Tutorial - How to create Bowstrings

by Roman aka jar


the last tutorial vote by you made "Arrow" the winner.
So it is time for having a closer look on how you can create and attach bowstrings to your figures.

Koen Djins posted a very cool comment during the article vote, let me quote it:

"pirate pls! bow string can be made by using your girlfriends hair"

Sadly it was not Pirate for him this time but his comment really gave me a big laughter as what he said is right. It is not too complicated to create a bowstring. It really works well with a hair.

Some don't have some on their head, some don't have a girlfriend at all, but I can assure you that you can do it with everyones hair, except animal hair as they are often too strong and thick. Just ask a friend, family or strangers, female or male for one of their head hair. Don't go with chest hair or other hair as it is good if the hair you use is not curled.

Well, here is a figure from my diorama "the Nightwatch", where I wanted to add a Bowstring. As I got no hair on my head and Raffa was not present in the studio on that day I got to ask our trainee Sanne for one of her hair.

 The figure to attach the bowstring, a really experienced Bowmen from Red Box Games. You can see I did paint the figure pretty far before I attach the bowstring. It is not completly done yet, but I would say at 90% of the finished paintjob.

 Well, no to the tools you need to attach that hair properly: I used superglue, picked up with a toothpick and placed it carefully at one point to the bow. Now let it dry. Now you can glue it to the second place on the figure and use careful force to bring in tension to the string. If you don't let it dry in between you will rip it off again and can do it again.

Additional to just glueing it to your bow or crossbow you can even carefully wrap the hair around the bow to make it look even more realistic and make the act of tensioning more easy. On the following photo you can see that I used the hair much longer than the bowstring is expected in the end. If you don't you might get some serious problems in handling the small hair properly.

You can also see some "superglue-dots" in place. Use another toothpick to suck it up while it is still wet. If you don't it can look very strange if you have to go with several attempts.

For this guy's bowstring at full tension I glued in three places. Remember one after the other, let it dry in between.

When the bowstring is attached and all the superglue is dry you can carefully use a small scissor or - even better - a nail cutter remove the long ends of the hair. After this you can  paint it with a dark tone and afterwards even highlight it, but be really careful, not afraid, but careful as sometimes it can happen that you rip it off and have to do it all over again.

Need some more examples - here you go:

I hope you enjoyed this little article and I hope to see no bows without a string in future projects as they often look awkward. Give this a try and you will see you and your miniature will not be dissapointed at all.

What else can be done with human hair?

Doing some fur and a bow lash with your own hair.Blood drops
A way on how you can create blood slowly dropping from a point.

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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