Skip to Content

How to Add Stripes to Arrow of Light Arrows

The Cub Scout Arrow of Light award arrow details the Cub Scouting career of Scouts. Learn what the stripes mean and how to place them on the arrow's shaft.

AoL arrow striping

The Arrow of Light is Cub Scout's highest rank. It is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on their Boy Scout uniform.

In many packs, it's customary to honor Arrow of Light recipients with a plaque, a ceremonial arrow, or both–usually presented to them by their Webelos den leader.

Some packs will make their own arrows using a wood dowel rod, while different packs will purchase real arrows.

Arrow of Light Arrow Stripes

One of the traditions observed by many packs is to put stripes on the shaft of the arrow to symbolize the Scouts' individual achievements during their Cub Scout careers.

In my pack, our Scouts added the stripes themselves. In my friend Elizabeth's pack, the Cub Scout leader does this.

Methods of Adding Stripes

One of three methods is typically used to add the stripes. Some will paint the stripes on to the shaft of the arrow. Some will wind colored embroidery floss around it. Others will use adhesive vinyl strips.

Each method has its pros and cons. Paint may last longer, but it is the most difficult to apply. You have to paint carefully and stay in the lines, and it can get messy.

Colored embroidery floss needs some sort of adhesive so that it will stay attached to the shaft. It is also time-consuming if you want the thread to lay neatly.

putting stripes on arrow of light arrows

Using adhesive vinyl strips is the easiest method. The only con to using adhesive color bands is that they may begin to peel off over time.

Arrow of Light Arrow Striping in Old Program

The Boy Scouts of America doesn't have a standard for what colors to use on the ceremonial arrows. When you search online for the information, you'll find some commonalities, but there are some differences.

Prior to the changes to the Cub Scout program, Scouts received stripes for the gold and silver arrow points that they earned as a Wolf and a Bear. They also received stripes for the Webelos Scout activity pins that they completed.

Most sites suggest that they receive a gold stripe for their gold arrow point and silver stripes for each silver arrow point they earned. White stripes were used to indicate Webelos activity badges.

arrow of light arrows
I highly recommend purchasing your ceremonial or career arrows from Vince’s Arrows! They are beautiful. You can read my full review here.

Current Arrow of Light Arrow Striping

Now that we don't have activity badges or arrow points, we need to come up with a new process for the award arrows.  After some research and “trial and error” testing, here's what I think would work.

As you know, Tigers, Wolves, and Bears must complete seven adventures for each of the ranks. Webelos must complete six adventures, and Arrows of Light complete five adventures.

They may also work on additional elective adventures.

I measured the shaft on my son's arrow and checked the length of arrows being sold in an Arrow of Light kit on several websites to determine how much space we would have for stripes.

Using all this information, here is what I'm proposing.

how to put stripes on arrow of light arrows

Suggested Arrow of Light Arrow Striping

Use 1/2″ stripes to represent each rank that the Cub Scout earned.

  • Bobcat – Black
  • Tiger – Orange
  • Wolf – Red
  • Bear – Aqua or Teal
  • Webelos – Dark Blue
  • Arrow of Light – Yellow

There won't be enough room to add a stripe for the seven rank required adventures, so use 1/4″ stripes to represent each adventure a Scout completes in addition to the required seven.

These stripes could be any color, but using gold, silver or white makes the most sense to me. Our pack will probably use gold for all of them.

Cub Scouts can earn many non-rank awards during their tenure, but there probably won't be enough room on the shaft to put stripes for all of them. We should reserve the room on the shaft for the awards that require the most effort.

In my opinion, these are the Cub Scout religious emblems, the World Conservation award, and the Supernova awards (one for Cub Scouts and one for Webelos).

Use 1/2″ stripes for these awards.

  • Religious Emblem – Purple
  • World Conservation Award – Tan
  • Supernova Awards – Light Blue

Layout of Stripes

Place the Bobcat stripe on the end closest to the fletching. Leave a little space, and add the Tiger stripe. Next, add the stripes for the additional Tiger adventures.

Continue with the Wolf and Bear stripes, placing the elective adventure stripes after the rank ones. Because Webelos and Arrow of Light share a set of elective adventures, put the two rank stripes next to each other, followed by the elective stripes.

Finally, add the award stripes closest to the arrowhead.

Until about 2020, the Arrow of Light recipients will have participated in both Cub Scout programs. Their career arrow will show this. They should have the gold and silver stripes for arrow points they earned under the previous program and gold stripes for elective adventures completed in the new program.

Each pack (or even each den) can make its own decision about how they want to stripe the Arrow of Light arrows, but I hope these recommendations will be helpful in making that decision.

Yours in Scouting,

P.S.  Here are my favorite Arrow of Light ceremonies.  Click on over and check out the different ceremonies!


Wednesday 31st of January 2024

We used colored electrical tape for each stripe. The stripes have not come off at all, and it's been 10 years since my son was a Cub Scout. So, I suggest that's a better choice than vinyl stickers.

Great Arrow of Light Arrows: Review of Vince's Arrows - Cub Scout Ideas

Sunday 19th of December 2021

[…] P.P.S. Read about my recommendations for how to stripe the Arrow of Light career arrow. […]

Jeffrey Workman

Monday 23rd of March 2020

I am working on Arrows for our AOL plaque. One Scout added a Lion Cerification. WHAT COLOR DO I USE FOR THE LION? The Lion is Yellow.. but with the new 2020 colors.. that's the same color as AOL. I guess I will use a real light lemon yellow for Lion, then use a gold yellow... (tone it down with a little Tiger Orange) for the AOL segment. My suggestion is: let Lions have the yellow... use a different color.. a special color for AOL, maybe a metallic bronze or copper.. (all my electives are gold).

Sherry Smothermon-Short

Tuesday 24th of March 2020

I like the idea of using bronze or copper for AoL and use yellow for Lions! Thanks for the suggestion!


Thursday 5th of March 2020

Thank you so much for this guide! I opted for the white “extra adventures” bands and I altered the awards section slightly but I think they turned out really well. I used embroidery floss and each arrow probably took me about 2 hours to do start to finish.

Here’s a link to a picture of the finished arrows:

I used the following color scheme: Black - Bobcat Orange - Tiger Rank White - Extra Adventures Scarlet Red - Wolf Rank Light Blue - Bear Rank Forest Green - Webelos Rank Lime Green - Arrow of Light Rank Yellow- NOVA/STEM Awards Royal Blue - Outdoor Activity Awards Gold - Summertime Pack Awards Maroon - National Park Scout Junior Ranger Award Purple - Religious Knot Bronze - World Conservation Award Navy Blue - Cyber Chip Brown - Shooting Sports Awards Silver - Whittling Chip

Jeffrey Workman

Monday 23rd of March 2020

if I used all the awards you listed.. I would need 2 arrows.. at 1/4" each segment. We need to add Lion color also.

Top 10 Arrow of Light Ceremonies for Cub Scouts | Cub Scout Ideas

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

[…] You may want to add colorful stripes to the Arrow of Light career arrow. Here are my recommendations for the Arrow of Light arrow striping.</div> […]