21st Birthday Sign Ideas | One To Nothin'

21st Birthday Sign Ideas

For those of you who are new around here, let me preface this post with the fun fact that I was a sorority girl in college. That's right, y'all, I did a secret handshake to get into chapter, wore skanky homemade costumes to socials, drank my face off at frat parties and I even bought kitten heels sophomore year for recruitment (because I'm an idiot). Oh, and I met some of the best people in the universe, but that's not the point. The point is, there were a lot of us ladies and that gave us four years and Pledge Classes worth of 21st birthday raging. We were big fans of the 21st birthday sign phenom and even though we kept making them over and over again, it was always a struggle to come up with 21 different ridiculous things to make our poor birthday girl do before blacking out throughout the night. I figured since I will have been 21 for four years now in August and I'm a huge Truth or Dare fan anyway, I might as well share some of my infinite wisdom on the topic.

Pick a shape:
The first and probably hardest part of making a 21st birthday sign is deciding what shape it's going to be. You want it to be personal--a giant wine glass isn't going to cut it. Every girl likes wine, your BFF isn't special in that way. With that being said, a wine glass or other alcoholic bevvie container is an attractive option because it's universal and you can easily fit 21 sentences on it legibly. Still, unless you're making a sign for a girl you've only known for a few days (why would that ever happen?), you probably at least know that she's a weirdo who actually enjoys Smirnoff Ice or that she only drinks boxed wine--it's the details that transform a generic 21st birthday sign into a spectacular one. As a general rule though, steer clear of the clichés and go straight for a quirk or an inside joke that you and all your gal pals share. Is your friend the only person you know who eats Spam on the reg? Perfect, Spam sign it is! Remember that time your friend accidentally drunk dialed her mom and rambled on about leprechauns? Boom. Pot of gold birthday sign.

Just don’t get too ambitious because turning Ryan Gosling’s face into a 21st birthday sign would not only be difficult to execute shape-wise but also you wouldn’t want to mar that facial perfection with 21 menial tasks involving shots. Same goes for other elaborate shapes that end up having you writing at weird angles. You want the sign to be legible and there should be room for check boxes at the end of each task (and on that note, don’t forget to bring the permanent marker out with you on the birthday night—it not only serves as a way to prove mid-hangover that she completed everything the next day, but it also makes for funny albeit vulgar temporary tattoos throughout the night).

Think of 21 tasks:
When thinking of the tasks you are having the birthday girl complete, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The most important thing to remember is it’s her 21st so she’s going to be drunk by the end of the night regardless. Having 21 shots on this sign is really just a waste of dares and could potentially lead to a trip to the hospital. Keep the alcohol related tasks at the beginning of the night when everyone takes a birthday shot and the others could be specific types of people buying them for her, for example, “Take a tequila shot with a ginger” or “Take a whiskey shot in a photo with the bouncer.” Having her take a liquid cocaine shot at the end of the night isn't going to end well for anybody (I know from experience).

The next important thing to remember is to make the tasks photo ready. Someone should constantly be taking pictures obviously, but you want the photos to be funny and not reputation killers, so be sure to tag your BFF in the “Have a guy named John propose to you,” task and maybe delete the “Take a body shot off of the buffest guy you can find” photo. I’m personally a big fan of tasks that are funny and practical, like “#21. Chug two bottles of Gatorade” or “Collect 20 one dollar bills.” Your girl may still be crazy hungover the next day, but at least she’ll be 20 dollars richer and slightly less dehydrated. The rest of the tasks should be personalized and have to do with inside jokes, but..

When in doubt grab some of the following classics:

1. Get 21 spankings
2. Take a photo with a police officer
3. Make out with a stranger
4. Call or text the 21st person in your contacts
5. Take a drink every time someone says “Happy Birthday”
6. Have someone buy you a pizza
7. Get proposed to by a guy named John
8. Collect 20 one dollar bills
9. Take a pickleback shot
10. Start *insert college/football/sorority* chant at the bar
11. Dance on a table any time a Journey song comes on
12. Twerk every time Miley comes on
13. Shotgun a beer
14. Get 21 cheek kisses
15. Speak to the bartender in an accent that is not your own
16. Start a dance train through the bar
17. Find someone with your same name and sing "Happy Birthday" to her
18. Have someone give you a lap dance
19. Try saying the alphabet backwards
20. Chug two bottles of Gatorade and take two Advil before passing out
21. Have the best birthday ever!!! (aka SURVIVE)

How many years have you been celebrating your 21st now? Did you get a sign?


  1. my sorority did this in a book. I was a horrible big and did not make one for my little... i was not good at being in a sorority. i don't even tell people i was haha.

  2. Ahhh I wish I had read this the day you posted it! I turned 21 on the 19th. Some of these would have been so fun!

  3. The 21 you listed would make for an epic day. Can we play this when we turn 30...? Or any birthday for that matter?

  4. What materials do you use to make the sign?

  5. What materials do you use to make the sign?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.
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