How to Paint the Arrow of Light Award Arrows

by Lonnie McGowan
Traditional native american style arrows are a popular choice of arrow to paint.

Traditional native american style arrows are a popular choice of arrow to paint.

The Boy Scouts of America is a youth organization committed to developing boys into responsible adults, with a sense of community responsibility, self-confidence, self-reliance and ethical behavior. The Arrow of Light is the highest award given to Cub Scouts, and is the only Cub Scout badge worn on the Boy Scout uniform. Scouts earn this prestigious award by completing the Webelos badge, plus additional badges and requirements. The ceremony and award are the culmination of the Cub Scouts' journey and the beginning of his Boy Scout adventure. The arrow presented with this award is a map of this journey.

Sand the shaft of the arrow lightly, up and down the length of the arrow with the grain. This will allow the paint to properly adhere to the arrow.

Cut or drill a 1/2-inch notch into the edge of the each block of wood. This will serve as a stand to hold the arrow. Make one set of notches for each arrow.

Place the arrow in the stand. If using a kit, mount the arrowhead but not the feathers. Start approximately 1 inch from the feathers (or where they will be once mounted) and mark the arrow with a pencil according to the awards the Scout has earned, leaving 1/8 inch between each award band: Tiger Badge (orange) - 1/2 inch Bobcat Badge (black) - 1/2 inch Wolf Badge (red) - 1/2 inch each Wolf Gold Arrow Point (gold) - 1/4 inch each Wolf Silver Arrow Point (silver) - 1/4 inch Bear Badge (aqua) - 1/2 inch aqua each Bear Gold Arrow Point (gold) - 1/4 inch each Bear Silver Arrow Point (silver) - 1/4 inch Webelos Badge (blue) - 1/2 inch each Activity Pin (white or alternate white/green) - 1/4 inch Compass Emblem (light blue) - 1/2 inch each Compass Point (gold) - 1/4 inch Leave No Trace Award (red) - 1/2 inch World Conservation (tan) - 1/2 inch Outdoor Activity (green) - 1/2 inch Emergency Preparedness (white) - 1/2 inch Religious Award (purple) - 1/2 inch Arrow of Light (yellow) - 1 inch Awards not earned should not be left as blank space. (For example, if the Outdoor Activity award was not earned the Emergency Preparedness band would come after the World Conservation band.)

Paint the color bands on the arrow. Dip the brush in the proper color and remove excess paint to prevent dripping. Hold the brush in one hand and turn the arrow with your other hand as you apply the paint. Repeat for each band, taking care not to overlap colors. Allow paint to dry completely.

Wrap the spaces between colors and at each end of the color bands with 1/8-inch black tape. Alternately, the spaces may be painted black and allowed to dry before continuing.

Cover the arrowhead and feathers (if already included) with newspaper and tape it in place. Be careful not to cover your painted area. Spray the arrow with lacquer in long even strokes, turning the arrow as you spray. Allow to dry completely and remove the newspaper. Mount feathers as needed.

Items you will need

  • Arrow or arrow kit
  • Drill or saw
  • Sandpaper (150 grit or finer)
  • Two wood blocks 12-inches long (2 by 4 or similar)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Acrylic or enamel paints
  • Small paintbrushes 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch wide
  • 1/8-inch black pin-striping or art tape
  • Clear lacquer

About the Author

Lonnie McGowan began freelance writing in 2008 and has a diverse background, having written and published many items including safety manuals, training documents, technical articles, and instruction sheets. McGowan is a graduate of Clover Park Technical College with an associate degree in computer networking and information systems security, and owner of a local computer service and repair business.

Photo Credits

  • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images