Stressing over making the perfect paddle for your Big Sister? Don’t, there’s no need! Here are some tips and ideas for how to make the perfect sorority paddle for your sister!

The first step is choosing a paddle!  Wooden paddles vary in shape and size and can be found in most university bookstores, college town bookstores and sometimes in art supply stores such as Michael’s Art and Crafts Store or Hobby Lobby. Here is an example of two basic shaped paddles.

Next, choose a scrapbook piece of paper for the background of the paddle. Anything from flat patterned scrapbook paper to embossed or sparkle encrusted paper works! From here you will trace the paddle on the paper, like a stencil, for a perfect fit. Use any kind of glue from Elmer’s to rubber cement, to adhere the paper to the wood. 

After, wooden letters and other decorations can be added. Wooden greek letters and alphabetical letters can be found at craft stores and bookstores and can be painted to signify your sorority or the name of the person you’re going to give the paddle too. In addition, faux jewels, pearls, buttons or other objects can be used to outline the paddle. This is where you can personalize it and let your creativity spark!


The last finishing touch is to Shellac it. Shellac can be bought once again at a craft supply store. It can be a nerve-racking task, especially the first time but it is quite simple. To set up, raise the paddle off the ground using small cups, such as dixie cups or anything that won’t touch the mixture when it drips off. Next, is the process of mixing the Shellac solution. Use a disposable cup or one that you don’t mind damaging. Pour equal amounts of both mixtures that are included in the Shellacking kit into the cup. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture turns from clear to a creamy color. The mixture might become warm but that is normal. Pour evenly onto the paddle. Let it smooth out itself, and use a tip of a pencil to eliminate any bubbles that may remain. Now, just let it sit for 24 hours until completely hardened.

Add any last finishing personal touches like a ribbon to the top or a note on the back and Voila! Now you have a perfect paddle!

Here are mine and my Big’s paddles below!


Photos credited to,, and