I started shooting archery with a traditional bow. In that world, arrow cresting is a thing for the most dedicated archers. The prestigious custom rings of color on one’s arrows lets other patrons know two things: this archer knows a lot about archery and is loaded with money. It costs a ton of money to get your arrows crested, or for the DIY-person, can cost a few hundred dollars for the motorized cresting jig. With a little creativity and some painters tape, you can achieve a simple cresting for your arrows at home at a low cost.
How to Crest your Arrows with Spray Paint
The first point is to make all of your arrows match. There are arrow cresting designs out there that aren’t hard-line rings. Some crests have an intended airbrushed look. However, they should all match in proportion, or else you will look like you’ve been collecting orphaned arrows at the archery range. Not bougie. Not elite.
Here, I’ve measured out two points to tape off. Make sure the tape edges line up so that the painted lines look purposeful. Details matter
Note for spray painting: do it on a hot day, in a well ventilated area, and make sure to spray sparingly and evenly. Runny paint is the worst and may cause you to sand and do this over. Personally, I take quick passes with my spray and build thin coats.
Lay down some paint. I’m choosing to paint my arrows two colors to give them high visibility. Notice that I have a strip of tape on each end of my crest. In the middle, I have two strips to provide a white bar in the center of my crest.
After the white base coat has dried over 24 hours on a hot day, I apply another strip of tape to maintain my white rings of paint. I use my initial strips of tape as guides for alignment.
Lay a few even coats of spray paint over the masked area, careful to control the overspray.
Final Result: Spray Paint Cresting Arrows
So, can you crest your arrows with spray paint and have them look good? Hell yes you can.
After letting the paint dry for a day, carefully remove the strips of paint, careful to not lift any paint.
Take 600-800 grit sandpaper and wet sand down the entire length of the arrows to knock down the ridges between the paint lines.
Voila. These are my high-vis, hunter orange crested arrows