You’ve seen them all over social media. Nothing can make you teary-eyed like watching a service member reunite with their family. Everyone loves a good deployment homecoming.
These are special moments. 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 my husband came home from a 15-month tour in Central America, I was more than excited for the day that he came home “for good”. We had been counting down to this day for over a year. And making a homecoming sign was part of our Deployment Bucket List.
Since this wasn’t a typical deployment, he flew home on a commercial airline. This meant he wasn’t allowed to wear his uniform, nor was there a big ceremony. We weren’t even on a military post. He flew into the airport in Pensacola as a civilian.
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.
How to Make a Deployment Homecoming Sign
1. Decide What You Want the Sign to Say
This was THE HARDEST part of the whole process. It was MUCH more difficult than actually making the sign.
There are SOOO many cute ideas out there. A simple Pinterest search gives you hundreds of pictures. I think the most important part is choosing or creating a phrase or saying that is meaningful for your family or your relationship.
I didn’t make a sign for myself, instead I made one for each kid (our 2 daughters and our niece). Thus, it was important that our signs were kid friendly. Also, his tour was unexpectedly extended, so I wanted something that stated just how long he was gone.
I decided on 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.”
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2. Get Your Supplies
After you figure out what you want your sign to say, then get down to the dollar store, Wal-Mart, or if you’re really feeling spunky, 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 chose to use peel-n-stick letters for the signs because I knew we wouldn’t be using them again any time soon (and because I was being too lazy to paint the letters by hand or cut them with my Cricut). These are the same letters I used in many of the care packages I sent him, so I knew they would hold up. And the best part is that you can buy them at Dollar General or Wal-Mart!
*Pro tip: Make sure you 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 bought cheap red lipstick for the kids to make the lip prints and some small cheap bottles of paint for them to make the handprints. I also bought a piece of red poster board and glued it to the white foam board, so all of our signs weren’t a boring 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.)
3. 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 your letters to make your phrase or saying. DON’T use any glue at first. 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 and cheap. But don’t let me stop you. This is a happy time, one that you will cherish for years to come. So, go all out!