View Full Version : Do you give/decorate paddles?

05-04-2004, 12:02 PM
If you have a pledge kid, or a little, do you give them paddles at their initiation? if so, do you leave the wood as is and just put on the letters or do you paint, gloss, and really go all out on the paddle?
Just curious. I am planning to decorate a paddle for my pledge daughter and am debating wether to paint the wood and gloss it or leave the wood natural but paint the letters and then put the gloss on it.

Any ideas?

05-04-2004, 12:04 PM
Well I liked paddles that are painted, both wood and letters, and have the gloss on top of that. But its up to you.

I have a friend who knows how to put pictures on paddles. There's some kind of transfer paper that makes it so you can put images on the wood itself.

05-04-2004, 12:18 PM
If you use those fake tatoos or arts and craft stores sell larger pictures that work the same way, then go over them with gloss it looks really nice.... I know there was an A phi at my school who did that with Ivy all around her paddle and it looked really cute ! I kinda like to leave the actual paddle wodden, or paint just a little bit of it I don't like the look of it when the whole thing is painted especially if it's one that already has a finish to the wood.

05-04-2004, 12:31 PM
ohh Glitter650, i didnt even think of that idea! i'll have to head over to the arts and crafts store and see what they have...

05-04-2004, 02:27 PM
We do this, and my paddle from my little sister is wood, and it's lacquered. There are letters and words glued on in wooden letters as well, with some cute painted irises and our crest.

05-04-2004, 02:47 PM
ADPi doesn't do paddles any longer, due to its negative connotations to non-greeks.

But I was pre-paddle ban, and mine was stained azure blue. My big sister decoupaged our names, initiation date, and a photo on it. She then lacquered it, and put on of those felt crests that lok like they should be on a blazer on it.

I used to hang it up all the time, until some friends who went to schools without a greek system saw it and one said, "See! I told you sorority was nothing but paddling and pillow fights!"

I took it down that day, and replaced it with our Creed. It says much more about what Alpha Delta Pi means to me!

05-04-2004, 03:12 PM
We do paddles. I have quite a few considering I was only active for three semesters.

We paint both the letters and the paddle itself. One of my sisters is awesome and is able to paint scenes on the paddle. Her lil is one of my pledge sisters and the paddle she got for big/lil paddle exchange is amazing. It's has a tropical scene with a sunset and palm trees on it.

One of my paddles has a picture of my plegde class on it. I think that one is my favorite. It's in the shape of a bear which is our mascot and in the center is the picture.

05-04-2004, 04:24 PM
In our chapter the littles give paddles to their bigs. I would never completely paint the actual paddle, other than stain and maybe lacquer, because I just can't get myself to paint that much over wood grain, the grain just looks so nice to me. Mine I made a combo of the wooden letters, which can be painted or not, and painted on designs of our flower and stuff like that. We also write a note to our big on the back of it.

05-04-2004, 04:29 PM
We switched from paddles to wooden keys my sophomore year (again, due to the negative connotations associated with paddles, but I like the keys better, anyway!)

In my undergrad chapter, most people just stained/laquered them and then glued letters and whatnots and tied a pretty ribbon to hang them from.

In the chapter I advise, they go a little more funky with the paint. Gitter and feathers seem to also be favored decorations, the gaudier, the better.

05-04-2004, 04:53 PM
We also did paddles, but in reverse-- the little sister made her big sister a paddle. The big sister gave her little sister a pillow. :)

~ Mel.

05-04-2004, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by Measi
We also did paddles, but in reverse-- the little sister made her big sister a paddle. The big sister gave her little sister a pillow. :)

~ Mel.

Yep, that's what we do too :)

aephi alum
05-04-2004, 07:02 PM
My local sorority did paddles. We just left the wood as is. Bigs made paddles for their littles and littles made paddles for their bigs. I still have the "paddle" my big gave me (actually a little wooden cut-out with two people holding hands; she put our names on the figures and our letters on the base).

AEPhi doesn't do paddles, but encourages other types of crafty gifts. I made a cross stitch once.

05-04-2004, 07:17 PM
We had a "paddle party" where Bigs AND Littles would make "paddles" for each other. (this would be a week or two before Initiation). Paddles are in quotes because mostly no one actually made paddles-- people would make all sorts of things-- Mirrors, cabinets, one girl made a giganic standing flower-- anything goes. I made a wooden rocking chair for my Big- painted it blue and stuck letters all over. And I put a little teddy bear in it :) it was so cute.

05-04-2004, 07:48 PM
We don't do the paddle thing. I don't know if it ever was a part of what we did, but once a pledge made a paddle, and we have that on our mantel. It's kinda cute, but it really looks out of place among all of our flowers and faces! :)

05-04-2004, 07:49 PM
We don't do paddle, so to say.. we do "plaques." They're in different shapes. In our chapter, Littles make the Big Sis the paddle.

My little made mine in the shape of a turtle. On the front, it has 3 inch Delta and Zeta, and our chapter name. Also, our symbols are on it (she found little wooden cut outs and a big fake jewel for the diamond) Then, ona different piece of wood, she drew the crest. Finally, on the bottom was a plastic pocket type thing with a picture of us in it. The turtle is painted then shilacked (sp?) over. I love it :)

Def. check out craft stores.. you NEVER know what you'll find. :D

05-04-2004, 08:01 PM
I gave my big sister a paddle at initiation. I stained the wood and glued on her name and mine as well as our letters and crest. The more creative people painted and glued things that meant something to them. We all wrote something personal to our big sisters on the back as a way to thank them for all of their help and support.

I always liked the paddles because some of them were creative, unique, and personal gifts. I remember one pledge class used lace, pearls, and unicorns on their paddles. They were really lovely.

05-04-2004, 10:31 PM
My sorority tends to do painted paddles. (We also do little makes the big a paddle, and the big makes the little a pillow. Paddle-making is much more fun. Trust me. LOL.) I don't like unpainted paddles that have all of the stuff like letters, Big Sis/Lil Sis, names, etc. in wooden letters because I personally feel that the look of wood on wood is kinda ugly. That's just me. One of my pledge sisters though was "warned" by our pledge mom that her Big didn't like painted paddles and that she should leave it blank. Our pledge mom really likes horses, so my class painted the paddle as if it was a field with a horse on it. Most people don't go that elaborate though, they just paint the front, back, and rim of the paddle.

05-06-2004, 09:29 AM
In Lambda:
-little gives their big a paddle
-big gives their little a paddle
-Pledge Mistress gets a paddle from the pledge class
-President gets a paddle from the pledge class

This year for my little I made the front of ther paddle look like a letter shirt :) Red satin bg, white satin letter bg, w/black satin letters, all 3 inch. It had the typical pledge year and semester, with our names on it. On the back had the Actives names only with who all were in her pledge class along w/her own lineage. Pretty nifty :)

05-06-2004, 10:07 AM
I still have mine. It's 33 years and some months old!

My dad helped me wood-burn Alpha Gamma Delta, the chapter, and the year on the front. I painted the Alpha ed, the Gamma yellow, and the Delta green. There's a decal of the armorial bearings and a decal of the university seal. My pledge/new member class was small and their signatures are all around the edge of the paddle. The initiated members' signatures are on the back. I covered it all with decoupage medium.

One word of warning: the standard paddle (if it's still the same size) is longer than 17" -- 11 x 17 is the size of copier paper boxes in which I store a lot of stuff. :)

05-06-2004, 10:53 AM
AGDAlum, sounds like your situation is similar to mine -- we made our own paddles, making it something of a contest among the members of the pledge class On the front, I painted FMA, the coat-of arms (not a quick task), and the year. On the back, I painted the pledge pin and our chapter letters, together with my name and my big brother's name. There is decorative red and black trim all around.

It doesn't have any signatures though -- those are on my probate (probationary member) hat, which all the brothers in the chapter signed.

I still have them both and guard them carefully.

05-06-2004, 10:59 AM
In our chapter, littles gave their bigs paddles. Most are the standard size paddles.... although the one I gave my big was more the size of a cutting board! We usually glue letters, small crests, and put the names, pledge class year/semester and whatever else, then write something on the back. I have to find a safe place to keep mine when I move. I have them on display in my current apartment, but they're just not going to work with my new decor.

Bigs give their littles hand-painted shields (on a round, square, etc. piece of wood- plaque-like).... let me tell you, painting that thing is murder, even if you use paint pens! I tended to do most of my freehand paintbrush, then used the paint pens for the outlining and smaller details.

05-06-2004, 11:48 AM
thanks for everyone's suggestions. my pledge daughter likes tie dye hippy stuff so i found this really cool print online in green (her fave color) so i took it to kinkos to get it printed and enlarged and i'm going to cut it out to the shape of the paddle, glue it on, glue our letters (in wood) and paint them in gold. and the glue the wood words for her nickname and paint it in white, and finally glue a pic of me and her and then gloss all of it. when its done, and dry, i'll put up a pic for everyone to see.

05-06-2004, 11:52 AM
We go all out with our paddles.

We carve our paddles into something that represents our big sister. For instance, my big was an avid swimmer so I got her a swimmer paddle. I love pigs so I got a pig paddle. The littles paint the paddle and add some Zeta stuff on there like our letters, family number, names, and chapter. We've had all kinds of paddles such as 5-point crowns, flowers, martini glasses, dogs, cats, white tigers (our local symbol), strawberries, chinese letter symbols, etc.

05-06-2004, 12:45 PM
Our Dean of Intakes gave my line sister and I a paddle after our initiation. However, I do not think Big Sisters giving the little sisters paddles is a tradition in our sorority. I really bonded with my Big Sister/Dean of Intake, and I saw a paddle I would like to get for her. Would it be appropriate to give her the paddle as a "birthday" or "Christmas Gift"?

05-06-2004, 02:12 PM
Originally posted by Iota-girl4life
Our Dean of Intakes gave my line sister and I a paddle after our initiation. However, I do not think Big Sisters giving the little sisters paddles is a tradition in our sorority. I really bonded with my Big Sister/Dean of Intake, and I saw a paddle I would like to get for her. Would it be appropriate to give her the paddle as a "birthday" or "Christmas Gift"?

I think a paddle would be a great present for those - there's really no wrong time to give one! :D

05-06-2004, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by Rio_Kohitsuji
-little gives their big a paddle
-big gives their little a paddle
-Pledge Mistress gets a paddle from the pledge class
-President gets a paddle from the pledge class

pretty much the same- except
-littles only make paddles for their bigs
-and instead of the president getting a paddle- we make a house one thats REALLY big and we have them all over the house along with our composites- we have a paddle from practically every pledge class- its really cool :)

we do them by only painting (with paint pens or something) on them- no glue on letters or anything- its a pain in the butt to do the crest b/c its so intricate... i spent like 2 weeks on my bigs' paddle- but it was worth it- it was voted one of the best:D

05-06-2004, 03:10 PM
I think I already posted on this, but at my chapter of ADPi we make the littles pillows and they makes us plaques. Then we have a Pillow/Plaque ceremony before initiation. Its sooo fun and everyone loves doing it. Some of the plaques are soooo amazing. Some people really go all out on it... All plaques are made out of diamonds cause thats what we call littles and bigs diamond sisters. Ill attach my two from the two littles I took. I think they both did AMAZING jobs on theirs.....


05-09-2004, 03:23 PM
With my pledge class we started doing plaques. I did mine in the shape of an angel...it goes along with family stuff. But, I did make a paddle and give it to my big for Christmas. My first lid'l gave me a paddle and my second lid'l gave me a plaque. The paddle was the original wood finish, but the letters were painted with family colors. My plaque, Heather went all out. It's painted with our favorite colors and sparklized *haha* it's cute.

05-09-2004, 03:47 PM
No, we don't do paddles. Nationally, we are not allowed to, because of the connotations associated with them.

05-10-2004, 06:09 AM
We don't do paddles, either (which, frankly, I was pretty happy about). My big gave me a cross-section of a tree with our family tree burned into it. (It goes right back to the charter sister who started the whole thing, which is kind of nice.) She glued our letters and symbols on it, too. Actually I suspect that her roommate at the time, who was supercrafty and totally made a couple of my pledge gifts, was responsible for the wood-burning, but who knows. I plan to do something similar for my little over the summer, when I have time to indulge my inner Martha Stewart.

05-11-2004, 08:29 PM
Well very early this morning (2:17:37 am to be exact) my pledge daughter became a member of the Zeta Chapter of our fraternity. Her paddles (i think) came out kick ass! the captain wheel is the one her pledge dad did for her, and i did the long one. the name on the paddles is her nickname "Firmeza" which means firm, strong, steadfast.


05-11-2004, 09:05 PM
We don't do paddles, I'm quite sure because of the negative connotations, but we do do wooden arrows. During Arrowdays, each big sis gets an unpainted wooden arrow and decorates the shaft of the arrow with their little sis' name and writes a message on the point. Then, it gets passed around to all the other members of the house at one of our Arrowdays events for the other members to sign, also. They write things like, "Welcome to the house!" and "Contratulations on earning your wings!" to welcome the new members to active life. Everyone who lives in the house hangs their arrow on the wall above their closet for some reason. :) Tradition, I guess.


Front -


Back -


05-12-2004, 01:23 AM
NM's male the paddle, bigs make a pillow. I like the actual paddle to be wood, and if they wnat to paint/color in the letters it's fine. Nail poolish wors well on the letters...it dries quick and isn't messy.

NME gets a paddle, as does the president.
Assistant NME gets a plaque, usally in the shape of a teddy bear.

Tomorrow night I will be reciving my second NME paddle, and I can't wait.

05-12-2004, 10:07 AM
For us, the new members make a paddle for their big sister, and the big sisters usually give them a hoodie or some type of clothing with letters on it. The pledge class also buys/makes their pledge mom and the chapter gifts (the present for the new member director usually fits her hobbies and personality, while the chapter present is more of a useful gift for our room).
I still have the two paddles I got from my littles, and I can't wait to move them into my new home in August! :)