How to Make a Greek Paddle
1) First you’ll need to find out the requirements your fraternity or sorority has for paddles made. Some organizations mandate that certain information be included on your paddle, such as your pledge class, big brother or big sister’s name, your school’s chapter, or emblem. They may also mandate the size of your paddles.
2) Once you determine the requirements for paddles, you’ll want to determine what you want to place on your paddle and how you want to arrange it. How many letters will you need? How much space will you actually have? It helps to draw out a sketch on paper, so you have an idea of how you’d like wooden symbols and other designs placed.
3) When doing the sketch, try to draw it according to scale and use precise measurements. You don’t have to draw it exact to size, but keep the ratio even for everything, noting the size of all letters, etc.
4) Next you’ll need to purchase your supplies. You’ll need a plain wooden paddle first. You can also find paddles that have your organization’s shape in the handle, which are pretty cool. You can also find paddles that have already been painted. Lengths will vary anywhere from 13 inches to 72 inches. Don’t know where to look? Skip the neighborhood craft store. You can find tons of options online.
5) Next you’ll want to purchase wooden letters. It is not recommended that you purchase foam or acrylic letters. Wood is made to last! Hopefully you followed the previous steps and determined approximately how big you want your letters to be. It doesn’t make sense to have a 72-inch paddle with tiny letters. You can find them in a variety of fonts. You can also find words such as “little sis” and “big bro” at select stores.
6) Next look for your organization’s crest or shield. Most stores offer them in one or two sizes. You’ll want to be mindful of this as well. These are typically pre-made, which is great since it saves you time, and helps you in finding the perfect color paint!
7) Next you’ll need to purchase paint and adhesive for your letters. Choose high quality acrylic paint as it’s thick and made to last. Make sure it’s paint designed to work with wood. You’ll still want to use multiple coats when applying it, so be mindful of that. Purchase more than you think you’ll need, and if you have leftovers, you can certainly use it for something else later on, such as painting a photo frame, or giving it to one of your brothers or sisters for their paddle. You’ll also want to purchase glue that is designed to work with wood. Some letters already have adhesive and may not require any glue at all. Be sure to research carefully.
8) Once you have purchased all of your supplies, you’ll want to paint your paddle first. Always wait until your first coat dries before reapplying second and third coats. The same goes for the letters. Do not apply the letters until the paddle and all letters have been painted completely and have dried.
9) Assemble all pieces on your paddle but do not glue anything down yet. You’ll want to make sure everything fits and looks good according to your specifications first. Then, one by one, glue down each piece.
10) Once you have glued the last piece, allow it to dry on a flat surface. Once it has dried, you can pick it up and admire it, or hang it on your wall as a keepsake to cherish forever.