2013 Color Guard Makeup Ideas

09/02/2013 Leave a comment

Every year I scour the internet looking for inspiration for show makeup. This year’s theme, “A Musical STATEment” has us “traveling” the US in song.

With stops in Georgia, Texas, California, New York and more – the uniforms were challenging enough. Makeup? Woah.

I wasn’t feeling a patriotic-colored uniform, so we went with something more jazzy looking that had versatility.


Black tuxedo shorts, a magenta sleeveless body suit, and a gold sequin vest are what we chose.

I’m not committed to anything yet, but here are some things I found and like.

I love the pop and contrast of the magenta. This is also a very simple look to replicate. Add a few rhinestones and we’re in business!


BH Cosmetics

I like the simplicity of this 4th of July look by BH Cosmetics (see tutorial here). I’d definitely change the colors to some combo of gold, purple, fuchsia, white and black.


Beauty Chameleon

Who doesn’t love rhinestones? This look is more complicated, but I think it could be accomplished pretty easily with eyeliner and eye shadow pencils. Check out the tutorial here: http://beautychameleon.com/make-up-tutorials/makeup-tutorial-4th-of-july-inspired-eyes/


CCLstore on Etsy

And there are these beauties: temporary tattoos that go around the eyes. These are by CCLstore on Etsy. What I love about these is that you get an intricate look without the work. Add a little sparkle with rhinestones or glitter and the guard would be ready to go … and fabulous!

9/10 update: ordered some of these eye tattoos to test them and they are pretty darn awesome!
Check out my test eye on Instagram!


2012 Season in Review

08/30/2013 Leave a comment

The 2013 season is already underway and here I am just recapping the 2012 season!

Quick recap: Our first season as a Group 2 Open band was a learning experience. We were the new kids on the block and were reminded of that the first time we saw another 2O band in competition! With only a couple weeks before States and Nationals, the staff and students pulled together like never before and came out on top as NJ State Champions! The band also pulled in a second place victory at Nationals. Watching the students perform at Metlife Stadium was probably one of the coolest moments I’ve ever experienced, so I can’t wait to see it again this year!

2012 USBands 2 Open Nationals

2012 USBands 2 Open Nationals

Here’s a photo of the lovely color guard after performing!

2012 USSBA Group 2 Open Nationals - Metlife Stadium, NJ

2012 USSBA Group 2 Open Nationals – Metlife Stadium, NJ

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We have lots of catching up to do!

08/01/2012 Leave a comment

Let’s play some catch up 🙂

Our band finished very strongly last season by winning both the USSBA NJ 2A State Championships as well as the USSBA 2A National Championships.

2011 USSBA 2A National Champs

Additionally, as a staff we’re satisfied with the caliber of success the students have had in the Group 2 A class over the last few years, so we’re going to compete in the Group 2 Open class for the 2012 season. I know that I’m personally very excited for the challenge! Especially for this year’s show. Which is….


We have some tried and true effects that have worked for us in the past, but we also have quite a few new effects we’ve never tried. I’m not going to tell you any of that because that would ruin the surprise. 🙂

In terms of DIY projects this season, we’ll be creating one set of flags, modifying skirts already in our closet to become can can skirts, and making a set of vests. Hopefully I’ll be able to document at least one of those projects. They are sewing machine reliant and I am sewing machine illiterate. So by “we’ll be creating” I mean “the wonderful band parents will be creating”… (THANK YOU!)

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DIY: Color-changing belts

10/23/2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few weeks now, but we all know how time flies during the marching season!

This year’s DIY project was a color changing belt. Our theme is “True Colors,” so we wanted the guard uniform change in some way to reflect the color song that was being played. We figured bigger costume changes require more time off the field during the show, so we went minimalistic and decided that belts were a subtle, effective, and quick change. Not being able to find something to fit our needs (not surprising), the decision was made to make them ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean have a wonderful, dedicated, willing band parent assemble them (THANK YOU!).

The belts needed to be one piece, three colors.

The belt needed to have three colors (blue, green, red), be changeable in approximately 10 seconds, and NOT be multiple pieces to be left all over the field. The photo to the right shows what we came up with.

Basically, each ribbon end had a clasp on it that attached to a ring. There was a “hinge” sewn in the middle of the belt that allows for the guard to unclip a ribbon from the right, swing it behind their back, and clip it on the left side. Since we started with blue and went to green, half the blue ribbon stood alone (top right of the photo) and half the blue ribbon was sewn to the green (bottom right). Green went red, so the other half of the green was sewn to the red (bottom left), and the other half of red was alone (top left). Some of each previous color shows after each change, but the effect is still there.  Since it’s hard to explain what the belt does, here’s a video of how it works:

Materials for this project: (based on 11 belts)

  • 65 yards of 3-inch ribbon in red, blue, and green – $110 (1066 Trimmings)
  • 13 1.25″ nickel rings (1 per belt) – $21 (buckleguy.com)
  • 50 Swivel clip clasps (each belt has 4) -$23 (eBay)
  • Total Cost: $154 (or $14 per student)

And there you have it! This wasn’t exactly a step-by-step, so please post any questions you may have in the comments regarding the actual construction.

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Encouraging your guard to practice

10/11/2011 Leave a comment

I recently read an article on Lifehacker with this quote:

“The one common thread in every success story is perseverance, and that it was achieved by seeing every attempt as a step forward—as practice. “

It got me thinking about ways to motivate our guard – even though they already practice in homeroom each day, after school Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, have football games Friday, and competitions each Saturday. Here are some things that seem to work for us:

Change their definition of the word “practice.” It’s not just running the same work over and over again – it is performing the show so as to make the nuances of the work more natural, habitual.

Set some goals. One of our guard’s goals this year is to win a Best Guard award at the state or national level. Being able to remind the group of their goals can be motivating when focus is waning. Any goals – for that practice, that week, or the whole season – can be motivating if the whole group is on board. (I should mention that our ultimate goal for the guard is to have them perform the show to the best of their abilities – not to win. We just want them to feel great when they get off the field!)

Put a little fun into practice. If your practice is going downhill, take a fun break. You’d be surprised how a game of Red Rover or letting the girls do their runway walks down the practice floor can quickly turn things around. 🙂

Record practice runs, football games, and competitions and listen to judge’s tapes. What more could be more motivating than watching yourself out of time with the rest of the guard or getting called out on a judge’s tape? That alone will prompt many to correct lingering errors.

If all else fails, some good ol’ fashion “Let’s Make a Deal.” This week I’ve asked our guard to watch Monday’s run through and make a list of 10 spots they need to work on. In exchange, I’ll let them out 30 minutes early from their last practice of the season. I also told them I’d throw a party at my new house if they brought home a Best Color Guard trophy from States or Nationals. Who doesn’t like free food? 🙂

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Performance day essentials: What to have handy

09/26/2011 Leave a comment

Lots o' makeup

The night before our first competition is a long one. Why? Because I’m packing anything and everything I might need for the following day’s festivities. As you can see to the right, there’s a lot. That’s because as guard instructors we’ve got to be prepared for any makeup, hair, uniform, and minor medical issues that inevitably arise on competition day. Because it’s so easy to be caught unprepared, I thought I’d share my color guard kit must-haves. Hope it helps you as you’re preparing for your own competition days!


  • Guard tape (black, white, etc.)
  • Extra pair of guard gloves (if your guard wears them)
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair ties
  • Makeup (for guard – and yourself if you can find time to do it!)

– Primer
– Actual makeup
– Sealer
– Brushes
– Remover

  • Q-tips
  • Tissues
  • Band-Aids
  • Bottle of water


  • Mini-sewing kit (many times, safety pins are easier and quicker)
  • Bra strap clips (if you have sleeveless uniforms, these come in handy)
  • Hair spray
  • Double-sided fashion tape
  • Nail file

What’s in yours?

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Our flags!

09/17/2011 3 comments

We instructors know how ordering flags go. We order flags, hoping that when they come in and get put on poles they are everything we need them to be. Sometimes they aren’t and we either make due or find something in the guard closet that will work instead. But isn’t it a relief when everything works out? That’s how I feel about this year’s flags – for the most part.

Our theme this year is colors — officially “True Colors.” Here are our 5 songs and their flags:

Somewhere Over The Rainbow
I originally purchased this fantastic rainbow flag for SOTR, but ended up liking them better in Rainbow Connection. So instead I’ll be using solid color ultra lame flags in this song. They offer a lot of punch at a low cost.

Blue Skies
For this song I obviously wanted flags with blue, so I did just that. What I like about this flag is that it reminds me of clouds! Bonus: Stock flag!

Green Sleeves and Take 5 hybrid
This was a flag I was afraid of because I customized the colors blindly (who needs swatches?). Luckily they look great on the field. The coloring is perfect for the look and feel of the song.

Rainbow Connection
As soon as I saw these flags, I knew I had to use them somewhere in our show. I originally chose them for Somewhere Over The Rainbow, but in a moment of curiosity I used them for Rainbow Connection. One word: Love!

We originally wanted to use flags we had the guard closet (trying to save money). They were bright red with a gold stripe down the bottom. Unfortunately when we found them in the closet they were in terrible condition. So instead I decided to go with a stock flag. These are a nice flag for the last song because they bring in the color red, but also an orangey yellow and black for contrast. Also the orange/yellow carries over from the previous song’s flags.

There you have it… can’t wait to see these all going the same direction on the field 🙂

Let’s see your flags!

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