Well, it’s been a looong hiatus, with vacation, sickness, and much lethargy… but I’m finally back! To kick things off, I thought I’d treat you to a nice, long post featuring a project I’ve been wanting to do for years: seasonal tabletop banners! I pitched this idea in a previous blog post here, but I just got around to making them.
This is a great project with no “one right way” to do it. If you’ve got a flag stand, use it; if not, you can make your own. If you want to do this as a project with family or Sunday School, you can use construction paper, stickers, or anything you like. Or try it with fabric at home or with your quilting group! You’ll find it’s so easy that once you try it, you’ll want to make one for every season (which is the idea)!
For the banner stand and the rod that holds the banners, I used two different kinds of doweling, both available at the local dollar store.
I just shaped a little holder for the large dowel out of Sculpey clay and baked it (which is why it’s burnt here). You can always paint it or cover it with paper afterwards! Shape it however you like, as long as its base and “neck” is sturdy enough to hold your doweling upright. If you’re doing the project with kids, make the stands ahead of time so you can just focus on the fun of designing the banners!
For paper banners that mimic the look of rich velvet fabric, I chose to use Velvet Paper. It comes in many colors. You can also get scrapbooking paper that has a flocked or metallic pattern on it that mimics brocade. Plain paper works just as well. Cut it to a shape that will allow a little space on either side of the small dowel, and will hang at the desired length on the holder, with extra space at the top.
Wrap the top of the paper over the small bit of doweling and adhere on the back. I glued mine in place, but tape is okay. You want this part to be well-bonded. Just be conscious of how your chosen adhesive will affect the way the paper hangs (lots of gloppy glue could cause warping).
Now that you have your canvas, the fun begins! Here are some supplies that you can have fun playing with to design banners. For symbols, pictures, and images, try stickers, appliques (Hobby Lobby and other craft stores have excellent cross appliques), small cards with religious imagery, or felt shapes. Dazzles (shown on the left) are a kind of metallic sticker used in card-making and scrapbooking that creates a nice effect, and there are cross- and faith-themed ones.
Stickers are good for lettering, too. I like Pioneeer’s gold letter stickers because they’re inexpensive, available everywhere, and feature a small but legible serif font that’s very attractive. They also come in black and silver.
German Dresden scraps are great for borders, and sometimes images. The ones in this picture are shell borders. They also come in many styles and colors.
Doilies and gold paper frames can set off images nicely, too.
Trims are lots of fun! Find ribbons that mimic brocade, or inexpensive ribbon rolls that look like hanging tassels. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try jeweled trims.
I’m using this red banner for Reformation Day. I chose a metallic paper Dresden border that looks like tassel, a small Dresden decorative medallion, part of a gold doily, some blue metallic paper, a white crocheted flower, a felt heart with a black cross on it, and gold letter stickers. Everything’s held on with a bit of glue.
When your banner is decorated and dry, tie a string or elastic on either end of the banner’s small dowel. If you happen to find your string slips, it can be held in place with a bit of glue.
I have this banner’s string balanced on top of the holder here, but it’s easy to make it a bit more steady by cutting a notch in the top for the string to sit in, or putting a bit of eraser on top with a notch in it, or even baking another little piece of Sculpey that will do the job you want!
Here’s a white Easter banner. The Agnus Dei sticker is a Jolee’s Boutique one (I think), and it makes for nice banner decoration because it’s felt, which give it a realistic touch.
Finally, display your new banner on your home altar table, in a bedroom, or anywhere you’ll see it! A fun project for commemorations throughout the church year. 🙂