It’s a good time to be a Nerf enthusiast. The N-Strike series — with its interchangeable parts and array of clip-fed, semi-auto, and fully automatic blasters — has sparked something of a renaissance in the art of shooting one’s friends with little foam darts.
But not all is happy in Nerfville. Years ago, Nerf stopped producing Mega Darts — the most common ammunition used in first- and second-generation blasters. This, of course, is frustrating for owners of old Nerf weapons — like, say, the beloved Nerf Crossbow (“the most sought after Nerf gun out there“).
To make matters worse, Mega Darts are getting increasingly difficult to find in secondary markets. (I conducted a quick search this morning and came up empty on both Amazon and eBay.) And, even if you are lucky enough to find a website that sells them, a six-pack of Mega Darts typically sells for around $20, and no one could possibly be that desperate.
All Nerf fans, therefore, should know how to make their own darts. Custom darts not only keep your blasters from becoming obsolete, but they also tend to fly straighter and farther than stock Nerf darts.
Here, then, is a step-by-step process for making your own custom darts.
(Note: Custom Nerf darts are commonly referred to as “Stefans.” I can only assume this is in reference to Urkel’s smooth-talking clone on Family Matters.)
- Foam backer rod
- Razor blade
- Hot glue gun
1. Obtain foam backer rod. Backer rod is typically either 1/2” or 5/8” in diameter. Try to find 5/8” rod, if possible, because the original Mega Darts were 5/8”. If you are only able to find 1/2” rod, you can wrap the tip of your dart in a layer or two of electrical tape until it “fits” correctly in your blaster (sometimes I’ve even had to do this with 5/8″ rod).
2. Use a razor blade to cut the foam into 12″ sections.
3. Place the sections in a pillowcase, shut it with clothespins, and dry the pillowcase in a dryer (on high) for 20 minutes.
4. Remove the sections from the pillowcase. They will likely still have a slight bend to them. Straighten them out by hand.
5. Cut each section into six separate 2″ darts. (The length of the dart, of course, can vary. Some people, for instance, swear by 1.5″ darts — but those people are morons.)
6. Use a nail to poke a hole in the front of your dart.
7. Place a BB in the hole. (Even though I’m about to glue it in, I still try try to bury the BB somewhat deep in the dart because I don’t want the BB accidentally coming loose and flying out during a game. After all, my friends and I aren’t savages. This isn’t Airsoft.)
Update: Two BBs may work even better, provided your Nerf blaster shoots with enough force. The key, of course, is finding the right balance — you want enough weight so that your dart flies straight, but not so much weight that it starts losing distance. The best approach is to experiment with a few different weights and see what works best for you.
8. Hot glue the BB inside the dart. I recommend keeping the hot glue gun on the “low” setting to avoid melting the foam. Also, add some extra glue to the top of the dart in a “dome” shape — this will make your dart a little more aerodynamic.
9. Keep your darts upright and let the glue dry overnight.
Congratulations — you’ve just made your own custom Nerf darts! Now all that remains is to go shoot the rest of your man-child friends in the face.
Next up: “How to Explain to Your Wife Why It’s Acceptable for a Grown Man and Father of Four to Still Be Horsing Around with Nerf Guns”