Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Cub Scout Arrow of Light Award Plaque

As I've mentioned previously, I am currently the Cubmaster in my local Cub Scout Pack. This month, we have several boys finishing up their requirements to receive their Arrow of Light award. This is the award that boys can earn just before they "graduate" from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, so it's kind of a big deal.

I knew I wanted to present something special to the boys because the Arrow of Light requires a lot of time and work for these boys. I researched different types of award plaques that I could buy, but due to some budget constraints, I ultimately decided to make my own. And since they turned out so well and cost me so little to make, I wanted to share the process with the world!

Step 1: Purchase Your Supplies

I got my plaques from Hobby Lobby. You can get a wide range of sizes, but I opted for a 16" length x 4" height. The normal price is $5.99, but I bought each of mine separately with a coupon, so I paid under $4 for each.

I also purchased craft paint in navy blue and metallic gold. You could save a few cents by getting a golden yellow paint instead of metallic. I happened to already have metallic paint on hand.

You will also need some sawtooth hangers to attach to the back of the plaques for hanging.

Finally, I splurged on a 4-pack of wooden fleur de lis appliqués. These are $1.99 for 4.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Text

I selected a couple of nice fonts for my plaques and laid out the text in Illustrator. Create an art board the size of your plaque so that you can see the text to scale. The fonts I chose are Impregnable (bold script), Matrix (for the names), and Copperplate (for the smaller text).

After laying out the text, print it. You can either print on a larger sheet of paper so that it will all fit as laid out, or you can rearrange it to fit on a standard sheet, which is what I did.

Step 3: Paint The Plaque & Appliqué

Apply your base paint to the plaque and let it dry. I needed 2-3 coats of navy blue to get solid coverage. I also painted my fleur de lis appliqués gold with a navy accent.

Step 4: Transfer Lettering to Wood

Next you will transfer the lettering to the wooden plaque. To do this, cut around your printed text, then lay the paper on top of your wood. Make sure you're lining it up so the text goes straight across, then use painter's tape to hold the paper in place.

Using a ball-point pen, trace the outline of the lettering, pressing hard to indent into the wood. Do this very carefully so that you don't end up with any stray dents.

Step 5: Paint The Letters

Once you have traced the letters, indenting them into the plaque, painting them is fairly simple. Use a fine tip paint brush in order to get a nice clean line, especially on the smallest letters. This is the most time-consuming step, but it's worth spending the extra time to make sure you're filling in the letters well. Don't worry if you go outside your lines a little bit because you can always touch up the navy blue later on.

For my larger letters, I applied 2 coats of gold paint.

Step 6: Attach The Appliqué

Once all your paint is dry, use wood glue to attach the wooden appliqué to your plaque. Again, make sure you're lining everything up straight.

In the above photo, my appliqué is not yet glued in place. I set it on there while I tried to decide if I wanted a date and a pack number on the plaque as well. Eventually, I decided that I did, so I painted the remaining words before attaching my appliqué.

Step 7: Attach the Sawtooth Hanger

Follow the instructions on your sawtooth hangers to attach one or two to the back of the plaque. I used one hanger on each plaque, but you could place one on each end to make it easier to hang straight.

And you're finished!

Before Pack Meeting, I plan to hang a ceremonial arrow below each plaque so that the award itself is one piece.

{Linked on Seven Thirty Three, Handy Man Crafty Woman, Five Heart Home, Probably Crafting, Wine and Glue, My Girlish Whims, Ginger Snap Crafts, Our Three Peas, Fluster Buster}


  1. This is great! We don't have a little boy yet but when we finally do I would love for him to be in scout's!

    1. Thanks Angie! Scouts can be a lot of fun, but is a lot of work, too!

    2. So true! These are awesome. Love those boys! :)

  2. Krissy-- I too am a blogger and a scout leader. You are right-- it is A LOT OF WORK but I love my boys-- they have become my nephews in my heart!


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