper DIY survival knowledge, what you’ll see is a treasure trove of materials to work on for your survival.

Right now, this DIY tutorial can serve as a guide for your prototype, and you can work your way to improving from here. The more you work on this project, the more you’ll know your way around hunting crossbows!

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Do you have other ideas to create a DIY crossbow? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 27, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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