When I was 14, I had the distinct honor of representing my country on the first ever Team USA for synchronized skating, traveling to Helsinki, Finland with Lexington’s Ice Mates & Haydenettes, where we took home the international gold. There’s nothing quite like standing center ice with your teammates, medal draped around your neck, watching your country’s flag raised while the arena fills with your national anthem. I still get goosebumps & leaky eyes whenever I think about that moment, the pinnacle achievement of my athletic career, especially when I watch it happen for others.
Which is probably why, in the (cough, cough) 20 years since, I’m so passionate about hosting epic Olympics viewing parties. My friends know that, for the 17 days from opening to closing ceremonies, I will be glued to the TV or my laptop or both, cheering on every major and minor sport, rocking my best red, white & blue getups and recruiting others to do the same with me.
If you’ve also got Olympic fever, here are nine awesome DIY projects
that feel authentic to the timeless athlete experience & that you
can easily make at home in time for Opening Ceremonies tonight.
1. TEAM USA FLAGS
Every athlete looks to the stands & draws support from the crowd waving them on. This DIY flag tutorial from One Charming Party is not only super easy but has staying power, transitioning from an Olympics party at home to actual sporting sidelines for years to come.
2. DIY COWBELLS
No single sound revives those pre-competition butterflies of anxiety and excitement quite like a ringing cowbell. If you can’t find one at an antiques store, ring in the Sochi games with this clever how-to from WhimseyBox, creating a DIY cowbell from an old license plate.
Photo: Bow & Drape
3. SEQUINED SOCHI SWEATSHIRTS
Everyone loves watching the figure skating during the Olympics, and we skaters love our bling — which is why I really love that Boston-based design-your-own clothing retailer Bow & Drape is making it easier than ever to show your go-for-gold pride. Whether you’re TEAM USA or just want to show the world that you’ve GOLD MEDALED IN BRUNCHING, Bow & Drape has got you with their DIY Sochi sweatshirt maker.
Video (still): Hannah Lee/Hannah Rox Nails
4. DIY NAIL ART
At the 2012 Olympics in London, patriotic manicures were as buzzed about in the natatorium as the prowess of our top swimmers — with Missy Franklin’s nails (along with those of rival Aimee Willmott of Great Britain) being the most copied at home. Now that the US Women’s Olympic ice hockey team has told People magazine they’ll be dolling up and even “wearing bronzer” for competition, expect Olympic beauty as well as brawn to take center ice in Sochi — and indie nail artist Hannah Lee of Hannah Rox Nails has the perfect Olympics rings manicure tutorial on her YouTube channel.
Photo: Marisa Lynch/New Dress a Day
5. DIY OLYMPIC RINGS NECKLACE
Athletes of boths sexes tend to be superstitious about pieces of lucky jewelry or clothing, swearing by a certain necklace or pair of socks to bring out their best. Marisa Lynch of New Dress A Day has the perfect craft tutorial for superstitious fans — and one that will last a lifetime of watching the Olympic games — with this embroidery floss-covered DIY Olympic rings necklace.
Photo: Cindy Hopper for Alpha Mom
6. DIY OLYMPIC TORCH & MEDAL
The absolute perfect kids’ crafts for the Opening Ceremonies tonight, these easy DIYs from Cindy Hopper for Alpha Mom use items from the craft drawer, kitchen & recycling bin to get kids into the medal-winning spirit. The TP roll torches are so fun that I want to make a bunch for my grownups party!
7. OLYMPICS THEMED SNACKS
A true pre-competition meal for any athlete would be carbo-loading — oh, how I loved our team pasta dinners — and there are tons of Pinterest tutorials for making pizzas in the shape of Olympic rings, but I think this pan of fruit-topped sugar cookies from Lisa at Moore Minutes is better. There’s nothing I craved after training was over more than dessert!
8. SWEET SOCHI MOCKTAILS
With the exception of famed partier and Olympic skier Bode Miller, not many Olympians drink alcohol — at least not while in training — which is why I love this festive mock Olympics cocktail recipe from Savannah Pyron of Savannah Smiled, which uses Sprite (or soda water) and Life Savers. Perfect for an adult or kids party! Check out her full Olympics party post for some more easy DIY Olympics party decor ideas, too.
Photo: Melissa Massello/Shoestring
9. RED, WHITE & BLUE LOVE SPOONS
While I originally made them as a Fourth of July hostess gift, these patriotic love spoons would also be perfect for getting your guests into the Winter Olympics spirit. Serve with hot cocoa or coffee to keep fans awake well into the late-night coverage!