In my house, banners are the celebratory standard. That is not to say that I make the same style every time, but I do make some type for every party or holiday. They bring the room from Zero to Festive instantly.
Last day of school? Banner..
New Years? Banner.
Father’s Day? Banner.
Birthday? Banner, of course!
I have made some pendant style, some circular, some square, one a non-standard hexagon to mimic robot joints (for Ethan’s Mighty Robot Birthday... still not sure if I'm happy with it or not). But the style I love most of all is the Flag style.
I am not sure if that’s the common name for this type of banner, but it’s what I think makes sense. If you know the official name please share in the comments so I can stop making things up and looking like a fool.
For me, the best part is each of them have all cost me less than 8 bucks and I didn't have to buy an expensive cutting machine to make them.
For Maddie’s Princess Party I knew where I would be hanging her banner and it wasn’t all that wide of a space. So I made it with her name and age only. I made a separate ‘Happy Birthday’ sign crafted to look like an ornate decoration that would hang above it.
Here are the supplies I used:
Here are the tools I used:
Go ahead and laugh at my old school scrapbooking supplies, circa 2000. It’s cool. These babies have served me well! The oldest is the 12” paper cutter, followed closely behind by the orange circle stencil, clear cutting mat, and the clear handle blade. 15 YEARS, 8(?) scrapbooks, countless party decorations, and a handful of handmade cards. That’s a pretty good investment.
Below is the Short and Sweet set of directions for those of you in a hurry or willing to just figure it out mostly on your own. Continue on to All the Details for, well, all the details.
The Short and Sweet:
1. Decide what you want your banner to say, make one rectangle per letter. Cut a wide triangle out from the bottom of each.
2. Cut a smaller set of rectangles to layer on top of the first set of rectangles. Cut a wide triangle out from the bottom of each of these, too.
3. Cut circles to place in the center of each layered rectangle.
4. Use stickers or precut lettering in center of the circle pieces.
5. Punch a hole near the corner of each layered rectangle. Starting with the last piece of your banner, thread a ribbon through the holes.
6. Hang and celebrate!
All the Details:
1. Make the Bottom Layer for Each Piece
Cut the labels off of all your scrapbooking papers.
Start with the paper that will be the bottom layer of your banner. I chose an alternating pattern, so I have the dark pink and purple flower sheets here.
Measure the halfway point across the top and bottom (horizontal planes) of the paper. This seems like as good a time as any to break the bad news: Your paper will probably not be a perfect 12x12. Just as in sewing, the width of the fabric that is listed on the bolt may be off plus or minus 2 inches on the facric itself, scrapbook paper can be off a couple of millimeters. Annoying, I know. Try not to freak out about it. You can always trim later.
Use your paper cutter (or scissors) to cut it in half along the marking you just made.
Measure every 4 inches along the vertical sides of both pieces.
Cut along those markings to make six 4" x 6" pieces.
Do the same for your other sheet that is to be the bottom layer. If you have obsessive compulsive tendencies, now is a good time to check the sizes of your pieces and trim any that are not perfectly cut.
2. Make The Middle Layer for Each Piece
Measure every 5.5 inches along the top and bottom (vertical planes) of your paper.
Cut along those lines.
Measure every 3.5inches along the vertical sides of each piece, except the skinny one. That one is a scrap.
Now cut along the markings you just made. You should have six 3.5" x 5.5" inches pieces and 2 skinny pieces. The two smallies are scraps.
Do the same with the other middle layer paper. Again, this is the time to trim if you want them all to be exactly the same size.
3. Transform the rectangles into flags.
Here is where things start to get interesting. No more boring rectangles!
Start with your stack of bottom layer pieces. Turn one face down and mark the halfway point along the bottom. Then, starting at that mark, draw a line straight up about 1-1.5 inches. (Mine is 1 inch, for reference.) This will be how high the indent of the flag is.
Now draw lines from the top of that center vertical line you just made out to each of the corners.
Cut long those lines.
Wahoo! Looks pretty fun and festive, doesn’t it?! Now use that piece as a stencil to trace on the back sides of all the other 4" x 6" pieces. (Mine are right side up so that you can see what’s going on.)
Grab your stack of 3.5" x 5.5" pieces and follow the same steps to make them flag shaped as well.
4. Make the top layer of the banner.
Use your circular cutting tools or scissors to cut 3 inch circles from your paper for the top layer. Because I have an alternating color pattern I punched 6 light pink and 6 light purple.
So here’s what you have so far:
That should be a total of 12 bottom layer flag pieces, 12 middle layer flag pieces, 12 circles.
Here comes the fun part!
Lay out your pattern.
Once that’s done you can start adding your letters or numbers to the center of the circles. (I prefer to add lettering at this point versus after the middle and bottom layers are already together in case I change my mind about the pattern once I see the lettering. Not that I would change my mind at the last minute or anything. I am so much more together than that.)
Now is a good time to mention that I use stickers for my lettering because I get really tired of looking at my own writing. I throw a lot of parties, friends. But you do need to be really careful if you use stickers because most of the time they are way too small for a project like this. If you have the disposable income, I hear Cricut machines are the way to go. If you have ever perused the birthday party decorations on Etsy, you have probably seen a project that was made with a Cricut.
But if you are like me and you don’t have an extra $250+ to drop on something you’ll use a couple of times a year, you can still make a beautiful decoration with a little measuring and planning. Shop for alphabet stickers that are about 2'' tall , simple, and a rather wide font, or try to find letter cutouts that match your theme (in the school supplies aisle in craft stores), or (worst case scenario), print out some lettering on your home computer. I say worst case because my printer makes me want to go Office Space on it everytime I use it.Then again, it was free. So there's that.
Don’t forget to flip over the circle and press down firmly to help the sticker fully attach to the paper.
Attach the circle to the middle layers using either a glue stick or some type of double sided tape. Flip over and press down to help the layers bond.
Place the (now attached) top and middle pieces and center them on the bottom layer pieces..Flip over and press down.
Keeping your pieces in order, because it makes it so much easier, punch a hole near the upper left and right hand corners of the assembled flag pieces.
Last step, here we go!
Take your stack of flag pieces and turn them face down. You are going to thread the ribbon through them in reverse order.
Start with the last piece, flip it right side up, insert the ribbon from the topside down into the right hole. Keeping the ribbon behind the flag, pull it along the underside of the flag and insert it up through the hole on the left side. Pull until the ribbon stops moving.
Continue threading all the pieces in this way. You may run out of ribbon and have to move each piece to the right individually to make room.
Ta-daaah! You did it! Look how pretty and festive!
For the party I hung it with some beautiful tissue paper flowers and pinwheels for a fancy display.
All for less than $7. You are looking at a price point of around $25-$30 to purchase a custom banner like this! And you could definitely get it done during naptime.
Okay, you probably know what’s coming…
If you made a banner recently, we want a pic! Post it to the Flickr group, friend!
Happy crafting. And whatever you make, make it yours!
Here are some other tutorials you might enjoy: