Arrow of Light Award Plaque
Procedure written by Melissa Cole, Pack 164, Yorktown Heights, NY
This is not an original project. I used many internet sources to build the final project.
Materials needed for each plaque:
- One piece of lumber, 1” X 6” X 26”. One website I found suggested using red oak, which I’m sure would make a nicer-looking plaque. However, red oak has the following drawbacks: 1) it’s expensive, and 2) being a hard wood, it’s more difficult to cut. I used the best quality of white pine I could obtain at my local lumber yard.
- Smoothing materials: various grades of files and sandpaper.
- Pre-stain treatment.
- Wood stain in desired color.
- One 3/8” dowel, approximately 24” long.
- Acrylic paint in various colors to represent different Cub Scout achievements; see the attached document entitled “Arrows” for the colors I used.
- Small paintbrush.
- Clear varnish.
- One arrowhead: I ordered mine online from www.nature-watch.com . The product name is "Native American Indian Arrowhead Replicas".
- Wood glue.
- Leather craft lace.
- Two feathers: one yellow (gold) and one blue.
- Hot glue gun.
- Two 1” cup hooks (make sure the dowels will fit through them).
- Picture hanger.
- Engraved name plate. I ordered mine from a local trophy shop.
- Trace the template found at http://www.arrow-of-light-awards.com/arrow.pdf onto cardboard. Trace this onto the lumber and cut out the Arrow of Light shape. As I am not a woodworker, I had a friend cut mine. The website recommends using a bandsaw and a jigsaw. Be careful with the “rays” of the plaque both at this point and throughout the project. I found, through experience, that they snap off easily.
- Using the files and sandpaper, smooth the rough edges. Lightly sand the face of the plaque.
- Apply pre-stain treatment to face and edges of plaque. This extra step will help ensure even color distribution of the colored stain.
- Stain plaque. The pre-stain treatment I used noted that the piece needed to be stained within two hours of applying the treatment.
- Obtain a list of the boy’s achievements during Cub Scouting. Beginning approximately 4.5” from the end of the dowel, paint stripes to represent each achievement. If you’re making more than one plaque, now is the time to label the dowels! I put label-making tape on each one so I’d know whose is whose. As the boys in our Pack joined Cub Scouting at different points and earned different achievements along the way, each arrow is unique.
- When the stripes on the dowel are fully dry, cut a notch into the opposite end of the dowel from where you began the stripes. This should be wide and deep enough for the arrowhead to fit in. I used a combination of a handsaw, wood file, and Dremel tool.
- Apply wood glue to the notch and insert arrowhead. I used a clamp to hold the arrowhead firmly into the notch while the glue dried.
- Install picture hanging hardware on back of plaque.
- Screw cup hooks into front of plaque to hold arrow. I put mine about 7” from each end of the plaque and about ½” from the bottom.
- Once the glue on the arrowheads is completely dry, use the hot glue gun to wrap a small piece of leather craft lace around the base of the arrowhead.
- Slip the arrow through the cup hooks, making sure that the arrowhead lines up with the arrow end of the plaque. If any length needs to be taken off the arrow, slip it out and cut it, then slip it back in. After this point, the arrow will not be coming out of the award plaque.
- Trim feathers to desired length and apply as fletching, using hot glue gun.
- Apply name plate to face of plaque.
As warned by many websites, this is not an overnight or even a weekend project! To make nine of these for my graduating Webelos, I began in early December, approximately two months before the Blue and Gold banquet at which the plaques will be awarded.
You could recruit parent help for some of the work. I liked one Pack’s recommendation: they have the junior Webelos help make the plaques for the senior Webelos as part of their Craftsman activity pin.
Have fun! Although I am not a woodworker, feel free to e-mail me with any questions.