Nothing can make you teary-eyed like watching a service member reunite with their family. Everyone loves a sweet deployment homecoming!
Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and other family members drive or fly from miles around to be there on this special day. Some people even hire professional photographers for the occasion. And rightly so, deployment homecoming is a big deal!
It’s a big deal that your service member is coming home alive and well. It’s also no small feat that your relationship survived an intense and extended separation. You should celebrate that!
When Heff was on a 15-month hardship tour in Central America, I was more than excited for the day that we were together again. We had been counting down the days for so long.
Since this wasn’t a typical deployment, he flew home on a commercial airline. This meant he wasn’t in uniform, nor was there a big ceremony.
But that didn’t mean that his homecoming was any less special for me and the kids. We had signs, special outfits, and family members waiting at the airport for his arrival.
People gawked, some asked questions, and some even gave us hugs. Everyone in that small terminal probably thought that we were being 200% extra, but we didn’t care. Our soldier was coming home and nothing else mattered!
But enough of the mushy gushy stuff.
I want to show you the deployment homecoming signs that we made and how we made them. Hopefully, it will give you a few ideas of your own.
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How to Make a Deployment Homecoming Sign
Decide What You Want the Sign to Say
The first step of making a deployment homecoming sign is deciding what you want the sign to say. This was the hardest part of the whole process because there are so many cute ideas out there!
I didn’t make a sign for myself, but I made one for each kid (our daughters and niece). So, our signs had to be kid-friendly. Also, his tour was unexpectedly extended, so I wanted something that stated how long he was gone.
We chose these phrases:
- “Missed me, missed me, now ya gotta kiss me.”
- “These are the hands that prayed for your safe return.”
- “We’d wait for you forever, but 457 days is long enough.”
Get Your Supplies
After you figure out what you want your sign to say, then head to the dollar store, Walmart, or if you’re feeling really extra, the craft store to buy supplies.
In my experience, foam board works better, especially if kids are going to be holding them. That way you don’t have to worry about them getting bent, folding up, or blowing around if you’re going to be outside.
I used peel-n-stick letters for the signs because I was being too lazy to hand paint or cut them with my Cricut. (These are the same ones I used in many of the care packages I sent while he was gone.) You can find them in the craft section at Dollar General or Walmart!
**Pro tip: Get 2 packs of the letters. You don’t want to run out of vowels and have to make an extra trip to the store!**
I also bought cheap red lipstick for the kids to make the lip prints and cheap bottles of paint to make the handprints. I also bought a red poster board and glued it to the white foam board, so all of our signs weren’t white.
My supplies included:
- 3 foam board(s)
- 1 colored poster board (optional)
- 2 packs of peel-n-stick letters
- 1 bottle of glue
- decorations (lipstick, paint, glitter, stickers, etc.)
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Put Your Sign(s) Together
If you are using a piece of colored poster board, then you should glue it to your foam board first.
Next, lay out the letters to make your phrase or saying. You will probably have to rearrange the letters and words a couple of times to get them to fit on the board right.
After your letters are arranged correctly, then glue them in place.
Now that the hard part is done, it’s time for decorating! Slather on the lipstick and start smooching. Glop on the paint and give some high fives. Sprinkle on the glitter and slap on some stickers.
And you’re done!
Deployment homecoming signs can be as simple or elaborate as you want.
I chose to keep ours simple, but this is a happy time, that you will cherish for years to come. So, go all out!