Camp Pendleton, CA

Make Your Own Deployment Countdown Chain!

This Memorial Day, I first of all, want to take a minute to honor all our military heroes who never made it back home to their families. I’ve only been through one deployment with Matt and felt that he was safe (most of the time) so I can’t even begin to fathom getting that call. It truly is the ultimate sacrifice. I didn’t want to post a backyard BBQ recipe or fun summer outfit post today, it just feels wrong, especially with everything going on in our world right now so I thought I’d share some more deployment content to support those involved with our military heroes! Today I’m showing you how to easily make a deployment countdown chain! 

I’m definitely an advanced crafter DIY person but this deployment countdown chain is so easy that anyone could do it and it’s a great way to get your partner, family, or kids involved too! 

Supplies You’ll Need for your deployment countdown chain

  • Scrapbook paper
  • A paper cutter or scissors 
  • Glue or tape 
  • A marker or pen 

Getting Started

I purchased a couple cute packs of scrapbook paper from mambi sheets from Michael’s. They have a ton of color and pattern options to choose from. I picked something with metallic accents in a neutral and light pink color family since I knew I was doing to display my deployment countdown chain in my bedroom. 

I then used my paper cutter to cut the 12×12 pages of scrapbook paper into smaller strips. I kept my strips 12 inches long but cut them to be 2 inches wide. If there were any pages that only had designs on the outside edges, I decided if I wanted to keep the blank middle strips or not. I knew that I wanted to do a daily countdown so I made sure I bought enough packages of paper to get me through our 7 month deployment with a little extra (which was a good thing)! 

Next Steps 

I then took all the strips and got to filling them out! I had Matt write a bunch of his favorite memories or secret little messages to me on some of the chains. Matt’s mom wrote a few messages on them as well while they visited the weekend before he was deployed. I pulled up my favorite quotes for deployment and included those. I looked up motivational quotes, love song lyrics, and finished by writing about some of my favorite memories with Matt. 

Final Steps for your deployment countdown chain

I mixed up all the strips so the messages would be a surprise and started to glue them into circles. I quickly realized the glue I had on hand was sticky and annoying and they wanted to pop open as they were drying so I decided to give tape a try and it was perfect! I would just loop the strip into a circle and add a small piece of tape to each edge to keep the link intact. 

One small reminder – leave enough strips to connect your links! I got carried away making a bunch of individual loops and then realized I needed to start assembling them together to make my chain. I decided to do chains of 30 links so that each strand would be roughly a month of messages. 

I bought a pack of 3M Command Strips and lined them up behind my bedroom door. Once I had my strands all assembled, I took a hole punch and punched a hole in one end link of each chain. I then used that hole to hang them on the 3M hook. 

Each day I woke up, I’d cut off a link from my deployment countdown chain and read the message inside. It was great to get a sweet message from Matt (and they somehow always seemed to pop up at the perfect time) or begin my day with an inspirational quote! Once we reached the halfway point, it was also really awesome to visually see the chains getting smaller and smaller. 

deployment countdown chain hanging behind doorPIN IT
the final stretch!

I saved all the strips in a shoebox so when Matt got home he could read through all the messages too. Honestly, I almost didn’t do a deployment countdown chain since at first I thought it was more geared towards kids but I’m actually really glad I added a little twist and decided to do it. There were definitely some days where I needed the extra encouragement and looked forward to cutting off one more link from the chain. 

When it’s your first deployment, it can be overwhelming to figure out what you think you should be doing. There are deployment chain countdowns, care packages, letters, journals, the list goes on and on! I’ll say this, do what you want, what you think is important, and what feels right for your relationship. If you love chocolate, make a Hershey’s kiss countdown jar. If seeing a visual representation of the days apart makes you anxious, don’t put the pressure on yourself, make a final two week countdown! If you have another unique idea or something that you’ve done in the past, I’d love to hear it! How do you countdown to the end of a deployment? 


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