If you’re looking for a blog about sorority paddle hacks, you’re probably stressing about getting your big’s paddle done in a short amount of time or panicking because you aren’t artistic AT ALL but you’re expected to make a museum-worthy paddle. I think at some point every sorority girl has been there – worrying about making a perfect paddle and dreading the amount of time it will take to get it done. Fear not, designing a paddle doesn’t have to be as hard as you think it will! Here are some of my best paddle hacks that have gotten me through countless craft sessions and made my job a thousand times easier.
1. Use scrapbook paper or wallpaper for a background
If you need to make a paddle with a complicated background design, rather than spend your time painting every detail by hand, just use paper in the design you’re looking for! Head over to your local craft or hardware store to find what you need, and make sure you have modge-podge on hand. To apply the paper, trace the loose shape of your paddle on the back of the paper. Then, apply an even coat of modge-podge to the wood and carefully apply the paper. Smooth out any bumps or ripples while the glue is still wet. When the paper is pressed down firmly, seal it with another coat of sealant on top. Finally, use a nail file to gently file around the edges of the paddle and get rid of excess paper before sealing down the edges of the paper.
2. Spray paint your Greek Wooden Letters
Probably the best time-saving sorority paddle hack there is: spray paint the small wooden letters for your paddle instead of painting each one by hand. Simply take several long strips of double sided tape and stick them to a piece of cardboard. Next, gently stick your wooden letters to the double sided tape. Lay the cardboard down flat so your letters won’t slide off, and take a spray paint in your choice of color and spray the entire board, letters and all. This ensures that each letter gets an even coat of color without having to paint each one individually. Repeat for a more vibrant shade, but be sure to let the paint dry between sprays. Finally, use some spray modge-podge to spray the letters and seal in the color. Once dry, you can remove the letters from the board and glue them on your paddle with wood glue.
3. Use a wet sponge for a perfect ombre paint job
Ombre paint is popular for sorority paddles, but can be difficult to perfect. To get the perfect ombre, paint the sections of your paddle with the desired colors, bringing the edges of each color close together. Make sure to use different brushes for each color so they do not get muddled together. While the paint is still wet, wet a stencil sponge or sea sponge and wring out the excess water. With the damp sponge, blend at the borders of the two paints using short up-and-down motions to achieve a perfectly blended ombre paddle. Once the paint is dry, seal with a layer of modge-podge before adding wooden letters or other add-ons.
4. Print out your paddle design and use it as a stencil
If your big sends you a photo of a paddle that she wants you to make, use this sorority paddle hack to make sure the design is perfect. Take the image you were sent and blow it up to a size large enough to fit on your paddle. Then, print out that enlarged image an cut around the portion of the design that you need to replicate. Use that outline to trace the design on your paddle before adding in details or filling it in with paint or paint pens. If the design has multiple layers to it, cut out the outline to trace, then carefully cut around the inner design to trace that within the outline, and so on until the design has been completely traced.
5. Paint pens and sharpies are your best friend
If your paddle design has a lot of intricate lettering or tiny details on it, use a paint pen instead of a traditional brush. It is much easier to control than a small paint brush and it eliminates the shaky outlines that painting sometimes can give you. Sharpies are also an excellent alternative for clean line work and designs on your paddle. Just make sure to use your sharpies and paint pens before sealing your paddle with modge-podge – if you try to do it after, the ink will rub off in seconds. Be sure to seal your work after it’s done.
6. Use spray sealant to keep the glitter shiny and from flaking off
If you’re using loose glitter on your paddle, it will either look dull and bumpy after it’s painted with sealant, or it will look sparkly for about 3 seconds before shedding everywhere if it isn’t sealed on. Get the best of both worlds by investing in spray modge-podge or another comparable sealant and giving your glitter designs a light misting. The spray is not so concentrated, so it prevents sealed glitter from looking dull, but keeps it stuck where it belongs on your paddle. Just make sure to use an old make-up brush or soft, dry paintbrush to clear any excess glitter flecks off of your paddle before sealing it – otherwise, that glitter will be stuck where it doesn’t belong.
Take it from a seasoned sorority paddle veteran like myself: sorority paddles are no small feat to complete. Hopefully, these sorority paddle hacks make your crafting a bit easier and your paddle as beautiful as a Pinterest post!
Be sure to send us your paddle pics on Instagram @SomethingGreek and check out Something Greek’s Pinterest for more ideas and sorority paddle hacks!