Tuesday, March 3, 2009

banners - birthdays, celebrations, valentines, whatever

I might have too many of these, but I still have plans for more. So, I thought (since there is no stopping me) I would show you how to make them. As usual, this is a simple craft and you could probably figure it out without me...but I like to show you the simple. I tell my friends who have asked, "these are the simplest thing to make, they are just a bit (so be ready) time consuming." I first saw these at my sister in law's house. She had made a multi colored one for her twins carnival party and then hung it in the play room afterwords to add some color. I fell in love with them then and I started to make them for birthday gifts. We pull ours out for every birthday and hang up all the other ones I have made for all the other holidays. Well, like I said, here are the simple directions -

You will need:

-Depending on what you want to spell out - 16 pieces of fabric for "Happy Birthday" (13 for the letters and 3 extra to go in front, back and in between the words) or 10 for "Celebrate" (9 for the letters and 1 extra for the end) or just as many as you want. I usually get the fat quarters (you can get 2 to 3 our of each fat quarter) with the basic polka dots and checks in all colors.

-Felt - black for the letters and multi colors for the cupcakes

-Wonder Under

-Extra Wide (1/2 inch) double fold bias tape (2 pkgs. for "happy birthday" and one for "celebrate"

-Pinking Shears

-triangle pattern that measures 7 inches at the top and 9 inches on each side. I usually have 3 or 4 of these so that I can have a few pinned at a time to make the sewing go quicker.

-a print out of the word "happy birthday" or "celebrate" in your favorite font (the simpler the better) at least 3 inches high on white paper.

1. First I lay the triangle pattern on a piece of fabric that is folded over with wrong sides touching each other. That means you are going to sew on the right side of the fabric. Then, I pin the pattern on and make sure there is at least 1/2 inch all the way around the edge of the triangle for cutting after I sew.

2. Sew all the way around the triangle following the edge of the pattern as your sewing guide.

3. Unpin and use pinking shears (or your new wavy shears) to cut all the way around the triangle 1/2 inch away from the seam. Okay, one down and a million more to go!

4. Once you have sewn all the triangles that you need for the banner, it's time to print out your font for the letters. I choose an easy font because you are going to need to cut it out of felt and the less intricate snips, the better. I go with the georgia font usually. Print out the word "happy birthday" or "celebrate" or whatever you are going with in a size that is at least 3 inches tall. I print out "hapy birthd" since the extra p, a, and y aren't necessary.

5. Take your felt and a piece of Wonder Under (found at any fabric store by the yard - it has a paper backing on one side and a bumpy texture on the other) and iron the Wonder Under texture side down to the piece of felt. The directions come with the Wonder Under.

6. Before I tell you to do this part, let me say that someone must know an easier way to do this, but it's the way I prefer. I know that you can buy the felt letters pre cut in a bag with sticky backs and that can be used, but the letters are a bit small for me. So, this is the way I prefer, but it is a bit time consuming - Take the letter you have printed and lay them on the top of the felt as a pattern. I pin them on and cut them out. The felt is pretty forgiving, so cut it out and remove the paper font and see what it looks like. It usually looks better than you think it will and at this point you can clean it up a bit with your scissors.

7. After you have all your letters cut out, set them aside and lay out your banner. Put the colors in the order that you prefer. Now, if you are spelling out "happy birthday" 16 triangles will allow you to have one extra on each end and one in between "happy" and "birthday." 10 with "celebrate" will allow you one extra on the end. You really can do more or less extra - just do what you like. Take your double fold bias tape and if you are doing the "happy birthday" banner you will need to sew two packages together to make sure it is long enough. "celebrate" will only take one package. Lay each triangle in between the bias tape and pin in place. Zig zag a wide stitch down the center of the bias tape to sew the triangles in place.

9. Now, one at a time peel off the paper back of the Wonder Under on the felt letter and iron, shiny side down. It may take a few times of ironing to make sure that they are adhered.

10. If you want to add cupcakes, now is the time. I adhere Wonder Under to different colors of felt and make sure I have plenty of colors to work with. I cut them out of all different colors. I then lay them out the way I want them to look and iron them all at once -pressing down once to make sure they are at least tacked on and then running the iron over them a little at a time to make sure they are adhered all the way. Here is the template for the cupcake. I drew two (which I am sure look identical to you) because I couldn't decide which one - so you pick.

11. I don't (although I have been known to) applique with stitching the letters, but I do applique the cupcake. I do a mixture of tiny zig zags and straight stitches just to break it up and add some variety.

12. Now you are done and this is where you get excited for the next birthday you are celebrating so that you can hang it up proudly!!!! Here are a few others I have done - here, here, and here.


Melissa {polkadot chair} said...

I'm so glad you posted this... I was wondering how you did the letters... it doesn't seem too bad you could probally cut them out while you sit and watch t.v.
I saw on the moda bakeshop blog they had a tutorail for making a banner using a charm pack.. I thought that was pretty clever.

Unknown said...

Super cute! Thanks for the tutorial!

Jan said...

Thanks for the tutorial - I am definately making these for my children's birthdays this year! P.S. you HAVE to make the Twirly skirt - the tutorial is really easy to follow - I've made two already! Look forward to seeing your next projects :)

Anonymous said...

I loved the tutorial, thanks so much for posting. I do a lot of applique and what I always do is, rather than pinning the picture/letter to the front and trying to work around the fabric and making sure my imago doesn't bunch, I trace the image onto the paper backing and cut it out from there, just remember that you'll have to trace your letters backwards :) I have found this to be way easier and more accurate.

the monkeys' mama said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial! My sister makes these but it is nice to see a step-by-step guide. I love the "Spooky" one, too--great fabric choices!

Brett and Amy said...

Sheesh, you're like a factory over there. I trace the backward letters onto the wonder under also before ironing it onto the felt. It works pretty well. So nice of you to take the time to post a tutorial. You must have 40 hour days instead of the standard 24.

Traci said...

There is an easier way. Trace the letters (backwards) onto WonderUnder. Then cut out a piece of fabric bit enough for each letter. It needs to be slightly bigger the letter. Then iron (instructions come with the wonderUnder) the letter onto the material. Then you can better cut the letter out as it is attached to the felt. Then you remover the backing off the letter from the WonderUnder and then can place/iron it on the banner fabric. Much easier and faster.

Kara said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I used it to make a banner for my nephew tonight. :)

Kristin said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!!!