When Spirit Week comes around, who better to lead the trends than cheerleaders? If you’re looking for all-out style on a budget, have the DIY bug, or are simply looking for a way to get pumped for Spirit Week with your squad (Make Your Own Spirit Swag party, anyone?), here are some crafty spins on classic Spirit Week themes. Patriotic Day: Ribbon Hair Elastics Difficulty: Easy Cost: $ Time: 10 minutes If your theme of the day is Red, White, and Blue, incorporate patriotism the cheer way: with homemade ribbon elastics! For this project, you’ll need a hair elastic, scissors, and one or more spools of ribbon from your local craft store. If you want to make a “fluffier ” elastic, use .5- to 1.5inch ribbons in red, white, and blue, perhaps with a lacy or otherwise decorative style. Cut a 2-foot strip of each color ribbon, then tie the three of them around the elastic together (that is: one knot, not three ribbons tied individually). Bunch up each of the “tails ” a few times to form the loops of the bow, so that you’ll have 6 loops (2 of each color) on either side of the knot. Hold all the loops in your hands and tie a bow. You’ll have a burst of loops and tails that will fluff out around your ponytail. If you want extra security, add a dot of hot glue to the initial knot before you tie your bow over it. Be sure to handle hot glue guns carefully, or with parent supervision, and allow the elastic to cool properly before wearing. If you want to use ribbons that will hold their shape, or decorated ribbons (such as blue with white stars, or flag-patterned), .5- to 1.5-inch ribbons have more structure and will show off the designs better than narrower ones. For the true “cheer bow ” look, go for a 2-inch or larger ribbon. Cut a 2-foot strip of ribbon and knot it around the elastic at about the midpoint. Tie a bow on top of it. For added security, add a dot of hot glue to the initial knot before you tie your bow around it. For the “cheer bow ” size, fluff up the ribbon and spritz it with a little hairspray to help it stand up. Let it dry before wearing. Team Spirit Day: Spelling Shirts Difficulty: Medium Cost: $-$$ Time: 1 hour Your Spirit Week may include a Team Day, where everyone wears clothing reflecting collegiate or professional sports’ teams, or School Spirit Day, where everyone wears clothing in your own school’s colors. What better way to celebrate a team day than with your squad? Get everyone together and spell out your spirit! Invite your squad to participate in a group spirit activity. Take a team trip to the craft store for tee shirts in your team’s color (preferably the darker color; for example, if your school colors are blue and white, get blue shirts) and decorations. How you decorate your shirts is up to you: fabric paint, rhinestones and hot glue, sewing on patches‚ the sky is the limit! Everyone gets a letter, and you can spell out your team’s formal name and/or mascot. A bigger squad can spell out “Rancho Carne Toros, ” while a medium-sized squad might only have enough members to spell out “Rancho Carne, ” and a small squad may go for “Toros. ” If you need a few extra letters to fit everyone, you can add “Go ” before your mascot, or exclamation points after. Pajama Day: An Old-Timey Night Cap Difficulty: Medium-Difficult (requires sewing) Cost: $$ Time: 1 hour Pajama Day is all about the comfy tees and baggy pants, but it’s not always easy to integrate school spirit with your pjs. For a fun accessory that can incorporate school colors and/or mascots, make an old-timey nightcap‚ complete with pompom, of course. Local craft stores often carry squares of pre-cut fabric, about 1.5yard. Pick out a solid-color square in your school’s color (or maybe a patterned fabric that includes your mascot, like lions or sharks), a pompom in another school color or a complimentary color (sparkles are always good!), and thread that matches both colors. You’ll also need a pair of scissors sharp enough to cut through fabric, a ruler, an iron, sewing pins, and tailor’s chalk. If you have a sewing machine, that’s great, but it’s a simple enough project to stitch by hand. Start off by ironing out your fabric square, since it will have tons of folds in it when you first unwrap it from its packaging. You can measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure or just hold up the fabric to test it and make sure that the square will wrap all the way around. Once you’ve confirmed, fold the fabric in half, with the “inside ” side of the fabric facing out, and iron it so that the fold is a nice, even crease. Pin all the way around the fabric, including along the crease, to keep the two sides of your fold together. The pins should run parallel to the edge of the fabric and be no more than .5-inch from the edge. Lay down your ruler to connect from about the middle of the open side parallel to the crease, up to the point of the crease. Draw a line along the ruler using the tailor’s chalk, then pin the fabric below the line. Cut along the chalk line. You can remove the pins from the smaller scrap piece and set that extra fabric aside. We now have the fold, the bottom, and the outer angle (the flat side and the diagonal cut together). Shift the pins along the outer angle so that they are perpendicular to the edge of the fabric instead of parallel. Sew the outer angle shut with a .5-inch seam, either by sewing machine or by hand. When you are finished, press the seam. First you will open the .5-inch seam and iron it flat against the fabric, and then you will close the seam and iron it closed to one side. This will help the seam to lay flat inside your hat. For additional security, you can sew a zigzag stitch along the raw edge of the seam. You now have a triangular piece that can open up into a cone shape. The bottom opening needs a little neatening up before you can wear your hat. Keep the hat inside out, and fold the very bottom of the hat in, so that you have a 1-inch cuff of the “outside ” fabric. Measure to make sure it is 1 inch and pin the cuff to the hat all the way around, then iron it so that you have a nice crease at the opening. Unpin the cuff and fold it in half, tucking the raw edge into the ironed crease. Iron along this new top crease and pin perpendicularly all the way around. Sew this top seam to the hat. This will hide the raw edge of the fabric, which can fray and tear, and gives your cap a finished look. Turn your cap inside-out. You should now have a finished hat, and all that’s left to add is the pompom. Pin it to the tip of the cap and hand-stitch it from the inside out. Put your needle through the fabric from inside the cap, stitch through the pompom, bring your needle back through the fabric and inside your cap, and stitch around. Once you feel your pompom is secure, knot your thread and cut off any excess. If you feel like being extra fancy, you can add additional embellishments to the cap, but otherwise, you are ready for Pajama Day (and a long winter’s nap)! And finally… If these ideas all sound just a little too complex, we’ve got an alternative for our less crafty inclined readers: take a pre-made bow and make it your own! We recommend something like this football cheer bow, which has a heart shaped football pin in the middle, while still leaving a lot of room for creativity. I Heart Football Hair Bow Perfect for all the puffy paint lovers out there, this football bow is a perfect team bonding activity before the season starts. Cover it in initials, your favorite player’s number, or other glue-on buttons you can find at your local craft store. Any crafty plans for Spirit Week? Be sure to share your tips and tricks!