Working within a budget or ‘balling on budget’, as I like to say, can prove to be problematic, especially you’re stuck trying to make ends meet for your kids or your cheer team. You want to give them the best, but sometimes, designer cheer items are just not in the budget. The best way to work around a shoestring budget is to buy the new backpack, jacket, or piece of campwear you want, and then save money on personalization by doing it yourself! Doing some DIY is a perfect way to bring your team together for some quality team-bonding, and it also can save a little cash. Here are some fun ideas you can use with your team to personalize any cheer item.

Backpacks and duffle bags. Usually, teams all have matching bags. However, if you don’t have names embroidered on them, team members might take someone else’s bag home by accident! If embroidering names on the team bags you choose for the season is out of your budget, you can make your own luggage tags. These are not your regular ol’ luggage tags: you can make simple designs on your computer to make all the tags uniform with your team colors and logo, or you can pull out the some construction paper and glitter and have your team make their own designs. Just simply get the tags laminated, add a keychain, maybe a little ribbon or mini bow, and there you go–a simple, but super cute luggage tag!


Campwear. Everyone has Soffe shorts, but maybe you want to add a little something special to make your team stand out at camp. Find a simple design, or use your club or high school initials, get a bunch of rhinestones, some superglue and start gluing away! You can make some really fun designs on shorts, or even on your camp T-shirts!  There are also premade designs available online, and you might be able to find a design within your budget if you stick to shopping at in-stock cheer retailers.

Another option is to use a stencil. Find a design you like online or make you own. Use contact paper too, because it is thicker and will help the paint from bleeding into areas you don’t want it to be. Using an X-ACTO knife, cut out your design. Once your stencil is complete, place the stencil on your garment, and carefully paint your design onto it. Be sure to wait until the paint dries before you peel off the stencil! This is a more time-consuming option, but it is also a lot of fun.


Jackets or sweatshirts. Iron-on decals are always super fun to do, and an easy DIY way to add a little something extra to ordinary warmups. You can find a design, or make your on design from scratch. Load the iron-on transfer paper into your printer, and print out your design. Lay your warmup jacket down flat, place the iron-on decal where you want it, and then iron the design into your garment. Transfer sheets can be found at any local craft store. If you want something a little more professional or fancy, there are pre-made options you can buy at your local craft store, as well. You can also find some patches to sew or iron onto you garments.

Bows. Check inventory of your bows; you probably have a lot, and maybe you have some that have not been used in a long time. Spruce up an old bow by adding glitter, rhinestones, or even paint! You can make a polka-dot pattern, add your initials, or your team names.

Before embarking on any DIY project, be sure to always read the care instructions on your cheer apparel. You do not want to apply heat to a jacket or top that will melt or warp if heat is applied! Also, know that no matter how easy a DIY looks or sounds, there is always a risk that it might not end up exactly how you wanted it. Be sure to do a test run on an old garment that you don’t mind throwing away first. Happy crafting!

What other cheer apparel DIYs have you done? Show us your crafty side in the comments!