If you are in the market to buy a Homecoming Mum or Garter, here are some guidelines to help "walk" you through the process to make it as easy as possible!
If you are needing to buy supplies to make your own mum or garter - go further down in post - there is also a printable shopping list at bottom. We also now have Free Printable Step by Step Picture instructions for all mum sizes & garters. See details towards bottom of page.
Buying a Homecoming Mum or Garter:
- Find a Mum Maker: The easiest way I have found is to Google Homecoming Mums and the name of the school you need it for. Reason being, most mum makers will list the schools they make mums for so it will give you more local return listings. There are alot of mum makers that ship as well (myself included) so if you google homecoming mums by itself, it will pull up alot of your bigger mum makers. As far as pricing goes, from what I have determined, is that you will make out a little better with mum makers that include most things in their price. If you have to pick out and pay for every single printed ribbon, metallic ribbon, trinket etc, it usually will cost more and they are working with only the items you specifically purchased. I have based this off of other mum makers order forms and added up everything I put on one of my mums and theirs add up to way more. Usually they use the inital low low price to get people in the door but that will be for points, flower and plain streamers and that is it. Remember, cheap doesn't always make it good and expensive doesn't necessarily make it the best - look at their pictures or go see them in person - it gives you a better idea of what they can create and what you will be getting for your money.
- Know what size you need/want: Freshman are a Single, Sophomores are a Double, Juniors are a Triple and Seniors are Quads. HOWEVER, Seniors,, Juniors and Sophomores can all do a single if they prefer and most Seniors tend to go for a Triple or my Super Size Single which is a HUGE single mum. The only thing you don't want to do here is order a double for a freshman, triple for a freshman or sophomore or a Quad for a Freshman, Sophomore or Junior. If you go by that, then you'll be ok. Look at my post, what size? what to buy? to get more specifics on this.
- Figure out your budget: Know what you are willing to spend. There are so many options out there ranging from the most basic of mums to the most elaborate. There is no right or wrong here. Try to remember to be fair. Do not expect to pay $50 for a MEGA mum. It isn't possible, the wholesale cost of supplies alone will far surpass that not to mention the time it takes to make one. Be reasonable and once you know what you are willing to spend, base your selections off of that and you will not be disappointed. But do look at some of their finished product before you decide who to go with and what their exact prices are - you want to make sure you are getting your money's worth too!! It seems if people don't want to put their pricing out there easy to find, then they might have a reason they hide it.
- Ribbons: For Freshman, Sophomore and Junior the mum/garter must be in the school colors. Adding a little bit of accent color (such as purple or zebra etc) is acceptable. Seniors are all white/silver or white/gold (this is where most get an accent color of choice). Be sure to have metallic ribbons and printed ribbons - they really pop and make a huge difference in the end result!!
- Braids: Try to find something that has some braids and loops - these help the mum look fuller. Especially braids like the military, curly q and box braid since they are more 3 dimensional.
- Get a boa: They don't cost alot but look awesome on the mum!!
- Bells are a must: At least have a few on there!!
- Put the name on there: If you are giving this to your date - put both names on there.
- Add the personal touch: If the person plays a sport or is on drill team, cheerleading, etc - have something representing that. If they love something in particular (let's say pigs) then have a little piggy put on there. If they are in band/choir have music notes on there, etc. You get the idea :-)
Buying Supplies to Make Your Own Mum or Garter: Here is a Download Shopping List to help you in the store so you don't forget anything!! Or if you want to save lots of time, money and some sanity, skip the store and check out my deluxe homecoming mum and garter kits just packed full of everything you need to make a complete mum or garter and MUCH cheaper than your local craft store!! AND NOW to help you even more - we have our step by step picture instructions for single, double & triple homecoming mums and homecoming garters FOR FREE!!! On our website MelzMumz.com Make Your Own Mum Kit scroll to very bottom of page and the free instructions are there!
- Backers: You will need at least 3 (I believe 2 come in a pack) and if it is a single mum you will need the 6" round backers, if it is a double mum you will need the oval backers and if it is a triple you will need the heart shaped backers. For single garters you will buy the 4" round backers. I use 3 backers on each mum/garter I make (1 for the top decorated part, 1 for all the hanging ribbons and braids and 1 to finish the back nice and neat). I would recommend buying two packs because you may mess up one of the backers (which happens alot) and this way you wouldn't have to run to store to get another one.
- Flowers: You need however many for the size you are making (1 for single, 2 for double etc.) For mums you want at least a 6 1/2" flower or bigger (I use 7 1/2") and try to find ones that have alot of layers (they look fluffier). 11 layer is the thinest, you want 15 layers or more (I use 21 layer flowers and they make a huge difference). For a garter the smallest size flower I would use is a 4 1/2". Most common is the 5 1/2 flower for a garter but if you want a bigger one then go up to a 6 1/2" (I use the 5 1/2" on my Deluxe and 6 1/2" on my Mega Garters)
- Ribbon: Now this is my personal recommendation. Of course you can go with more or less, this is just what I recommend (I personally use a little more ribbon than this on mine but it's only because I make mine overloaded).
- Solid streamers (school colors for Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors. All white and Silver or Gold for Seniors.)
- #16 Solid Ribbon: This ribbon is 2" wide and will be the base of the mum. For Singles and Doubles I would recommend at least 12 yards of this for the base. You most likely will use some of this around the top of the mum as well which would take another 2 yards and if you use some on a homecoming or name loop - that will take another 3 yards. For a triple or bigger - you will need at least 15 yards or more for the base. For a garters keep the rule of "half" in mind - you will need half the amount of yardage for the base, braids etc. So 6 yards for a garter.
- #9 Solid Ribbon: This ribbon is 1- 5/16" This ribbon helps the mum/garter move and you want to put this on top of the #16 ribbon. Alot of the printed ribbon is in this size. You also will most likely use this size on the top of the mum so I would suggest getting 10 yards of this size in your school colors. Garters do the same on this because you will use more of this size on the base than the mums do.
- #5 Solid Ribbon: This ribbon is 7/8" and is mainly used for braids. I use this for my box braids, diamondback braids and you can do the victory braid with it as well. This is also used around the top alot as well. For braids - for the box braid I use 4 yards of 3 colors to make a 36" braid. If you use it around the top you will need an additional 2 to 3 yards.
- #3 Solid Ribbon: This ribbon is 5/8" and is mainly used for braids. I use this for my military, victory, whip, sometimes for a box braid, and my curly q braid. Military takes 4 yards of 2 colors, victory takes 1 yard of 4 colors and box takes 4 yards of 3 colors.
- Printed Ribbons: I suggest getting anywhere from 4 to 15 - this will be your personal preference. I put alot of printed ribbons on mine but I like the way they look. Breaks up the solid color.
- Metallic Ribbons: These are important. They add the sparkle to the mum the most. There of course is the solid mylar which I use in all of my braids (substitute it for one of the solid colors and mix solid with the mylar). Most popular is the honeycomb which you can use to hang trinkets from too. Ice Crunch is great - it really catches the light and I use it and the honeycomb ribbon on my homecoming/name loops and around the top of the mum. If you are wanting to use honeycomb or ice crunch on a homecoming/name loop you will need at least 3 yards continuous for this and if you want to use it around the top you will need 2 yards continuous.
- Clear Ribbons: I love the clear ribbons because the metallic printing on them really pops but they aren't necessary. Personally I try to put 2 or 3 on all my mums/garters.
- Silk or Specialty Ribbons: I use these on all of my Mega Mums. You will have to venture off the homecoming isle to the Christmas or Ribbon isle to find unique wired ribbons. I use this type for the homecoming loops and around the top of the mum. Also use this for all of my Deluxe mums for the top of the mum and bows.
- Bows: I put this here as a reminder that if you are wanting to bows on stuff be sure to get extra ribbon for that.
- Neck Ribbon: This will most likely be over by the wedding stuff or ribbon isles but try to look for a spool of soft silky ribbon to use to tie around the neck. If you are pinning it on then just a little piece of your satin acetate and you will be fine.
- Solid streamers (school colors for Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors. All white and Silver or Gold for Seniors.)
- Trinkets, Garland and Bells: So now go back to the main homecoming isle and start your search. First find the section of the colors you need and start picking. You can get however many you want and this is just picking what you like. Be sure to get at least one package of garland. Don't forget your cowbells - many sizes here so find what you like and if you move over to the crafting isles you will usually find jingle bells here. Now if you aren't making your own braids - then be sure to pick up a couple of those too.
- Bear: Get a bear for the mum - whichever size you prefer. If you don't want a bear then be thinking about what else you are going to put as the centerpiece.
- If you are making a garter DON'T FORGET YOUR GARTER - these are usually hanging by trinkets, etc.
- Extras: Go pick up some rhinestones or venture over to Christmas isle - lots of fun things here - this is where you will pick up neat little items to put on your mum. Find you a boa or feathers over on the crafting isles. Rhinestones and charms in the jewelry section. Fabric if you are going to dress your bear, etc.
- Glue, Scissors and Staples: Don't forget these - you will get home and say "well now how the heck am I supposed to put this together"??!!! For most sizes, one bag of glue should be plenty. I know most people have scissors in their home, however if you don't have a sharp pair you might want to invest in a new good pair of scissors so you don't snag your ribbon when you are cutting it.
And don't forget all my tutorials!!
NOW FOR FREE - our step by step picture tutorials for Single, Double & Triple Homecoming Mums and Homecoming Garters!!
Visit our site MelzMumz.com Make Your Own Homecoming Mum page and scroll to very bottom of page and printable instructions are there - for FREE!!
Hope this helps a little and HAPPY MUM SHOPPING!!!