It’s great fun to make your own Homecoming Mum. You can also save a TON of money if you know how to make your own. Homecoming mums can get outrageous, but they can also be pretty and lots of fun! If you have struggled with putting your own Homecoming mum together, or have ever wondered why some mums are prettier than others, than this tutorial is for you! I share all my tips I’ve learned making real flower corsages and making Homecoming mums for my daughters.
Homecoming mums! They’re a fun Homecoming football game tradition! If you’ve never seen a Homecoming mum before, they’re mainly in Texas. I hope to write a post sometime about the great history of Homecoming mums. Our family has been a part of this Texas tradition, starting with my grandmother wearing football mum flowers, when she attended football games at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950’s, all the way to my daughters in the 2010s!
I had fun making the Homecoming Mums for my daughter’s, and I hope you have fun too!
I’ll apologize for the photos below not being “picture perfect.” Many of the blogs you see on the internet, that look like they’re done with just one person, are actually a team. As it is, this post took me hours and hours. Only lately, has my blog barely maintained itself in affiliate income when it comes to cost. I’ve delayed posting it for years, because – well, hours and hours! So I simply didn’t have the time to edit the photos further. You should be able to zoom in for a closer look when you need to. And I want to get this up before I forget how to make these. I hope you have fun making your own Homecoming Mum.
Directions, steps, and photos to make your own High School Homecoming mum
We used two different types of braids in this mum. The post The Best Homecoming Mum Braid Tutorials covers the tutorials we used to get instructions to make the braids, and be sure to check out my beginners tips for making the Homecoming ribbon braids.
Tools to make your own Homecoming mum
- Stapler – long arm stapler works best
- Masking Tape
- Low temperature Hot Glue Gun
Supplies to DIY Homecoming mum
- 3 cardboard rounds
- Silk football mum flower
- 40 streamers of regular ribbon, acetate ribbon works best – 18-36” long each, about 30 yards ribbon, in the school colors
- Fancy ribbon and streamers – lace, wired metallic ribbon, foil ribbon, printed school spirit ribbon
- Metallic stickers – letters and football and other sports, or spirit symbols
- Charms – plastic charms or lightweight bells, or see below for other ideas
- Large safety pins – to attach the mum to the wearer’s shirt
Cardboard rounds – 3 – Homecoming mum supplies
- You can purchase the cardboard rounds, but they’re price is exorbitant compared to what they are.
- You can make your own from scrap cardboard or cheap poster board. I say cheap, because you don’t want it too sturdy – that adds weight and is also difficult to staple into.
- If you make your own, or purchase them, you want two of the rounds roughly the diameter of the mum flower. The first of these rounds, Round 1, is going to be the round that you’re going to attach most of the streamers to. The second round, Round 2, will go on the back to cover any rough staples.
- The third round, Round 3, will be the “mum collar” cardboard. This will go directly behind the mum flower after you put the ribbons around the edge of it. Even you purchase the rounds, you will have to trim this one.
- Cut the mum collar cardboard round, Round 3 a little smaller than the flower.
- Then cut across one side of Round 3 to make a flat “base.” This will allow the lower ribbons, the main ribbons on Round 1, to hang more freely and not mashed down as much. This will help keep your Homecoming mum from just looking like a giant prize ribbon.
- Punch a hole in the middle of each cardboard round.
Braids and other fancy ribbons – Homecoming Mum Supplies
- You’ll want some fancier ribbons to really glam up your mum. See Homecoming Mums – How to make a Homecoming mum (with pictures) and save money for ideas for how to find inexpensive fancy ribbons and trims for fancy and metallic streamers.
- We used two different types of braids in this mum. The post The Best Homecoming Mum Braid Tutorials covers the tutorials we used to get instructions to make the braids. Before you start, be sure to check out my beginners tips for making the Homecoming Mum braids. It will save you a lot of frustration!
Homecoming mum Ribbons and Streamers
- Decide on a base color and use the majority of streamers that color. Usually the base color is the darker color and the lighter color is the accent color, usually gold/yellow or white/silver.
- It’s easiest to just cut a bunch of ribbons before you get going, starting with three to five of the same width and same type of ribbon. Cut them at varying lengths. Lay down a yardstick for reference. My daughters are 5’8” and 5’9” and a yard reaches to below their knee, so the longest ribbons were around that long.
- Use metallic stickers to decorate some of the ribbons.
Make your Homecoming Mum collar
- This is going to be the wreath or ribbons around the mum flower
- Use Round 3, which is slightly smaller and flat along the bottom. But you still want to assemble the ribbons in a circle because they will go around the flower.
- Attach loops of ribbon, flat loops or crossed loops, evenly in a circle, around the edge of the Round 3. This will take some experimenting, depending on the ribbon and the size mum flower you have. You will probably want at least 2 layers.
- To position your loops, make sure that they are going to fit around the flower snuggly. Do a couple of loops first held on temporarily with tape, so that you can make adjustments to your loop positions if needed.
- I found using a long-arm stapler to be the easiest and most secure, but you could also use hot glue.
- For this mum, I used poofs of glitter netting first. I stapled these directly to the cardboard.
- Then I added an inside row of crossed loops. For these, I made the crossed loops first, then then stapled them on.
Add streamers to the Homecoming Mum collar
Homecoming mum assembly tip: Use a low temperature hot glue gun. Also, you can press down ribbons you’re gluing with the end of scissors to save your fingers.
- Group some of the shorter streamers and the fancier braids that you want to be prominent together. These hanging ribbons will attach on top of the ribbon collar, right below the flower mum. This will help give the homecoming mum dimension, so that it will look more like ribbons tied to a flower, and less like a giant prize ribbon. My finished group looked like this.
- These are going to be the streamers that are going to be on top. So pick your favorite streamers that you want to be the most visible.
- Add a few plain streamers for color.
- Staple the ribbons together, building up the group in 2s and 3s. This is going to minimize the number of staples you try to get into the base ribbon.
- For this set, I picked a nice, wide ribbon for my center base ribbon to staple the rest of the ribbons to. Angle the ribbons some, but not too much or they will try to defy gravity as they fly out, and then bend and droop.
- Pick up Round 3, the mum collar cardboard round, which its ribbon “wreath” and determine where to add the ribbons straight in the middle of the flat edge of the cardboard “round.” Check the position by holding up the mum flower and seeing how it will look with the mum flower.
- Use hot glue to attach these ribbons to the ribbon collar round. (I’m so glad I said hot glue in the notes I took! Looking at the photos I was wondering if I used glue or staples.) This means the ribbons will have to drape over all the ribbons on the mum collar at the bottom, which will give your mum more dimension, so that it won’t be a flat prize ribbon.
- To this one I added a looped braid made out of thin ribbon on top of the streamers. It will be immediately behind the mum flower. This adds some asymmetry to the Homecoming mum, also helping to avoid that “prize ribbon” look.
- At the very end, after attaching the mum flower, I also added a pinch bow to the bottom of the flower. (See last photo.) This helps your Football Homecoming mum look more like a real flower corsage, reminiscent of the real flower corsages the Homecoming Mums of today evolved from.
Prepare Homecoming mum Round 1 for attachment of the ribbon streamers
- On the hanging streamers round, Round 1, make a mark at the top center so you can keep that pointing up. Or go ahead and attach to center hanging loop to the back of the cardboard round, so that you always hold it up by that. (See directions at the end.)
- Make hanging Loops to attach the mum to clothes with extra-large safety pins. (I used to use corsage pins, but my daughters were on the drill team and had to move around a lot and take their mums on and off. They got poked! Safety pins are, well, safer!)
- To make the loops, take a short length of narrow ribbon and tie a slip not to make a knot at the bottom of a ribbon loop.
- You are going to staple these loops to the BACK of Round 1. You are going to want the loops to extend ABOVE the top of the cardboard round so that you’ll be able to slip the pin in the loop when you pin the mum on. But preferably they will not be long enough to show when wearing the mum, they’ll ben hidden by the mum collar ribbons.
- Put one in the center and then put at least one other loop to either side. You might not use all the loops but this helps make sure you’ll have a loop where you want it.
- When you staple the loops to the Round 1, place the staple just above the knot. This way when you are wearing the mum, any tension from the weight of the mum will pull against the knot. (These get heavy!)
- Some people like to make a large ribbon loop and just hang the loop around their neck. (I think this looks stupid. I still cling to the Homecoming mum real flower corsage roots!)
Assemble the Homecoming Mum Streamers
- Staple the first of the streamers into bunches of 2s and 3s that fan slightly, like you did for the streamers that will hang on the top of the mum collar round. This will decrease the number of staples you need to try to squeeze onto the little cardboard round!
- To the FRONT of Round 1 (hanging loops on the back), staple the bunches of ribbons as close to the bottom edge of Round 1 as you can to start out. As you add more streamers you will have to staple up higher on the round, but don’t go too high. Put longer streamers in the center. Put shorter streamers toward the outside edges. Don’t use an extreme angle, or your streamers won’t be able to defy gravity. They’ll stick out at an odd angle and then bend down.
- As a general rule, you will put the longest streamers at the back and in the center.
- Add in any cords or chains as you go, between the bunches of ribbons.
- As you add more ribbons, you may have to resort to attaching streamers with hot glue. These won’t be as stable as ones attached with staples, another reason to put your longer streamers at the back. Long streamers are more likely to be tugged on as you sit and stand.
- As you work, periodically hold up the streamers to note the balance and fullness. This will get heavy! This is why you need the cardboard rounds. See the end for a Homecoming Mum pinning tip!
- Cut extra pieces of ribbons to fill out areas and balance the color, as needed.
Assemble the Homecoming Mum
- Pop off the back stem end of plastic holder of the silk chrysanthemum football flower. Keep the back.
- Put the flower first through the hole on Round 3, the mum collar. Then put it through the hole on Round 1, and hold it up to see how it will look assembled. Make any needed adjustments, adding streamers, braids, trimming the mum collar cardboard at the bottom to make room for the streamers on Round 1, etc.
- Disassemble the football mum, mum collar, and streamer round.
- Apply low temp hot glue liberally to the center of the mum collar cardboard. Take care to line up the streamers and flat bottom of the mum collar cardboard with the streamers on Round 1, center the holes of the cardboard rounds and carefully press them together.
- Apply low temp hot glue liberally to the back center of the mum flower, put the stem through the center hole of the mum collar, and carefully press the flower down, careful of your fingers and hot glue!
- Hold up your mum and make any adjustments needed.
- One touch I often add at this point is a little pinch bow of narrow ribbon at the base of the football mum. This makes sure the mum is tightly nestled in all of the ribbons and streamers and adds dimension and pleasing asymmetry.
- Pop the plastic based back onto the end of the mum stem. If you can, hot glue this to the back of the cardboard Round 1.
- Hot glue cardboard round 2 to the back of Round 1. This will cover all of the staples and make a nice clean back to help you not snag your clothes.
- Tie on charms (see Homecoming Mums – How to make a Homecoming mum (with pictures) and save money for ideas for charms) and any bells, jingle bells, and trinkets you want to add, such as these gold buttons I found.
Be sure to check out my other posts on Homecoming mums to pick up more ideas, tips, and tricks to make your own homecoming mum.
I hope you enjoy the mum and becoming a part of the great Texas Football Homecoming Mum tradition!