Big things are happening in our house this year, amongst them, we now have a cheerleader! My sweet, bubbly little Chloe is a part of a brand new tiny cheer squad just added to our gym’s cheer program. She is beyond excited!
One of the first big team-building events was a lock-in. Of course, the tinies weren’t actually locked-in, but did get to come participate in the early events including the announcement of this year’s big-sister/little-sister pairs. We’re new to this and have no clue what we’re doing. I found out 2 days prior to the lock-in that the girls exchanged small, generally hand-made gifts. Add to that some crazy construction work we have going on in our kitchen (can’t wait to share!!!), back to school, and the general craziness that is having an overly-ambitious mother in the house (that’s me, by the way)… let’s just say we had a lot going on.
I wanted a gift that Chloe could “make” (read “assemble” that would be cute and customized. The catch, we didn’t know who her big sister was yet so no personalized-whatever-we-have-laying-around! However, I have to say I’m proud to have pulled this one off in style. Most of the time spent was prep-work and it was a fairly easy project to do.
Have you seen the adorably-expensive Pottery Barn Kids versions?
This was the same basic idea. I remember playing with some of my mother’s old varsity flags when I was younger. There’s something super-classic about them (why don’t we see these any more, danggit?), they are so sporty, and as a bonus, they also remind me of cheerleading megaphones.
They also fit the bill for my tiny cheerleader’s skill level: Can glue & stick things onto other things? CHECK!
- One sheet of stiff felt (the white felt shown below)
- One sheet soft felt (stiff would be okay, red glitter as shown below)
- Fabric glue
- Assorted craft-store stick-ons (we used foam glitter stars & sticky-back rhinestones)
- Ribbon (optional)
Prep work… all done while Chloe was pre-occupied on a play-date!
First, I prepped the base felt. Felt sheets are typically 9 x 12. I measured halfway down one of the shorter sides and made a small mark half-way down at 4.5″. Using a ruler (or straight-edge), I drew a line from the center mark to both the top and bottom corners of the other side. Then, cut those lines leaving a long triangle-shaped flag base. If you want your flag to be more narrow like the old-school ones, you may want to draw your lines and inch or away from the corner. I set my white felt against the red here to better show you the shape. My usual craft area, the kitchen bar, is overtaken by painters at the moment so photos aren’t my usual!
Next I created a template for the word cut-out in Microsoft Word. I tried Photoshop, Illustrator, and even Silhouette Studio, but Word ended up being the easiest to work with oddly enough. I did consider using my trusty Silhouette Cameo, but already exhausted from the kitchen project + back to school life, I didn’t want to try out a new skill (cutting felt) at this moment.
I started by changing my paper size to 9 x 12 since that’s the size of the felt. You can do this by creating a custom size in “Paper Set-Up”. It will probably tell you that your printer isn’t set up for that size, but that won’t matter so you can ignore that warning. Getting the text template was the most difficult part of the project and probably took the longest, but it was worth it for me to have the right look.
Then I crated a triangle ising the “insert shape” feature. In my Word for Mac, it’s in the upper right-hand area.
Next, i rotated the triangle with the tool that pops up when you lover over the green dot. If you have “snap to grid” enabled in your features, it should happily wind up rotated with a straight side perfectly on the left. Another trick is to hold down “Shift” which lets the software know that you want to snap to normal places, like straight up and down.
Once you place, resize, and ingot the triangle (yellow dot), you can create a template for the size of your felt.
I used the word-art feature to create the team name once the triangle template was set. There’s probably a fancy button somewhere, but it’s easier for me to find in Insert > Word Art
I typed the team name “Crush” and changed the font to “Varsity” which I downloaded for free for a previous project. In hind-sight, typing in lower-case to use the non-outlined version would have been much better.
Then I re-sized and “transformed” the text to the cone shape. It’s adjustable, so you can change the angle and size to make it fit your flag template.
Next, I created a new document on regular-sized, printable letter paper and changed the “layout” to “landscape. I copy and pasted the word art from the original document to the new one to make it predictably printable.
Whew! That seriously the most difficult part for me.
Next, I cut out each letter, held it onto the felt (red glitter in our case), and cut each letter out.
It took a while, but it was a perfect quiet activity to distract me from the chaos that is having to move every single thing out of your kitchen for a week +.
There’s something about using ridiculously heavy gold scissors that your kids aren’t allowed to touch for these things!
Once bag from her swimming play-date, my tiny cheerleader had her project all laid out and ready for her (in our fancy “please don’t destroy the whit leather sofa” temporary craft area). I even pre-cut ribbon for the edge so she wouldn’t feel obligated to stress me out over making changes to a project we had to wrap up!
We glued ribbon to the edge. “We” decided that I could place them and she would “press them down”. Love it when we’re on the same page with these things.
She even let me trim the edges to make them pretty. Whew! I love it when the right words come to me, like “hey, how many of those blue stars do we have to use?” since we know “let’s let mommy do this part” is a statement that can only be used sparingly.
“We” placed the letters where they should go and then one-by-one glued them on.
Since we were using “hard to squeeze grown-up glue”, I did the glue and she placed the betters back onto the felt.
Next up, decorating. Chloe placed the blue stars on the white area to decorate. She let me place a few, but this was mostly her job.
Obviously, because I would have been a bit less generous with the quality of stars. Pick your battles, mamas! These were ready-made foam glitter stars found at the craft store. I’m pretty sure she managed to place every single one onto this little flag. Next, we added rhinestones, also on the background.
… until the tiny cheerleader decided that should be everywhere. We settled on everywhere but the ribbon edge.
How did it turn out? I was pretty pleased with this project. It was fun, turned out cute, didn’t cost much, and totally fit the bill!
If you noticed the glitter glue in the early photo, we opted not to use that. The flag wound up busy and sparkly enough without it, so Chloe got to use it for a different project. We did use a bit on the back, but after finding them difficult for her to use, she wrote “Love Chloe” on the back in pencil and I went over it with silver glitter glue.