How to Make a Spirit Stick

If you’re looking to make a spirit stick, you’ve come to the right place! A spirit stick is a fantastic way to show your support and enthusiasm for a team or an event. It’s a visual representation of unity and school spirit. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating your very own spirit stick. So, let’s get started!

How to Make a Spirit Stick

What is a Spirit Stick?

A spirit stick is a symbolic item commonly used in schools, cheerleading squads, and sports teams to showcase team spirit and support. It’s usually a long stick that is decorated with various elements, such as ribbons, glitter, beads, and personalized messages. Spirit sticks are often waved, banged, or held up high during games, competitions, or other events to motivate and cheer on the team.

History of the Spirit Stick

In 1945, Lawrence Herkimer, known as the “grandfather of cheerleading,” is credited with creating the first cheerleading spirit stick. Herkimer was a pioneering figure in the cheerleading world, introducing various innovations and establishing key elements of the sport.

During a summer cheer clinic, Herkimer was inspired by the exceptional spirit exhibited by one particular team. These cheerleaders arrived early, stayed late, and enthusiastically supported other teams regardless of the circumstances. Impressed by their unwavering dedication, Herkimer felt that such spirit should be celebrated and recognized by all cheerleaders.

To honor this team’s extraordinary enthusiasm, Herkimer decided to create a special symbol. He took a tree branch, carefully decorated it, and presented it to the team in a small ceremony. This marked the beginning of the spirit stick tradition.

From that point forward, the spirit stick became a symbol of pride, unity, and support within cheerleading. It represented the team or individual that exemplified exceptional spirit and sportsmanship. The spirit stick was often passed from one cheerleading squad to another, acknowledging and encouraging the perpetuation of enthusiasm and camaraderie.

Herkimer’s creation of the spirit stick further enhanced the sense of community and togetherness within the cheerleading world. His efforts in promoting school spirit and recognizing outstanding cheerleading performances have had a lasting impact on the sport. The spirit stick tradition continues to thrive today, fostering team spirit, sportsmanship, and a sense of belonging among cheerleaders and their supporters.

Gathering the Materials

To make a spirit stick, you’ll need to gather a few materials. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • A wooden dowel or a PVC pipe (around 24-30 inches long)
  • Acrylic paints and brushes
  • Glitter, sequins, and beads
  • Ribbons in various colors and textures
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Decorative elements like stickers or foam shapes
  • Inspirational quotes or messages (printed or written on paper)
  • Optional: bells or jingle bells
  • Optional: a handle or grip

Once you have all the materials ready, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Choosing the Theme and Colors

Before you start decorating your spirit stick, think about the theme and colors you want to incorporate. Consider the team or event you’re supporting. You can choose colors that represent your school or organization. If you’re making a spirit stick for a specific sports team, you can select colors associated with that sport.

The theme can be based on the mascot, the team’s name, or a particular event. For example, if your school’s mascot is a lion, you can create a spirit stick with a lion-themed design. Let your creativity flow and choose a theme that resonates with the purpose of your spirit stick.

Preparing the Stick

Start by preparing the wooden dowel or PVC pipe. If necessary, trim the stick to your desired length using a saw or strong scissors. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper to ensure it’s safe to handle. Once you’re satisfied with the stick’s size and smoothness, wipe it clean with a cloth to remove any debris.

Adding Decorative Elements

Now comes the fun part – adding decorative elements to your spirit stick. Using acrylic paints and brushes, paint the stick in the base color of your choice. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Next, use the hot glue gun to attach glitter, sequins, beads, stickers, or foam shapes to the stick. Be creative and experiment with different designs and patterns. You can create stripes, spirals, or even glue on small objects that represent your team or event.

Customizing with Personal Touches

To make your spirit stick unique, personalize it with your own touch. Write or print out inspirational quotes, messages, or the names of team members. Cut them out and attach them to the stick using the hot glue gun. These personal touches will add a special meaning to your spirit stick.

Enhancing with Ribbons and Bells

To enhance the visual appeal of your spirit stick, attach colorful ribbons of varying lengths to the bottom end. Use the hot glue gun to secure them in place. You can choose ribbons in different textures and colors that match your theme or school colors.

If you want to add an auditory element to your spirit stick, attach bells or jingle bells using ribbons or strings. This way, when you wave or move the spirit stick, it will produce a pleasant sound that further adds to the overall spirit and excitement.

Adding Inspirational Quotes or Messages

In addition to personalizing your spirit stick, you can also include inspirational quotes or messages. These can be uplifting phrases, motivational sayings, or even team slogans. Write or print them out and attach them to the stick using glue or tape. These quotes will inspire both the team and the supporters.

Attaching a Handle or Grip

If you prefer a more comfortable grip on your spirit stick, you can attach a handle or grip to the top end. You can use materials like foam, fabric, or even repurpose an old handle from a broken object. Ensure that the handle is securely attached and doesn’t obstruct the overall design of the spirit stick.

Adding Final Touches

Take a step back and assess your spirit stick. Add any final touches that you think will enhance its appearance. This could be additional glitter, decorative elements, or even a clear coat of varnish to protect the paint and make it shine. Once you’re satisfied with the final look, set it aside to dry completely.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully created your very own spirit stick. Now, whenever you attend a game, competition, or any event, you can proudly wave your spirit stick and show your unwavering support. Remember, the spirit stick is not only a visual representation of your team or school spirit but also a symbol of unity and camaraderie. Let it inspire and uplift both the team and the supporters!


  1. Q: Can I make a spirit stick for any occasion?
    • A: Absolutely! Spirit sticks can be made for various occasions like pep rallies, fundraisers, or even as a gift for a fellow supporter.
  2. Q: Are there any safety precautions to keep in mind while making a spirit stick?
    • A: When using sharp tools or hot glue guns, exercise caution and ensure you have adult supervision if needed. Also, avoid attaching any elements that may pose a risk during waving or handling.
  3. Q: Can I use other materials instead of a wooden dowel or PVC pipe?
    • A: Yes, you can experiment with different materials like foam sticks or recycled items, as long as they are sturdy enough to hold the decorations.
  4. Q: How long does it take to make a spirit stick?
    • A: The time required depends on the complexity of your design and the drying time of the materials you use. It can take a few hours or even multiple days, considering paint and glue drying times.
  5. Q: Can I make a spirit stick as a team-building activity?
    • A: Absolutely! Making spirit sticks together can be a fun team-building exercise that fosters collaboration and boosts team spirit.

Remember, the key to a successful spirit stick is letting your creativity shine. Enjoy the process, have fun, and let your spirit stick become a cherished symbol of support and unity.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.