Even if you take really good care of all your darts, Nerf battles can be intense and wear and tear happens. Over time, your Nerf darts will stop performing as well as when they were brand new. You could just throw the worn ones away and buy brand new ones, but most of us aren’t made of money. Nerf darts are especially expensive considering how they are literally little tubes of foam.
A Nerf dart in good shape should fit snugly into the barrel with a somewhat tight feeling. If it slides in too easily, then the dart has become thin, meaning that it has a weaker seal, less pressure behind it, and ultimately will perform at a lower standard. Spent darts tend to lose their range first, so if you notice your shots aren’t flying as far as they used to, your Nerf darts might benefit from reshaping.
Whether they get a little bent, crushed, or just thinned down from being shot dozens of times, reshaping your old Nerf darts can lengthen (or even triple) the useful lifespan of your ammunition. Here is one way to reshape spent darts.
Nerf darts are made from a spongy type of foam called polyurethane. This material has air bubbles which expand in reaction to heat, which is why Nerfers are warned to store their Nerf darts in cool dry places. However, you can utilize this property of the foam to make your crushed down darts become thicker again.
This water reshaping process should work for all types of darts (Elite, Streamline, etc.), as you are just heating and expanding the foam, but you might want to test it out on just one first.
- Decide which Nerf darts need reshaping- one good way to test darts is to load them into the muzzle of a blaster that is externally loaded (like the Maverick or Rough Cut) and see if they fit snugly.
- Separate out the old ones that need reshaping.
- Fill a decently sized pot with water and bring it to a boil on a stovetop.
- Using a pair of metal tongs, carefully dip one dart into the boiling water- But only for 1 or 2 seconds! If you do it for any longer, the foam will expand too much, the air bubbles will rupture, and your dart will become thin and useless. Don’t let the dart touch the side or bottom of the pot either, as it might melt.
- After dipping, put the dart in a paper bag or some other container to dry (a colander, also known as a pasta strainer, works well too). Be careful to not crush or squeeze the dart while it’s still hot, since you’ll deform it again.
- Once the dart is dry, it should be stiff and thick and fly like it did when new. You can reshape your darts using this water method probably 2 or 3 times before they soften too much and need to be retired.
What do you do with old Nerf darts? Have you tried reshaping them before?
Let us know in the comments below!