DIY: Easy-Peasy Paddle Programs

Paddle Fan Wedding Programs

Paddle fan wedding programs are nothing new in the wedding world, but boy are they still fun! Here’s how ours turned out:

paddle fan wedding programs

I would tell you that the concern for our guests’ comfort on a potentially hot summer day was the leading deciding factor to use paddle fan wedding programs, but honestly, the cuteness factor had just as much influence. I just cannot resist things that are both adorable and functional.

We didn’t finalize the order of our ceremony up until the one-week mark, so I had to find a quick and easy DIY method to create these puppies in a crunch. Regardless of whether you can finalize your ceremony before the final week or not, I would highly recommend having the design and layout for your paddle fan wedding programs finished in advance. I had our design sitting around for months, just waiting for my rough draft or filler text to be replaced with the final verbiage. This way when I actually did figure everything out, I could go straight to the printer instead of having to spend precious time designing.

For this DIY project, you will need:

  • Printed program fronts and backs (ours are 7″ x 6″ on 100 lb. matte coated cover stock paper)
  • Corner rounder (optional)
  • Wood paddles from Hobby Lobby or similar craft store
  • Double-sided adhesive
  • Packing tape

The first thing I did after having our programs printed and cut to size was round the corners on all of the front pages and all of the back pages. The corner rounder I had access to worked best punching a handful of flat sheets at a time, but depending on paper thickness you may be able to save this step until after the program has been fully assembled.

popsicle stick to card stock

I used clear packing tape to secure the wooden paddle to the back of one side. Using strong tape instead of double-sided adhesive will keep the stick in place and ultimately help prevent the two pages from pulling and separating completely because, honey, that paddle ain’t goin’ nowhere. I’ve found that double-sided adhesives are good for securing a flat surface to another flat surface, but they leave something to be desired when you introduce any three-dimensional objects. Packing tape is the cure-all for Wandering Stick Syndrome. (WSS is serious, folks.) Use it, and use it well. Do let your perfectionist side relax a bit for this step, though. You’ll notice all the tape crinkles in my photo…those won’t show at all in the finished program, so don’t worry about getting the tape flat and smooth.

glue runner

Double-sided adhesive wins the round for gluing paper to paper in this project! I decided to try a permanent bond glue runner by Ad tech, as shown above. It worked very well, though I did need at least six refill cartridges to assemble 100 programs.

gluing paddle fan

You don’t need to use a lot of pressure to lay down the glue strips with this runner, so application should be very swift. It was hard to see where the glue was in the photograph, so I added red as a guideline for what areas to glue.

Tip: The closer you can get the strip to the edge of paper, the less noticeable any splitting between the two glued pages will be on your paddle fan wedding programs. Don’t forget to add a strip to the taped wooden stick, either!

diy paddle fan wedding programs

Laying down the other side of the paddle fan wedding programs is probably the trickiest part because you need to get the two pages of the paddle fan wedding programs aligned. Start by aligning the top edge and corners while trying not to let the adhesive touch the paper yet. Once you’re confident the top is aligned just right, begin pressing the page down to the glued paper while working your way (slowly) from top to bottom. After it’s flat and glued, press firmly over the glue strip areas to make sure the bond is holding.

Tip: Working from top to bottom is a little more forgiving than laying down the entire page in one motion. You’ll want to avoid bending the paper so much that it creases, but this way you can make any necessary shifts and adjustments as you go.

wedding program with graphic floral design

Voila! Now you can admire your newly assembled paddle fan wedding programs.

Go ahead…wave it around and try it out. You know you want to make silly poses like I did.

woman holding paddle fan

One last thing to note: I assembled these a few days before our wedding, and by the day of some of the glue strips had started to separate at the bottom around the wooden stick. (This is where the packing tape is really important because the stick won’t loosen and fall out.) Just keep this in mind if you’re assembling yours in advance. The tops and sides held well, but you may have to pinch the bottom ones back together unless your glue is stronger than my little runner strips.

closeup of paddle fan

*All photos within this post are personal.


Mrs. Bunting

December 23
Grand Rapids, MI
Wedding Date:
June 2011
Love Me, Love Me, Say That You Love Me...
The Story of Us (Part I)
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Alexis, Guest @ 2:04 pm

    Is it possible to get the template for this project? I love it but am having a hard time with the layout.

    Thank you!

  2. bunting Bee
    bunting 687 posts, Busy bee @ 6:15 am

    Hi ladies!

    I’m so sorry, but I don’t really have a template that I can send unless you have access to Adobe InDesign and know how to use it. :c That’s what I used to design this in, and it’s a bit more complex than Word.

    I imagine you can set-up up similarly in Publisher or Word using columns and tables though!

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