How do you display your Girlguiding badges?

Camp blanket, cushion, or something else?

20 October 2022

How do you display your badges?

Do you sew them onto a camp blanket, ideal for snuggling up in when away overnight in the great outdoors, or perhaps create a cushion out of badge-covered uniform when you move onto a new section?

Here’s what some members do to display their badges:

‘My blanket is a history of my life,’ says leader Sandra. ‘My Brownie and Guide badges and the international camp where I met my now husband of 25 years. Then onto badges we earned as a Rainbow unit volunteer, then the Guide badges I earned at my Guide unit. There’s Iceland badges from when my daughter was selling as a fundraiser for her trip to Iceland as a Guide.’

Sandra’s blanket has a hole in the middle so she can slip it over her head and make it into a poncho – perfect for extra campfire cosiness. So does Ranger Isobel’s, who was prepared for the cool nights at Wellies and Wristbands with hers.

‘Everly is only two months old but has been put on the waiting list for our local Rainbows since the day she was born,' says leader Rachael from 2nd Falmouth Brownies.

'We have a way to go to fill her blanket but within time I think she will fill it if she follows her guiding history with her paternal and maternal grandmothers being Girlguiding leaders, her grandmother being a Guide and so was both her great aunties and her mum who is a leader and has been in guiding since she was five.’

‘I have lots of badges & love collecting them, having been in guiding since I was a Brownie,’ says Sarah, a leader at 4th Ashtead Guides. ‘I have my Brownie and Guide sashes and am currently on my second camp blanket as the first one got filled up.

‘They're one of my most treasured guiding items as I have a lot of badges from travelling abroad on guiding trips to Switzerland, Poland and Prague that are irreplaceable.’

And how cool is 4th Ashtead Guide’s unit mascot, complete with necker and pin badges?

Lots of people but their programme badges on their blankets when they move from one section to the next. But some people create something completely new with their badges and old uniform.

‘I've got two girls, now Brownies,’ says parent Emma. ‘I went through Rainbows, Brownies and Guides when I was younger, and my mum kept my sashes with my badges attached. As a way to celebrate and show off all the badges earned in Rainbows, I've made cushions for both girls to pop on their beds as a memory of the fun they had. I'll be doing the same when we move up from Brownies to Guides too!’

Or how about a frame?

‘Some of Katie’s Rainbows badges on her old t-shirt,’ says another parent, Natalie. ‘Now in Brownies, this on her wall in her toy room.’

Mary, from 1st Bisley Rainbows and Bisley Spotty Dotty Rangers, also uses a frame. She uses it to display her pin badges collected over the years.

Catherine uses her blanket as a way to remember each year, and does a lot of badge swapping too, a favourite guiding pastime and great way to make new friends.

‘I have loads of badges and since the centenary I have had a blanket per year,' says Catherine, Brownie and Guide leader with 1st Ness on the Wirral. ‘It is like my record of the year instead of writing a diary. I collect them for events that happen in the year and places I visit.  

‘I love swapping badges at events and talking to other collectors about their collections. I also have a growing collection of old Promise badges and interest badges from years gone by and I’m always looking out for new additions.’

Blankets always have lots of fun badges – it’s a great place to put them as an adult member. 

‘The front of the poncho which has all my fun badges and places I have visited, I’m running out of room!’ says Georgina 1st Silverdale Brownies and Rangers.

18-year-old Paige is on camp blanket number two and, like many, hand sews her badges onto her blanket.

‘Even though I'm only 18, I have no room left so I am starting on my second blanket which once finished I plan on sewing onto the back of my other one,’ she says.

‘My camp blanket is my pride and joy and means everything to me as it reminds me of so many amazing memories and experiences that I have had through guiding, as well as the history of guiding within my family.’

'This camp blanket belonged to Ann Hudson, Rainbow and Brownie leader in St Albans, who sadly died in 2018,' says Brownie leader at 29th St Albans (Abbey) Brownies, Mary.

'The blanket started out as her son Jon's scouting camp blanket, but Ann took it on when she became a Girlguiding leader. She was always on the lookout for new badges when she was away or at Brownie holidays and was very proud when she completely filled it.

The blanket was a focal point at her funeral and is now a treasured First Aid bed blanket for Brownie Holidays for 29th St Albans (Abbey) Brownies. A special reminder of an amazing & inspiring lady.'

Pamela has been working on her camp blanket for almost 40 years and while Paige is planning to sew her blankets together, Pamela is planning to create a zip.

‘I started collecting badges properly after attending an international camp at Blair Atholl as a Guide in 1985,' says Pamela, a leader at 2nd Carnoustie Guides. I started working on my blanket the week after the camp. I bought a ball of red wool and blanket stitched all around the edges. I created a neck hole so that I could wear the blanket at campfires too. Then I started sewing my badges on to the blanket.

‘Each one has a story to tell. I’ve either earned the badges, visited the places where the badges have come from, been gifted them or have swapped them with a fellow Guide or Scout. This year I decided to start a new blanket. I want to keep both blankets together so have come up with an ingenious plan to attach a zip to it so that I can zip the new one off and on in order to add badges to it. I’ve stitched every single stitch on my blanket myself which includes approximately 1000 badges. It currently weighs 3.2kg! With the new fleece blanket attached this will rise significantly!

‘My blanket is a visual reminder of the amazing opportunities that I have been lucky enough to experience and enjoy through being a member of Girlguiding. It is a reminder of all the places I have been and the friends I have made along the way. It is my life story, my journey in badges.’

Need more badge displaying inspiration? Here’s the camp blankets of leader Beth, leader at 3rd Weston-super-Mare Brownies Lindsay, two from Georgia and Christine.

And remember, it's never too late to start having fun with displaying badges! If you need a blanket to get started, head to the Girlguiding shop, and if you want some top tips for attaching badges, take a look at this blog. There's information on using tape, glue, and instructions for sewing them on too.