How to Make Girl Scout SWAPS

SWAPS, otherwise known as "Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere", are the key to any and every Girl Scout Event. They are meant to be traded with girls from other troops for that troop's swaps, and are treasured prizes from each event. Swapping is fun and a great way to make friends, especially if you can come up with a unique idea.


  1. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Step 1
    Come up with a theme. The theme should have something to do with the event you are going to. For example, if you are going to an aquarium, think fish.
  2. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Step 2
    Do some research. If you are going to make fish-related swaps, try to be unique. Chances are, other troops will have plain, boring fish, but you can do much better. When you are researching, you may come across some information about overfishing. You may decide to make fishhooks out of wire or pipe cleaners with a label that says "Save our fish!".
  3. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Step 3
    Decide what you will make. It is best to have a couple different kinds of swaps per troop, just in case another troop has similar swaps or another troop gets tired of the same swaps over and over. In addition to the fishhook idea, for example, your troop may also want to make jellyfish out of coffee filters or starfish out of construction paper.
  4. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Step 4
    Find cheap materials. Since you will be making 20+ swaps per girl, you don't want to spend tons of money on materials. Swaps are supposed to be little handmade trinkets, not professional-quality souvenirs. It's okay if your swaps are made of less-than-perfect materials or look like they were made by children, which they were.
  5. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Step 5
    Make those swaps! Get the troop together and put the swaps together. Most swaps consist of a cute trinket and a safety pin, and you should also make sure that the event (ex. Aquarium Exploration), the month and year (ex. July 2011), your troop level and number (ex. Brownie troop 579), and your location (ex. Saint Louis, Missouri) is somewhere on the swap. If this information cannot be placed directly on the swap, such as in a case where it is made of pipecleaners, make small labels and stick the pin through them as well as the swap.
  6. Image titled Make Girl Scout SWAPS Intro


  • All swaps are supposed to have a safety pin attached to them so they can be pinned to clothes, bags, hats, uniforms, etc.
  • Make sure that when your Girl Scout troop goes somewhere they have SWAPS at the ready!
  • Make sure that the safety pin is secure and will not fall off.
  • If you are attaching pieces to other pieces, use the most secure material possible. Instead of a glue stick, use super glue, or better still, double-stick tape or hot glue.
  • If you are Swap Crazy, you can just look around the house for loose stuff and pin!
  • The girl scouts should carry their swaps in a plastic Ziplock bag with their name on it.
  • SWAP (without the final "S") means "Share With A Pal". Have fun, make friends, and share!


  • Swap face-to-face, especially if exchanging addresses or email information.
  • Avoid using glass and sharp objects in swaps.
  • Avoid using food products, unless they are individually wrapped.
  • Nobody should refuse to swap regardless of whether or not it has a pin or has already been swapped. If you get doubles of a swap you are welcome to swap those with other girls. The idea is to share with others and meet new friends.
  • Follow all Safety-Wise guidelines.

Things You'll Need

  • A Girl Scout troop
  • Safety pins (one per swap)
  • The following materials (only if your particular swaps require their use):
    • Glue
    • Tape
    • Construction paper
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Scissors
    • Pens/pencils
    • Markers
    • Printed labels
    • Anything else not mentioned

Article Info

Categories: Kids' Crafts | Scouting & Other Youth Groups