Thursday, November 9, 2017

How to Make a Girl Scout SWAPS Banner

Of course, girls can store the Girl Scout SWAPS that they've collected in a shoebox or plastic bin, and most girls do, which is fine, but frankly, in our house we have more wall space than we have shelf space, and so I thought that SWAPS banners would be a cute decoration for my girls' bedroom, as well as a way to organize and display their SWAPS that didn't mean there was one more plastic bin sitting untouched on a shelf.

I don't do that KonMari thing at all, but I do like our possessions to be actively used and loved!

If you've done any kid crafts, you likely have felt in your stash, and you may very well have an unused dowel hiding out in your garage, or a nice-looking stick in the backyard (after yesterday's all-day/all-night storms, which included me having to hide five young party-goers in the children's bathroom during a tornado warning, complete with their plates of cake because they wouldn't let go of them, we have LOTS of nice-looking sticks in our backyard!), which means that you could very well make this banner today, using supplies that you already own.

That's my favorite kind of project!

To make this Girl Scout SWAPS banner, you will need:

  • felt, any color, dimensions 12"x24": You can cut your felt to any size, of course, and if you're part of a council that's really into SWAPS, or you have several destinations planned where you know there will be SWAPS, you may well want to make yours larger--maybe a lot larger! Our council doesn't offer many SWAPS opportunities, however, so the only chances that my kids have to exchange them are at the yearly Girl Scout overnight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and recently at the Girl Scout National Convention. If the pace doesn't pick up, then this banner will have plenty of room for the rest of their Girl Scout SWAPS.
  • letter stencils: I wanted to use my Cricut to make stencils, but the old version of Cricut Craft Room isn't playing nicely with my newish-to-me computer, so I used some large-format alphabet stickers as stencils instead. I think the letters actually worked out really well!
  • dowel or stick: This should be longer on each side of the felt so that you can use it to hang your banner. I found a 3' dowel in the garage and asked Will, who has earned her Cadette Woodworker badge, to saw it exactly in half for me.
  • sewing supplies. I used a sewing machine, but this would be simple to sew by hand, or even to hot glue.
1. Cut felt to 12"x24", then turn the top edge over by 1" and sew:

I made this channel pretty wide, because at the time I hadn't raided the garage, and I wasn't sure what sort of hanger I'd end up with. Stash PVC pipe was another final contender.

2. Cut letters out of felt:

It was pure happenstance and good luck that the stickers that I found to use as stencils fit perfectly on my banner. Yay!

3. Sew or hot glue the letters to the top of the banner:

Seriously, look how nicely they fit! I used hot glue, and put the top edges of the letters over my stitching line to hide it a little.

4. Add the SWAPS:
Notice the post-Halloween candy in her mouth.
One of the reasons why I wanted this banner was so the kids could organize their SWAPS by event. You could print each event and date on fabric and sew it on, but I just wrote it on cardstock. The day was starting to get away from me, and "done is better than perfect!"

You can see both of my labels on Syd's banner below, and how she's organizing her SWAPS by event. Just what I'd hoped for!

I hung the kids' banners in their room, in a piece of wall real estate exactly the right size for them, and next to the behind-the-door hooks where they keep their Girl Scout uniforms:

You might think that one kid is way more into SWAPS than the other, but I believe the reality is that Will hasn't remembered where she stashed all of her SWAPS yet (probably stuffed somewhere I don't want them, after hearing me prod the kids to clean their dang room already because we're having company).
I like that the items are themed together--hanging from the doorknob is even a washer necklace painted in Girl Scout colors!--and now I consider that entire space to be devoted to Girl Scout decor. I have a postcard-sized portrait of Juliette Gordon Low that I've been looking for a home for, and I'm wondering if I should paint the Girl Scout Law around the door frame (although surely that would also involve repainting that grody nonsense first...) or stencil a quote onto the high part of the wall above the door.

Any suggestions?

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