It is a tradition in the Greek community to decorate a paddle for your big brother or sister. Most little bothers or sisters make a standard size paddle that is 3o inches long. Greek stores and websites carry these paddles with traditional handles and handles in the shape of an organization’s letters, symbol or mascot.
A year ago I decorated a paddle for my big sister, who also requested this quatrefoil top.
Before you head out to the Greek store or order your supplies online, ask your big a few questions:
1. What shape top does he/she want?
2. Does he/she want a picture and frame on the paddle? If so, a square- or quatrefoil-shaped frame? Is there a specific picture they want?
3. Are there any traditional symbols, colors, etc. your family line uses on paddles?
4. Does your big want his/her paddle to represent a certain theme, show, movie, character, animal, etc.?
5. What are your big’s favorite colors?
7. Does your big want your organization’s crest, mascot, symbol, colors, etc. on the paddle?
Before I bought anything for my big’s paddle, I sketched out a paddle on a plain sheet of printer paper and planned out how I was going to decorate it. My big is obsessed with glitter and rhinestones, pictures are a family tradition and blue is one of her favorite colors.
If your big is vague on what they want or you feel completely lost, consult older brothers/sisters and Pinterest. Pinterest is the mecca of crafting and has boards on boards on boards filled with paddle ideas.
Buying your paddle, wooden letters and symbols at a store is advantageous because you can plan out how you want to set everything up and see what you have room for before you go crazy buying anything and everything you think should go on the paddle. Remember: less is more, especially if you plan on using busy patterns or a lot of different colors.
After you’ve gathered all of your wood pieces and have decided on how you want to decorate it, head out to Walmart or a craft store such as Michaels to pick up wood primer, mod podge, foam paint brushes, acrylic paint, and any other flowers, patterned papers, ribbons, bows, etc. you plan to use.
Once you have everything you need, take the paddle and wood pieces outside and prime them, following the directions on your can of primer. It’ll take several hours for it all to dry, so make sure to choose a location where your items will not get moved, stolen or wet. After the primer is dry you are free to paint and embellish to your big’s taste.
I chose to paint my big’s paddle a solid metallic dark blue and used mod podge and her favorite Vera Bradley pattern to decorate the back once the paint was dry. I used silver glitter in the indented part of the sides and on the quatrefoil front. All of the letters and frame were painted a metallic gray except a phi and a mu; and then the frame and three tiny stars were also covered in glitter. After attaching the wooden pieces, I used mod podge to adhere rhinestones all around the outside of the paddle and on the front, spacing them farther apart as I worked my way down the paddle.
Be sure to seal your paddle with liquid or spray mod podge after you are finished to ensure that it stays looking brand new for years to come!