The medieval and Renaissance eras are synonymous with gallant knights in gleaming suits of armor, radiant ladies in luxurious gowns, elaborate meals with bejeweled goblets and cutlery and, of course, the art of archery. As summer fades into the distance, it’s time to embrace the fall spirit. Fall brings the excitement of Halloween and perfect weather for Renaissance festivals. Whichever event you’re going to celebrate, you can DIY your own archery-themed Renaissance costume and stun the other partygoers. You can even use some of your old, broken gear you were planning to throw away as part of the costume. Wear the costume to your Halloween party and the Renaissance festival and get double the use out of your custom costume. Consider it a fashion “Robin Hood.”
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One of the coolest ways to express yourself when you step onto the range or create an archery costume is to customize your quiver. Your quiver can be whatever color you want, and you can attach decals or keychains to make it unique to you. For a Renaissance costume, consider adding a “coat of arms” to the outside of the quiver. Knights and noble families in the Renaissance era were identified by a specific design or icon known as the coat of arms. Knights proudly displayed the coat of arms on their shields and families brandished them on flags waving from castles. Fun fact: Some European countries have very loose laws about coats of arms and allow anyone to adopt an existing coat of arms. For coats of arms originating in the United Kingdom, however, many of them are legally regulated and only a descendant of the family can use it.
If you’re a skilled sewer, you can sew your new coat of arms onto your quiver. If you’re more technically savvy, create the coat of arms on the computer and print a sticker to place on your quiver. Get creative with it. These designs often depicted lions and various other powerful animals. The “crest” of the coat of arms was an image that represented the achievements of the knight and what he did to be granted a coat of arms. Choose an animal you think best represents you and design around it. Let your personality shine through in the colors and icons. The quiver will add an intricate layer to your costume and will be something fun you can bring to the range every time you practice.
A cool and interesting accessory you could add to a Renaissance-style dress or medieval archer costume is a fletching necklace. If you have some broken arrows that you’re not using, you could take the fletchings from them and attach them to the end of a necklace chain to make your very own fletching necklace. Using bowstring instead of a traditional chain will add a little something extra to it as well. You could also take the fletching and attach it to earrings. This would take your costume to another level because even when you’re not carrying your bow and arrows, you’ll still have a bit of archery built right into the outfit.
The Bow and Arrows
Of course, no archery costume is complete without the trusty bow and arrow. You can choose to carry your own longbow (we’re selecting longbows here to keep true to the time period) or make your own. To make a new “prop” one, you can take a piece of wood, sand it down and put a string on it. You could also make one out of PVC pipe. You can use your own arrows or make prop ones out of wood or dowels and attach feathers as the vanes.
These DIY archery-inspired accessories will step up your costume game to the next level. They make use of your current accessories or recycle items you were planning to get rid of. Aesthetics and practicality go very well together. We’re not saying you’ll win the costume contest, but … we’re not NOT saying that. Wear your costume to your local range for their Halloween event and show the other archers how clever they can be with their gear.
Happy fall, all!