How to Make Homecoming Garters?

The cost of purchasing homecoming garters can be quite high, so making one can offset the cost considerably. If you’re from the South, especially in Texas, you probably don’t need an explanation for this high school tradition. 

A homecoming garter (or homecoming mum) looks like a huge corsage with ribbons, bells, and trinkets that tell a story about a teenager. 

In the past, a boy would make a hanging mum for his girlfriend and a girl would make a garter for her boyfriend. 

Students wear them now, regardless of whether they are married or not, as part of this tradition that has evolved over the years.

How to Make a Homecoming Garter Mum

The instructions for this mum garter are intended to help you make your own unique mum garter. Every mom is different, just as every teen is different.

Things You Will Need:

  • The cardstock
  • The compass
  • Using scissors
  • It’s a ruler
  • Staple gun
  • Glue gun
  • For steps 2 and 8, you will need 3-1/4 yards of both 1-1/2-inch-wide and 1-inch-wide ribbon in school colors
  • To complete step 3, you will need 1-1/3 yards of ribbon in a school color that is 1-1/2 inches wide
  • A four-inch ball mum in white or school colors
  • Cleaning agent for pipes
  • Pipe cleaner and bead (bead hole must be large enough to thread onto pipe cleaner)
  • A half yard of metallic honeycomb ribbon (also known as punchinello ribbon) with a width of two inches.
  • Letter stickers with a 1-1/2-inch diameter
  • The base ribbon streamers will require approximately 10 yards of assorted ribbon in school colors
  • In school colors and coordinating metallics for assorted trims, approximately 10 yards
  • A total of three to four bells (one-inch cone bells were used in the example).
  • Anklet
  • A few trinkets

Step 1: Make the backers.

Cardstock or lightweight cardboard can be used to cut four circles with a diameter of 4 inches. A good alternative is to recycle cereal boxes or gift boxes.

Step 2: Make the loops.

  1. From the 1-1/2-inch-wide and 1-inch-wide ribbon, cut eight 6-inch lengths.
  2. One thin ribbon should be centered on top of one wide ribbon. The ribbon should be folded in half with the short ends together. The fold should not be creased.
  3. The short ends should be stapled together.
  4. To create eight loops, repeat with the rest of the ribbon.

Step 3: Make the points.

  1. Make eight 6-inch lengths of ribbon from 1-1/2-inch-wide ribbon.
  2. With the back of one ribbon facing you, hold it horizontally.
  3. The short ends should be brought together, rotated, and crossed with the right sides facing you.
  4. Cross the ends and staple them together.
  5. To create eight points, repeat the process with the rest of the ribbon.

Step 4: Finish the Top Backer

Loops should be evenly spaced around one backer circle, and staples should be used to secure them. Ensure that the points overlap and are positioned between the loops. Glue or staple to secure. You have a top backer here.

A loop and a point.

Step 5: Prepare your flower.

  1. The stem of a four-inch ball mum should be removed. It is usually possible to do this by simply pulling the stem from the bottom of the flower.
  2. Beads should be threaded onto chenille pipe cleaners. Twist the pipe cleaner around the longer length after bending it over the bead.
  3. The pipe cleaner should be inserted through the center hole of the flower, from front to back. Make sure the bead is securely embedded inside the petals.
  4. The bead will keep the pipe cleaner from coming loose and prevent the petals from separating.

Step 6: Attach the flower.

  1. Using scissors, a pencil or a wooden skewer, make a small hole in the center of the top backer.
  2. The front of the backer should be glued with hot glue.
  3. Pull the stem of the pipe cleaner through the hole on the front of the backer until the mum sits in the glue. Let the glue cool before preparing the flower.

Step 7: Attach your base ribbon streamers.

  1. Assorted ribbon in your school’s colors should be cut into 18- to 24-inch lengths. In general, 15 ribbons will make a nice, full base, but you can attach as many as you like.
  2. Staple one end of each streamer along a five-inch length on the edge of a second backer. Attach the base streamers.:

Step 8: Make a homecoming loop streamer.

  1. Repeat step 2 by making 11 loops.
  2. Select a 2-inch-wide metallic honeycomb ribbon that matches your school’s colors and cut it into an 18-inch length.
  3. At the bottom of the metallic streamer, place a loop on top of the streamer with the stapled end facing up.
  4. The stapled end of the loop should be one inch above the bottom of the streamer. Attach with a staple.
  5. Place the top of the next loop 1 1/2 inches above the first loop.
  6. Attach the loop to the streamer with a staple.
  7. Continue looping until all loops have been completed.
  8. Attach an “H” sticker starting from the second loop from the top. Using the streamer, continue spelling out “HOMECOMING” down its length.

Step 9: Customize with additional embellishments.

  1. The homecoming loop streamer should be placed in the center of the ribbon streamers. The top of the streamer should be stapled to the backer.
  2. Make an assortment of trims in your school’s colors and coordinating metallics. They can be as short as you like, but they should not be longer than your longest base ribbon. Some ideas include curling ribbon, wire garland, Christmas tree garland, and feather boas.
  3. Ribbon ends should be tied with bells at random. For a really big festive sound, you could always add more than three or four bells.
  4. Add your name, school mascot, grade or year to ribbons with letter stickers if you wish. Add trinkets to the ribbons, as well as loops and streamers for the homecoming party.

Step 10: Attach the top backer to the second backer.

  1. Pierce a small hole through the center of the second backer using the tip of scissors, a pencil or a wooden skewer.
  2. Apply hot glue to the back of the top backer.
  3. Insert the pipe cleaner stem through the second backer from the front to the back. Pull the stem through and press the backers together. Allow the glue to cool. If you need to, you can secure with additional staples.
  4. Cut the end of the pipe cleaner to approximately two inches. Bend over and hot glue to the back of the second backer.

Step 11: Attach the garter.

  1. Place the mum face down on your work surface.
  2. The backer should be glued horizontally down the center.
  3. Your garter should be placed over the glue. Allow the glue to cool.
  4. Apply hot glue all over the back of the backer. Slip the third backer through the garter and attach to the second backer. Half of the garter will be sandwiched between the backers. Allow the glue to dry. For more stability, add additional staples around the edge of the backer through all layers.
  5. Hot glue an additional backer to the back of the last one to cover up the staples for a cleaner appearance.Attaching the garter

Step 12: Decorate the flower.

Add trinkets or small stuffed animals to the flower petals with hot glue.

Making Your Garter Into a Hanging Mum

In recent years, cheerleaders have also started wearing garters on their legs, at the thigh, so they can cheer and move around freely during the day and at the game. Garters are typically worn on the arm of the boys, but some cheerleaders have also worn them at the thigh of their legs. 

The other girls usually wear garters from ribbons around their necks or pin them to their shirts if a garter is not needed.

  • Allow the ends of a soft ribbon to fall over your chest as you wrap it around your neck. Four inches should be added to the length to accommodate the ends sandwiched between the backers. It is important to keep in mind that the ribbon must fit over the head.
  • Before adding your loops or points, space the ribbon ends approximately two inches apart on the back of the top backer and above it. Attach the ribbon ends to the backer with hot glue and staples.

Tips and Suggestions for Homecoming Mums for Guys and Girls

It is not unusual for students and parents to hunt and gather special items for their mothers throughout the year. There are lots of unique items and ideas available, but if you wait until the last minute, you may be exhausted trying to find them all. 

The following tips and suggestions will help motivate you along the way.

  • When the garter is worn on the arm, the streamers will hang approximately six inches above the floor. While standing, the streamers will hang approximately six inches above the floor if worn on the thigh. During construction, modify the length of the streamers and streamer embellishments.
  • Trims can be used as embellishments in so many ways. Craft stores and discount craft supply stores offer novelty printed ribbons with football themes all year long and during the football season.
  • The curling ribbon adds a lot of volume to a mum and is inexpensive.
  • There are several widths of tulle ribbon available for blending streamers together.
  • At craft stores, you can find chains with links to tie trinkets to, or you can check out your local hardware store for small chains by the foot.
  • Feather boas and small novelty trinkets are available in party supply stores.
  • There is a lot of glamour and flare to the tree decorated with Christmas ornaments, tinsel tree garland, and battery-operated twinkle lights.
  • It is easy to insert personal photos into the mum by hanging charm frames from key chains and pins.
  • Shopping at unusual venues shouldn’t be overlooked. Yard sales and thrift stores are great places to find one-of-a-kind embellishments.
  • Many schools have adopted traditions of progressive mums, which add one mum each year, ending with four flowers on the homecoming mum as seniors. You can either staple several backers together to enlarge the base or cut one larger backer for each layer to accommodate more flowers.
  • Each year, the same homecoming mum can be used. If embellishments are added, it can be transformed into a hanging scrapbook of the wearer’s high school years.
  • Ribbon streamers can be personalized with glitter pens, letter stickers, and sentiments in assorted sizes.
  • It is also possible to express one’s personality through small stuffed animals. The flowers or streamers can be attached with wire or glue.
  • The mum wrist corsage and mum ring, also known as ringers, are miniature versions of the homecoming mum. Garters can easily be replaced with elastic.

Braid Links

The braided ribbons add another layer of texture to the homecoming mum. Using the same method as the streamers, attach trinkets to the weave. You will learn the basics of weaving beautiful braids in the following tutorials.

  • Using a two-strand braid technique, also known as a military braid, Skip to my Lou refashions a headband. Make a quick braided streamer with her tutorial.
  • These two ribbon braid tutorials from The Artful Crafter will showcase your school colors beautifully. There are two braids: the diamondback braid and the spirit braid.

Homecoming Mum Supplies

A wide variety of mum supplies can be found almost anywhere. Although that is true, accumulating the things you will need does take time. Here are a few places you can shop online or in person to find everything you need.

  • Located in Glen Rose, Texas, L & M Wholesale is a wholesale and mother’s supply store.
  • Located in Balsh Springs, Texas, The Saleplace is the physical location for Monster Spirit.
  • In Spring, Texas, there is a store that specializes in homecoming supplies.

Making Memories

Regardless of what you choose to include on your homecoming mum, there is no wrong way to do it. Make memories as well as enjoy the process.

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