Any sorority girl knows that a staple of greek life is the paddle. From big-little reveals to 21st birthdays to tokens of friendship, paddles are the perfect way to display your greek pride and express your sisterly love. We all (or maybe it’s just me) dream of a wall simply covered with cute paddles in every color, pattern, and style. Ever since I pledged, I have been brainstorming ideas and surfing the web for inspiration. My mind is a perfect whirlwind of pastel colors, glitter, and rhinestones ready to craft and create like there’s no tomorrow!
My pledge class is doing a secret paddle exchange for the beginning of fall semester, which finally gives me the opportunity to craft the long-awaited paddle. I decided on a Lilly Pulitzer theme, because what’s more sorority/preppy than Lilly? After a somewhat frantic search for a reasonably priced paddle, I finally found one at Michaels in Plano, Texas. I purchased the rest of my supplies there and also at Hobby Lobby.
I am going to detail exactly how I created my paddle, and I will give extra tips and hints at the end to help you make a paddle of your own!
- Wooden paddle, found at most craft stores. (If you have a greek supply store in your town they usually carry paddles. You can also find them online, but they will likely be more expensive.)
- Wooden letters of your own greek organization. (If your sorority has 3 letters, use smaller size)
- Wooden shape- can be your mascot, something cute like a heart or flower, or a simple shape like a diamond or square
- Acrylic Paint
- Peel and Stick Rhinestones (you can use rhinestones without adhesive, but you will have to glue them on your own- this can be messy)
- Light Pink Ribbon- about 1-1.5 inches thick
- Twine or thin ribbon to hang paddle
- Hot glue gun
1. Take your paddle and remove any stickers or wrapping. If there is a string attached for hanging, remove it as well.
2. Paint one or two layers of white paint over the entire paddle. This will make the colors much brighter and will really make your paddle pop!
3. Paint Lilly Pulitzer design on the front of the paddle. Directions for the pattern below are here.
4. While paddle is drying, paint wooden letters and wooden shape (I used an owl) white. This may take several layers.
5. On your dry letters, place rhinestones as seen below. Glue them on if they are not self-adhering.
6. Once the shape is dry, paint (or cheat and use a vinyl monogram sticker like I did, purchased on Etsy!) a circular monogram in the center of the shape using the dark pink acrylic. You can use this site as a guide to help you. Side note: the monogram should be first, last, middle. So for example Mary Jane Smith would be MSJ.
7. Using the hot glue gun, attach the letters and shape as seen below.
8. Tie a bow around the neck of the paddle using the pink ribbon.
9. Thread twine through hole at top of paddle and tie a knot, creating a small loop.
Congratulations! You’ve created the perfect paddle!
- To make your design last longer, put a thin layer of Mod Podge over the painted paddle BEFORE gluing on the letters.
- You can use pretty patterned paper instead of paint! Just trace the paddle, cut the paper, and Mod Podge! Instructions here.
- Tutorials for other Lilly Patterns: Let’s Cha Cha, Chiquita Bonita, Ugotta Regatta, and many more on the web!
- Use Pinterest for inspiration- there are so many cute ideas for paddles!
- I also recommend using glitter- Who doesn’t love sparkles?
- Create each paddle with the recipient in mind- use her favorite colors, hobbys, and styles to fit her perfectly!
Do you have any hints for the perfect paddle? Comment below!