In a fraternity, the men who have been members for a year or more will become mentors to the new members. To celebrate this bond, paddles are exchanged between the "big brothers" and "little brothers."
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Where to shop for materials
In most college towns, there are stores that cater to Greek organizations. There, you can purchase paddles that have already been whittled from wood, along with small, wooden Greek letters and symbols.
Fraternity paddles are traditionally very plain. Whereas sororities will use bright colors, pictures and glitter to decorate theirs, fraternities only use the most basic supplies on their paddles. It is important to have the fraternity's Greek letters, your name and the recipient's name. It is also a good idea to put the name of the "family" that adopted you within the fraternity and the current year, along with "fall," "spring" or "summer." Use the wooden letters to spell out all of the names. These can be secured onto the paddles with wood glue. Because bright colors are not seen on fraternity paddles, it's important to use contrasting wood colors. Dark wood letters on light wood paddles stand out more.
Another final detail to consider is painting over the paddle and letters with a clear lacquer. This gives the paddle a finished look. Because paddles are meant to be hung on a wall, it is not necessary to decorate the back of the paddle.