Step-by-step Instructions to Make Spirit Sticks for Cheerleading

How to Make Spirit Sticks for Cheerleading
Spirit sticks are used for dual purposes, one, as a tool to instill team spirit in the team, and to encourage the team to portray their best performance, and two, as a recognition of the team that has been able to portray the best team spirit. In this CraftCue post, we will provide you with the instructions of how to make these spirit sticks on your own.
CraftCue Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Tip
For sticks that will be made in bulk, use material that is cheap and easy-to-obtain; and for sticks that are being made for a singular and exclusive purpose, you can experiment with slightly expensive or special material.
When sports teams enter any sporting event, not only does the team's performance count, but the accompanying factors count as well―in the sense that, while the team's performance is of utmost importance, the team's spirit is equally so. The support and team spirit that the supporters, mascots, and cheerleaders portray, determines, to a large extent, the way in which a team will fare. If the support system goes all out in terms of cheers and chants, dances and moves, and display banners, it helps to encourage their team to do their best, it instills confidence and responsibility in them, and in that way takes them closer to victory.

The tools that are used for instilling team spirit range from pom-poms, to spirit drums, to banners, and each of them has an important role to play in this whole exercise. In the same vein, spirit sticks are also used for encouraging the teams. Spirit sticks, as the name suggests, are sticks which embody the spirit, unity, and the cooperation of the team and the student body. These batons serve a dual purpose―they are used as a symbol to recognize the unbeaten spirit of a team, and sometimes, as general means of encouragement. Usually, the judges present the stick to the most spirited team at the end of an event, a tradition that has continued since the early '50s.

While these sticks are available in stores, most teams prefer to make them on their own as a project to encourage team spirit, as well as a chance to decorate them in their team colors.
History of the Spirit Stick
The spirit stick as a tradition began in the year 1954 at a National Cheerleading Association (NCA) camp. Over the course of the days at the camp, one particular team stood out more than the others―not because they were the best performers, but because their spirit and attitude promoted unity and enthusiasm in the camp. Though their scores were not high enough to land them in the top spot, Lawrence Herkimer (innovator in the field of cheerleading, who invented the 'Herkie' jump) wanted to recognize the team's undying spirit, nonetheless. In order to do this, he cut off a branch from a tree, painted it, and presented it to the team, calling it a 'spirit stick' in honor of their infectious attitude and enthusiasm.
How to Make Cheerleading Spirit Sticks
There are many ways of making spirit sticks, and it largely depends on the purpose that you're looking to make them for. Given below are the varied ways of making the same.
Idea - With an Empty Cardboard Roll
Cardboard roll spirit stick
Things You Will Need

◀ Paper towel rolls/Potato chip cans
◀ Paints
◀ Paintbrushes
◀ Construction paper
◀ Paper towels
◀ Tape
◀ Glue
◀ School emblem/School stickers
◀ Glitter
◀ Crepe paper/Streamers
◀ Beads/Beans/Sand/Gravel/Bells
Directions for Making

◀ Take the empty paper towel roll, or the can and clean it thoroughly with a paper towel.

◀ You can use 2-3 rolls or cans and join them together to make a long spirit stick.

◀ Apply the first coat of paint and keep it upright.

◀ Let it dry for at least 1-1.5 hours.

◀ Next, add another coat of paint so that it looks brighter and sleeker.

◀ There are varied ways by which you can paint the roll―either you use the school colors, or you can use a neutral shade in varied designs.

◀ If you don't want to use paints, you can even use construction paper to decorate the roll.

◀ Once the base is ready, stuff one side shut with a paper towel and then tape it close.

◀ You can stuff the hollow can with beans, gravel, bells, and sand (in little quantities) so that the stick can make some noise when shaken. This also helps to give it some weight.

◀ Once the material has been stuffed in, seal the open side with a paper towel and shut the other side as well.

◀ Decorate the stick further by sticking streamers, crepe paper, glitter, on the same.

◀ You can even stick the school stickers with the emblem of the school on these.
Idea - With a Wooden Stick
Wooden spirit stick
Things You Will Need

◀ Small tree branch/Wooden dowel
◀ Sandpaper
◀ Paints
◀ Paintbrushes
◀ Construction paper
◀ Tape
◀ Glue
◀ School emblem/School stickers
◀ Glitter
◀ Crepe paper/Streamers
◀ Bells
Directions for Making

◀ Take a small branch off the tree and cut off the twigs.

◀ Next, use a sandpaper and sand the branch so that it is smoothed off any sharp edges and looks neater.

◀ Or you could use a wooden dowel―these are easily available in the market.

◀ Use a base coat on the stick and let it dry for 1-1.5 hours.

◀ Once it is completely dry, apply a second coat of paint.

◀ If you find that the color is still light, you can add as many coats as you like. Make sure that you allow 1-1.5 hours between each application so that the paint does not smudge.

◀ If you're planning on using construction paper for decorations, you can either use only one layer of base paint or you can skip the paint altogether.

◀ Next, decorate the stick with streamers, crepe paper, and glitter, and stick the school stickers or emblems on it.

◀ To add the sound-inducing quality to the stick, you can add a string of bells and tape these up.
Idea - With a Soda Can
Soda can spirit stick
Things You Will Need

◀ Soda can, empty
◀ Spray paint can
◀ Markers
◀ Construction paper
◀ Paper towel
◀ Tape
◀ Glue
◀ School emblem/School stickers
◀ Glitter
◀ Decoration string
◀ Crepe paper/Streamers
◀ Beads/Beans/Sand/Gravel/Bells
Directions for Making

◀ Wash the soda cans thoroughly and allow them to dry.

◀ Next, use a spray paint and spray over the can to cover up the base.

◀ Use different-colored spray paints to paint different designs onto the can.

◀ Once this is done, you can use a marker to draw different designs on the can―like signatures of all the players or encouraging words.

◀ You can even use construction paper in place of spray paint.

◀ To give a sound-inducing quality to the can, fill the can with beans, sand, gravel, beads, or bells (in little quantities).

◀ Once the material has been filled, seal the opening with a paper towel and tape it close.

◀ Cover the side with construction paper for a sealed pack.

Note:
• Spray paints should not be used by children. Adult supervision is advised.
Idea - Candy-filled Spirit Sticks
Candy filled spirit stick
Things You Will Need

◀ Paper towel rolls/Potato chip cans
◀ Construction paper
◀ Ribbons
◀ Paper towels
◀ Goodies (Lollipop, candy, toys, whistle)
◀ Team stickers
Directions for Making

◀ Take the paper roll and stuff one side with a paper towel.

◀ From the open end, fill in the goodies.

◀ Cover this end with a paper towel as well.

◀ Spread a construction paper on the floor and place the roll with the goodies on it.

◀ Next, roll the paper so that it covers the cardboard roll completely.

◀ Secure the roll by tying a ribbon on both ends.

◀ Stick stickers like 'Go Team' on them.
It is extremely easy to make spirit sticks at home, as is clear from the above ideas. In fact, it can be made into a fun task where everyone joins in to do the craft. What's more, by the end of the task, you will have done something extraordinary to raise the team spirit.