To those on the outside, big/little season might seem a little strange: we spend hours upon hours (and sometimes a good deal of money) crafting and creating the perfect gifts, shirts, canvases, and more — all for someone who happened to joined our organization after we did. However, being a big or little is distinct from a friendship, and very important to Greek life as a whole: it’s among our primary sources of mentorship, friendship, and companionship and defines our place in our chapter. Getting a big means you are entering a family, and getting a little means you are expressing that same gratitude and welcoming someone else as you were welcomed.
That being said, the crafting can be a lot — getting a little is amazing, but it’s difficult to manage making a beautiful homemade basket in very little time and with the least amount of money expenditures. For all you “moms” (AKA bigs) out there, here are some tips for creating the perfect big/little basket while still keeping your sanity:
DO take a thorough inventory before you begin. Before you head on over to Michaels or A.C. Moore, make sure you thoroughly scavenge your house for any materials that may possibly help you. If your parents or guardians live nearby, perhaps ask them to bring over art supplies from their personal storage, or ask your friends if they have any paints, brushes, canvases or cute trinkets they wouldn’t mind parting with. That way, when you do head over to the craft store, you won’t feel the urge to buy everything like you’re starting from scratch. You’ll know exactly what you have and don’t have.
DON’T get panicked if you don’t have too many supplies to begin with; this doesn’t mean you’re going to have to spend hundreds to make the perfect Martha Stewart-esque crafts. Baskets aren’t supposed to be a giant expenditure (even though it may potentially get pricey and people do go overboard!). In theory, you can definitely get away with spending less than $100.
DO Browse Pinterest. Although you were probably going to do this anyway, I would definitely recommend searching big/little crafts on Pinterest because they have some stellar canvas ideas that are fairly easy to copy. I’m not that creative artistically, so it helps me immensely to be able to copy something down instead of generating it myself. Even if you don’t copy the designs exactly, you’ll definitely get some good ideas and have a starting point at the very least.
DON’T try to do every single craft you see. Once you’ve gained some inspiration, try and narrow down your choices to just a few things. Most organizations have guidelines for how much should be in your basket because they want to make things even, so don’t try and do everything. Your little will appreciate whatever you get her!
If you aren’t artistic, DO use glue and paint pens. I know some people are blessed with incredible artistic ability. I’m not one of them. But fear not, you can create a world of beautiful canvases without ever having to paint! Just buy some cement glue, paint pens, and you’re halfway there to creating a masterpiece. For one of my canvases, I got little wooden Greek letters, glued gold foil to them, and then glued the letters to the canvas along with some small fake flowers on the edges. Voila! You can also use paint pens to write your little’s favorite quote or song lyrics on a canvas and add very minor painted details just to spruce things up. No one is expecting a masterpiece, and it’s supposed to look homemade.
DON’T leave everything for the day before. I know sometimes circumstances don’t allow much time for crafting, but try to do a little bit each day leading up to reveal so you aren’t completely overwhelmed the night before. This will only stress you out and take away the fun — it’s supposed to be an exciting thing, not a stressful one!
DO use bleach pens if you want to make a shirt, and use Amazon or Etsy if you want to buy shirts. I made my shirts with bleach pens, as shown below, and it was surprisingly easy and efficient. Just go to Target or any other big retailer and buy Clorox bleach pens, write out the design on your shirt, wait 10 minutes, and wash the bleach off. You’re left with a super cute and simple design that doesn’t break the bank. But if you do choose to go the more elaborate route, Amazon and Etsy both sport some pretty cool shirts.
Happy crafting everyone! And just remember, all your hard work will totally pay off at reveal.