Make A Thing: Merit Badges

Welcome to yet another installment of Make A Thing where we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Or our cats. Mostly our cats, though…

Header by Rory Midhani

Click here for more Make A Things

Click here for more Make A Things

You know who deserves a merit badge for awesomeness? You do. Being really, really, really ridiculously good looking? You do. Having the cutest laugh in the world? It’s you. Let’s make this official.

Supplies Needed:
+ Light colored cotton fabric
+ Any color felt
+ Something small and round (fish food works perfectly, as does the cap of my honey bottle, but anything around 1″ to 2″ will do the trick)
+ Embroidery floss
+ Fabric markers
+ Safety pin

Level of Difficulty: I was in Girl Scouts when I was younger, except my troop was in the Brownie stage for three years. Three. Years. We never progressed. Instead of actually earning badges, we’d tuck our knees into our t-shirts and waddle around for hours. This is easier than being in Brownies for three years with sore quads.


1. Make a little template to trace on your fabric and felt.

1.5 (Optional step) Fusible interfacing is your friend, if you so choose.

2. Embroider around the entire edge.

3. This isn’t so much a step as a “This is what it will look like”.

4. Bust out those fabric markers and draw whatever you’d like.

5. Use a safety pin to attach it to your shirt or bag or sash, if you’re fancy.

6. Tah dah! This merit badge is for loving merit badges.

Now what are you making merit badges for?

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. When I was first coming out, every time I did something I thought of as stereotypically lesbian, I’d say that I earned that Lesbian Beginner Merit Badge. Examples are: softball, furniture construction, and buying my first pair combat boots. Now that’s its a few years and a few relationships later, I think I need some Lesbian Advanced Merit Badges. Maybe I’ll make some for heartbreak, coming out to my parents, and fisting.

  2. I think we should all make patches and randomly exchange them via some sort of Autostraddle grab bag. I love DIY patches and badges. Thanks for this article, now where my thimbles at?

  3. Not to encourage bad behavior or anything, but when my best friend and I have a pretty ugly night out, we make each other demerit badges and you have just stepped up our game to a whole new level.

  4. As a current (yes, current! When I got my Gold Award, I got a lifetime adult GSUSA membership, because I am the dorkiest dork ever) Girl Scout, I am pretty sure that you are *supposed* to be a Brownie for three years. Daisy for one year, Brownie for three, Junior for 3, Cadet for 3 and Senior for 3. Well, this was back then (ten years ago) — now they apparently have some “Ambassador” designation and I have no idea what that is, but you guys were not backward for three year Brownies (I think you can accelerate if you want to, especially if you are a “Juliette”, but three’s the standard).

    Have I just geeked myself out of the queergirl community forever?

  5. I must say I absolutely LOVE make a thing, and frankly it’s one of the reasons I’ve been makig so many things lately. I would also like to say that that is one BIG piece of fish food… None the less, it turned out beautifully

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