If you don’t live in the South, I’m told that Homecoming mums might be new to you. I wouldn’t know. 🙂 I grew up in the south, so I don’t know any different. In fact, I’ve always thought Homecoming mums were the best part about football!
On the other hand, even when I was in high school, Homecoming mums started getting bigger and bigger, and fancier and heavier. And that was before battery operated lights! And feather boas. Oh, my. And you wouldn’t believe how much those Homecoming mums cost!
You can save a lot of money making your own, and end up with something prettier and unique. With the supplies I bought, if I had only made one mum it would have cost me about $30. Since I made two, my price per mum was considerably less, and I still have supplies left over. One of the money saving tricks is to look all over the craft store for supplies, don’t just stay on the Homecoming mum isle. This is one time I was glad they put Christmas decorations in the stores too early!
These instructions are for what I consider a reasonably sized mum. Any bigger, and it just gets tacky. Too many streamers, and they just start to look like a thick mess. (Okay, I know some of you probably love that. To each his own. Don’t worry, if you happen to be in love with those big ones, just add on to what I did.) Part of the fun, though, is finding little surprises tucked in among the ribbons. I found some really cute charms in the jewelry department of the craft store for that. I also prefer using real flowers, but my girls were fine with silk and also fine with wearing them more than one year, which really saves money! So as a surprise, I’m adding some new charms this year for them to discover among the ribbons.
Money saving tips for Homecoming Mums
- If you make more than one Homecoming mum your savings will really start to kick in. So make one for a friend!
- Buy a fall chrysanthemum bush (on sale if you’re lucky) instead of buying a single bloom from the Homecoming mum supplies. White and gold are usually available at this time of year and will work for many schools.
- Buy ribbon by the spool and check out other areas of the craft store. There’s ribbon on the package wrapping isle and the floral isles. Christmas ribbon is a great place to find gold and silver ribbon on sale this time of year! You can find glitter tulle and lace by the spool on the wedding and fabric sections.
- Don’t pay a whole dollar for a circle of cardboard on the Homecoming Mum supply isle! Cut your own out of an old shirt box, or even an empty cereal box. Just turn the righting to the back.
- Look for trinkets and trim on the mini-Christmas tree decorating isle. The little plastic Homecoming mum trinkets are ridiculously expensive, at 50 cents to two dollars each, they add up in a hurry. This is another great thing to look for on the Christmas isle. You’d be surprised at how many people apparently decorate small Christmas trees with footballs! You can get a whole package of 6-12 for one or two dollars, often on sale. This is where you’ll also find packages of glitter stars in silver or gold. Christmas bead trim is a great substitute for some of the Homecoming mum trim like the plastic gold chains, and often prettier.
- At my craft store, there are usually some type of jewelry making supplies on sale. I found really cute jewelry charms, like rhinestone crowns and a tiny working hour glass!
- Look for glitter stickers and letters on the sale isle of scrapbooking supplies.
Homecoming Mum Supplies, per mum:
- Hot glue gun
- floral wire or other thin wire
- Card board, about as stiff as shirt box cardboard
- 1-2 mum flowers, depending on size and petal density
- 15 – 20 yards of ribbon, probably about 4 spools (see below)
- 2 yards of 1 inch wide ribbon printed in the school colors from the Homecoming mum supply isle
- 3 yards Christmas tree trim or beaded garland
- 1 small cowbell
- 3 jingle bells
- 3 Christmas mini-ornament stars
- 1-2 jewelry charms
- 1-2 football Christmas ornaments
- 1-2 corsage pins (from the floral isle, or ask at your grocery store floral department)
More tips on the ribbon and streamers for Homecoming Mums
- You’ll need 2-3 yards of ribbon for around the mum and 12-15 yards for the streamers.
- For the ribbons, look at the type they sell with the school name printed on it on the Homecoming mum supply isle. That’s the kind you want to buy for the base ribbon on the Homecoming mum — kind of a woven ribbon that’s got a little stiffness. Some of my spools say “craft ribbon” on them. You can find this ribbon in the floral department of craft stores and sometimes on the package wrapping isle.
- Ribbon that’s wired with a very thin flexible wire will work well too. You can also use satin ribbon, but it will be more expensive and not as stiff. In the mum shown, there’s also some wired satin piping that I had left over from another project. Christmas ribbon is a great place to look to add sparkle with silver and gold.
- The 1 inch wide ribbon I bought came in 3 yard spools so you’ll want 2 of those. The narrower ribbon came in 30 ft (10 yard spools) so I only needed one spool of 1/2 inch wide and one spool of 1/4 inch wide. Since I was making 2 mums, I could economically buy more colors and widths.
- Instead of buying the expensive plastic chains in Homecoming mum supplies, look in other parts of the store. Check out the Christmas tree trimming isle, which is often at half-price this time of year. From the mini-trim sections I bought gold beaded chains (small balls and octagons). You’ll want 2-3 of these streamers, or 4-9 yards, per Homecoming mum.
Homecoming Mum DIY Directions
- For the mums, I bought a full chrysanthemum bush in gold, on sale in the fall department. For the same price as two flowers from the Homecoming mum supplies, I have enough mums to last our entire high school career! You can just pull the flowers off of the bush. I added a small mum in maroon for added color and design. Tie or wire your mums to each other.
- Make 2-3 pinch bows 3-4 inches wider than your flowers. Tie, wire or hot glue the bows to the back of the flowers.
- Cut two identical circles out of cardboard, smaller than your flowers. (You want these well hidden by your flowers and ribbons.)
- Cut ribbon for about 16 streamers. Lay the streamers out as you cut them so you can see how they’re looking together. For this mum, 6 were 1 inch-wide ribbon, 10 were narrower. The longest was 3 ft long, most were 2 1/2 feet long and shorter, for a 5’7″ girl. My younger daughter had me trim hers.
- I tried tying all the ribbon together for a more natural look, but it just didn’t work, even for these smaller mums. There’s a reason they try to see you the overpriced cardboard circles! It’s too thick, and the best thing is to staple it to the first cardboard circle that you cut out yourself. As you do this, keep holding the circle up so you can see how the streamers will hang.
- Hot glue or staple a 1 inch loop, or two, to the top of the back of the cardboard. You’ll pin through this loop with the corsage pin to pin it to the girl’s shirt. (It works well if you can pin around a strap, like a tank top strap, because even these modest mums are pretty heavy.)
- Hot glue the mums surrounded by ribbons to the front of your streamer cardboard, (making sure you cover up all the messy parts!) This was the hardest part. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of hot glue! You don’t want the flower falling off during the game. I found that adding another small pinch bow at the base of the flowers helped hide all the attachments.
- Hot glue the second cardboard circle to the back of the mum to cover up all the sharp staple ends.
- Tie trinkets and bells to the streamers using narrow ribbon.
And you’re done! Have fun and Go Team!