Ranger Guider ,
Part of Guiding tradition calls for these handy
and practical items. What is a sit-upon? For the uninitiated --
it is an insulated and (usually) waterproof pad, often homemade,
used to protect the user's backside from the cold and damp while
"sitting upon" the ground! It is also great to keep
mosquitoes from biting you from underneath your webbed lawn
A simple sit-upon made be constructed by taking
several layers of newspaper, folding to the appropriate size and
inserting them into a plastic "kitchen catcher"-type
bag. Squeeze out any air, fold the bag snuggly around the
newspaper, and use duct tape or packing tape to hold it all
together. Add your name with a permanent marker!
Fancier sit-upons can be constructed with a
little imagination... Old baby change pads make good insulation,
and don't crackle like newspaper!. Or cover your pad of choice
with cloth -- plain, patterned -- you choose -- add your name
with t-shirt paints, and then enclose in a CLEAR garbage bag.
Tape all edges with clear packing tape... Voila!
To add even more interest, ask at your local
t-shirt shop for their used iron-ons. These come in an amazing
array of pictures and styles. As long as you pick one with no
words (words would be mirror-imaged), you can carefully cut the
picture out, tape it to your sit-upon fabric or plastic, and
cover with the clear plastic as described above.
Functional, yet elegant -- or at least with
personality! And often a conversation-starter!
Take your sit-upon everywhere, and sit in
Junior Troop 289
When we (the girls, not me :) ) were brownies,
we used vinyl table clothes (purchased at Wal-Mart, if I remember
correctly I think we were able to cut out four situpons per
tablecloth) and egg crate foam mattress which were donated to the
troop. The foam is much lighter than newspaper--something to keep
in mind if doing a day hike with them.
Junior/Cadette Troop 5
Watch out for the woven newspaper sit-upons.
When they get damp, everyone has the news printed on the back of
her shorts. :) The sit-upons in the Brownie handbook leak if they
are made as suggested. When water gets into these, the newspaper
inside can become very heavy.
A much simpler, and more leak-proof, sit-upon
can be made by placing folded newspaper inside a large Ziplock
storage bag. These can be decorated with permanent markers.
My daughter's first sewing machine project (at
age seven) was a sit-upon. We stacked up two squares of ripstop
nylon (the fabric used in outdoor banners), added a square of the
same size cut from quilt batting, and stitched three sides. She
then clipped the corners, turned it, and stitched the remaining
side shut. This is waterproof, machine washable, can be folded to
stuff into a backpack or fanny pack, and lasts for years. She is
now thirteen and still uses it.
Here is my 1c worth (inflation ate away the
2c!) about how I have made situpons with the Guides here in South
Africa. We also use the weaving method, but use plastic
supermarket bags. We fold the bags into strips, weave them under
and over and then tie the loose ends sticking out, in pairs with
a reef knot. This is great for the "Thrift Badge" work
as well, and it is not only waterproof, but folds up small and
can be re-used for a few camps!
Virginia Beach, Virginia
If you don't have an unwanted foam "egg
crate" mattress available for putting inside situpons, try
leftover carpet padding. A friend of mine found an even better
free source of foam: soft foam padding used in packing medicines
for shipment to pharmacies. The ones she got (from a mom who
worked at a major drug store chain) were already a perfect size
for situpons - about 13 to 14 inches square, and about 1 inch
The mom who gave her these said all this foam
is normally just thrown out, so this is a good way to recycle
If you go to the good-sized fabric stores
(Jo-Annes, Cloth World here on the east coast), they have bolts
of vinyl tablecloth-like fabric, often in wonderful colors and
quite heavy-duty. They are all a fairly standard size and I've
found that the width is always just right for making two
The length you buy is simply the size of a
newspaper (measured side-to-side), plus about a half inch on
either side. I use a paper hole puncher to put holes around the
three sides of the vinyl, and the girls put in about a half inch
max or smaller bunch of newspapers and then we lace it up with
gimp. The knots at the end are not always "pretty", but
since we go in a whip stitch from one side to the other, then
whip back to make an "X", I have NEVER had a problem
with moisture getting into our situpons - and some of them have
already had 3 hard years of use.
As opposed to vinyl tablecloths, the vinyl
fabric at fabric stores is often wonderfully colorful and unique
- our situpons always stand out at Service Unit events!
Brownie Troop 1312 leader
Penn Laurel Girl Scout Council
Frederick County, MD
Our troop made easy, light-weight, and
comfortable(!) situpons so I couldn't resist sharing this idea
with everyone. We made these as Daisies.
- Take a gallon size Ziplock baggie and
lightly fill with Styrofoam peanuts so that it lies flat,
not overstuffed and round.
- Clip the corners to let out the air so it
- Cover with Contact paper. (Lay the Contact
paper on the ground, peel half the backing off, place
bag, peel rest of backing off and flip over top, leaving
a slight lip all around. Trim if needed. Younger girls
may need extra hands to help them keep the Contact paper
even, but we told everyone wrinkles don't matter.)
- Punch two holes with a paper punch and add
string to make it easy to wear around your neck for
Adults may need to use a plastic grocery bag to
make their sit-upon a little larger. (At my parent meeting, the
parents all got a chuckle out of that part.)
When I was a scout (in the 60's) we made our
situpons with a strap to tie it around your waist while hiking.
So, now that I'm a leader I had to use my old Girl Scout
knowledge with my troop. We made ours using flannel backed table
cloth fabric from the fabric store, filled it with carpet padding
(real cheap at home improvement stores), laced the edges using
household twine and made the "belt" part with a piece
of regular clothes-line, long enough to wrap around the waist and
tie a generous bow.
The kids loved it. They walked around the
cabins with their sit-upons on even when they weren't hiking!
You do have to untie it to sit down, it's too
tight around the belly if you try to sit with it tied.
Northern Horizons Community, Circle T Girl Scout Council, Junior Leader, Registrar, Event Director
School Recruitment Coordinator, Day Camp Director, First Aid and Lifeguard Instructor
Take an old pair of adult blue jeans and
cut-off about three inches below where the legs come together.
Sew across legs and across the top of the belt loops. This will
secure the batting. The girls then unzip the zipper and stuff
with batting. They can then use fabric paint and decorate the
bottoms any way they want. Tie a long piece of cord through the
belt loops and they can tie it around their waist on hikes or use
it to carry the sit-upons. These were really cute. I can't wait
to make them with my troop.
I saw the same blue Jean sit upons that Tammy
Rice did only modified. Instead of stuffing with batting the
troop uses the inside to store things like extra jackets,
bandanas and money. It was so cute!!
Cadette Troop 2001
Patriots' Trail Girl Scout Council
I used an old shower curtain for my Brownie
troop. One curtain made 12 sit-upons. We filled with newspaper
(they could have been woven and they would have been more
comfortable). Pieces were cut so that both sides were one
piece--fold in half and then only 3 sides needed to be closed.
Sealed the edges with duct tape (others have had girls 'sew'
edges with yarn using the overhand stitch). Girls decorated with
permanent markers. Seven years later, the ones I have are still
Another source of vinyl could be a business
using vinyl for its products (auto interiors, for example). There
used to be a place around here which would gladly donate the
Tierra Del Oro GS Council
Some of the nicest sit-upons I've seen were
made from samples of vinyl wallpaper. My daughter's leader a few
years ago went to wall paper stores and asked if they had any
sample books they were throwing out and got plenty. They are
already "cut" to size and the girls had some pretty
neat prints to choose from. Hope this helps.
Here is an idea for a situpon I made in Pathfinders. You need
a carpet sample and two floor tiles. Remove the backing from one
of the floor tiles and place it on the carpet sample. The
decorated side of the tile will be touching the wrong (not
decorated) side of the carpet sample. Fold the extra sides of the
carpet tight onto the glue of the tile. You may have to cut the
corners to get it as flat as possible. Remove the backing of the
other tile and stick it to the glued side of the other tile. I
hope this makes sense! It is best to use a very flat carpet
sample, you could also use another tough fabric sample.