New Merit Badges: Crafty & Clever - Leafcutter Designs


New Merit Badges: Crafty & Clever

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A recent design gig for FamilyFun Magazine has me very excited about merit badges.  They’re often a perfect little combination of recognition and aesthetics, and I just love ’em.  In this post I share my new design for the Backyard Fun Badge and offer up a few other lovely new merit badges from other artists and craft shops.

Backyard Fun

I was delighted to be asked to design the first of ten “Badges of Fun” for FamilyFun Magazine’s latest issue.  They’re working with a number of different designers to create a series of artful badges that kids can download, cut out, and attach to a poster that tracks their progress. To earn this first badge, you can play twilight games, have a backyard camp-out, or make yard art. Kids of all ages allowed!

Here’s the final badge design – crafty and whimsical!

More Fresh Merit Badge Designs

Lee Meszaros crafts beautiful merit badges of her own design and sells them in her Be Proud Etsy Shop.  She offers more than sixty (60!) different designs at $25/ea (with a nice certificate). Each badge has its own sweet phrase and illustrated imagery. They really are wonderful. Lee’s merit badges are silk-screened, hand-painted and then embroidered.

A few badges from the Be Proud collection.

Mama Merit Badges
are another creative twist on the same theme with a more modest price point ($5/ea) but far fewer designs (13) from which to choose. Amy Bowers created this off-beat series of badges to recognize the very hard work that is parenting – the “daily duties that alternately feel like drudgery, brave political acts, and absurd performance art.”

Disorderly Goods created a set of twelve (12) creative merit badges for “excellence in life.” Here are my three favorites.  Others depict unusual things like molecules and inkblots.

And finally, here’s a mosaic made out of thousands of scout badges by the Northern Star Council.  Watch their time-lapse film below:

Vintage Merit Badges are Incredibly Collectible

You can often find the perfect badge for someone you know amongst the thousands of vintage scouting badges available on eBay. Here’s a quick look at what’s available now:

[phpbay keywords=”vintage merit badges” num=”12″ siteid=”1″ customid=”Leafcutter” sortorder=”BestMatch” minprice=”10″ templatename=”columns” columns=”3″]

Do you know of other sources for creative merit badges? Do you have a great story to tell involving badges you’ve given or received? Post a comment and let us know about it!

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Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, makes the world more playful and peaceful one little experience at a time.


  1. Michaela Lynch

    July 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

    This is a great collection! I actually make merit badges for my Etsy shop, as part of Whimsy Scouts, which I made a handbook for in a handmade book class! You can find them in my Etsy shop, if you’re interested 🙂

    Love, Michaela

  2. Laura

    February 21, 2012 at 11:41 am

  3. jenna

    October 26, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Very cool! My daughter puts hers on a poster board and saves them that way.

  4. amy (mamascout)

    June 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    thanks for the mention! i am a huge fan of yours. we love our match box theatres!

  5. Wendy Brown

    June 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I am a huge fan of these nerd merit badges and give them as presents to my coworkers.

    – wendy

  6. Ann

    June 7, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Hi Lea,

    I’m the editorial director over at FamilyFun, and I just wanted to say how excited we are about your badge. I’ve loved your work for a long time, and it’s a thrill to have you design our very first badge!

  7. Lisa Coughlin

    June 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Forgot to mention this book I found when researching the history of merit badges–>You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

    For anyone interested in more interpretations of merit badges, this book offers many different types. I believe there are sticker badges at the back of the book, and if you search the book on Amazon, there are sample badges you can view.

  8. Erika Martin

    June 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    How fun that you designed this! I just got our Family Fun magazine last week and fell in love with the concept.

  9. Lisa Coughlin

    June 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Lea, I just shared your Backyard Fun badge with my friends on Friday evening! We are all working on creating unique badges regarding our own individual goals. My badge will concern a concept–“Light”

    My Doughnut Dreams Project has become sort of merit-badge-related. I create my dreams on a poster board circle, about the size of a dinner plate. I like the look and feel of a circle as the frame for my Art and my dreams.

    I never earned a badge–except the one you generously offered for a picture of my children’s book collection : ). I want to design merit badges for a creative pursuit I am currently working out…Would love to collaborate with you, Lea! I know you’re a busy lady–would love to discuss the idea with you some day. I love your works, but more than your creativity, I love the heart and conscience behind all you do.

    Thanks for sharing more merit badge images, as further inspiration. The “dreaming big” badge is great!

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