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Tips for Making Great SWAPs

Your troop will be proud to have swaps everyone admires. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good SWAP but you should have a nicely finished craft. Here's a few tips to ensure you have great swaps at your next event.

Choosing the Right Project
Consider your girls age and ability when deciding what swaps to make. A lot of cutting and gluing may be too much for Girl Scout Brownie Bear SwapBrownies. These bear pins can be made in just a minute with no scissors or glue to frustrate
Girl Scout Binoculars Swapyounger girls. 

Juniors who like to craft may prefer a more detailed swap.  These binoculars are made from painted mini spools and pony beads and may be just right for crafty girls. Others may not have the patience to make a Girl Scout Swap Bottle Capsbunch. For those girls, filling bottle caps with beads may be just the right project.

Whatever the project, encourage your girls to take their time and make their swaps neat and presentable.

Use the Right Glue
Make sure your swaps stay together. Don't skimp on the glue. Better quality glue may cost a bit more but all your crafts will come out better and last longer. Swaps take a beating so it is especially important that the glue holds. The Ultimate Craft Glue Girl Scout SwapForget white school glue but tacky glue will work for paper and foam. Try ultimate craft glue for most other projects. Give your girls toothpicks to apply a small amount of glue and one bottle could last you all year. If using hot glue make sure to use a low temp gun for safety. 

Girl Scout Pet Rock SwapFor some projects, glue will never hold well. Hard plastics like this mini plastic pot will not last long with a pin glued to it. We poked a hole in the lid to make sure the pin stayed securely in place with a piece of cord.

Use the Right Pin
Girl Scout Swap No
If you're stringing beads on a pin, make sure you don't use a standard safety pin. Once the shank of the pin is full of beads, it can't be pinned to wear. 

Girl Scout Swap Coiless PinsCoiless pins come in several sizes. You may need to open the pin out a bit to get the beads around the loop but it's easy to do with a large bead:

Smaller beads may not fit around the loop without breaking so make sure to make a sample first.

For larger, heavier SWAPs you might consider a small clothespin. They will hold more securely and look cute clipped to brim of a swap hat.

Don't Forget the Tags
Make sure to include identifying tags for your SWAPs. If Swapping within your service unit, all that is needed is the troop number and perhaps the girls name and age or level. If swapping with girls outside your area make sure it include your city and town. 

Girl Scout Swap TagsTags can be hand written or made on the computer but use card stock instead of paper so they hold up better. You can glue them to the back of the swap or fold and glue them around the pin. 

Make Sure it's Fun!
Most important, don't stress about making swaps. Crafting should be a fun and relaxing experience for you and your girls!