How to Make a Fabric Banner

Fabric banners that show Biblical truths or ideas are a beautiful way to decorate your home. On a larger scale they are lovely additions to a congregational setting. Banners can be hung on a wall, stood in a stand, processed during a Feast Day observance or during times of praise and worship. They are graphical images of spiritual truths and they remind us of the word of Yahweh.

Size

Banners come in all sizes from small to large. Most can be made as no-sew or require very little sewing. Banners made as wall décor for inside your home are smaller than ones that are usually made for a congregational setting. If you have never made an indoor banner before we suggest that you start with any of the following finished sizes:

  • 20” by 30” – nice rectangular banner
  • 24” by 36” – nice rectangular banner
  • 16” or 18” by 55” – a long narrow banner

You will need to cut your fabric longer and wider so that you can finish the edges and have room for the dowel rod casing at the top. We typically fold back a 1/4 to 1/2 inch on both of the vertical sides and the bottom edge, so we cut our fabric width to reflect that extra half to an inch. The top casing that holds the dowel rod is usually deep enough to accommodate a wooden closet rod or curtain rod. At the time of this post I don’t know the diameter of the rod, but I will edit this post once I have that information.

Shapes

Most banners are rectangular in shape but the bottom edge can be finished in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common bottom edge treatments:

Square Bottom Inverted Cut Pointed Bottom
     
Curved Bottom Dog Eared Bottom Over Lapped Bottom
     

Fabrics

Banners  can be made out of a wide variety of fabrics that include: upholstery, taffeta, satins, linen, silk, broadcloth, drapery, lame, crushed velvet, flag bunting, nylon sail cloth, nylon parachute fabric, cotton quilt fabrics, felt, specialty bridal and prom fabrics and just about any fabric that you want to use.

Some people like to collect used party dresses, evening and prom gowns because of the beautiful fabrics and trims that are used on garments of this sort. They ask for donations or purchase them in second hand stores. Most often they dis-assemble them, saving the trims, beads, embellishments, lace, and fabric for use on future banners.

Embellishments

Embellishments can be added to banners to enhance their beauty. Some embellishments outline letters and large design elements and others are simply enhancements such as veining in small leaves. Some suggested items include:

  • Sequins
  • Metallic fabric paint
  • Glitter
  • Fabric paint
  • Design elements made out of shiny metallic fabric like Tissue Lame or other fabrics
  • Fabric trims and ribbons
  • Sequin trims
  • Lace appliques or embellishments
  • Buttons, stones, plastic gems

Lettering

We type the lettering that we want on our computer using a word processing program or graphic design program. We make the letters the size we want or as large as possible fitting one letter on each page. Then we print them out. If you need letters larger than you can get on a computer, you can enlarge them on a copy machine.

Then we cut out each letter and use it as a template to trace around on the fabric chosen for the lettering. Each letter is cut out of the fabric and glued in place. Sometimes we use two layers of contrasting fabric to give the letters more depth. If desired, you can glue around each letter with sequins that are already threaded together as a sew able trim. Or you can use fabric paint in squeeze tube bottles to draw around the outside edge of each letter. This gives them a finished look and helps to secure them to the background fabric. On smaller banners the lettering can be painted on using a brush and metallic fabric paint or the new paint markers.

Design Elements

Each banner should have a clear and understandable theme or message. Most utilize at least one design element and most have more than one. This Yahweh banner is a narrow and long shape with only one design element, the tetragramaton using a Hebrew font, spelling Yahweh (Yod Hey Vav Hey) in a vertical format. It uses only two colors blue and white which both have biblical symbolism.

The Torah is Life banner incorporates both Hebrew and English lettering and a stylized pomegranate bush with pomegranates embellished with sequins, fabric paint and plastic gems that are glued in place. To learn more about how we made this banner follow this link:Creating the Torah is Life Banner.

Shabbat Banner

This small Shabbat banner uses simple block quilting piece work as the border design. The center panel is a light colored fabric that has pomegranates and Hebrew lettering which were applied using fabric paint. We used several shades of paint and a brush to do this and we layered the colors to give it more depth.  This banner  was designed to double as a Challah cover when not hanging on the wall.

 

 

We look for imTorah is life banner - pomegranates close upages of things that we want on our banners. Children’s coloring books are good resources and so is the internet. You can do a search of children’s coloring pages online or use a search engine to look for graphics or photographs that you can use as patterns. Often this items need to be enlarged on a photo copier or on a computer. Example: pomegranates. We do an image search on google and look for photos or graphics of pomegranates that we like, then print them out. We use a photocopier to enlarge or reduce them to the size that we want. Then we cut them out and pin them to the fabric like patterns and cut out the shapes from the fabric. Red for the pomegranate, green leaf, brown stems that were made from strips of fabric that we cut, etc.

Sewing

For indoor banners sewing is optional and most can be made with no sewing involved. The no-sew method is actually the best because you can do more detailed work and there is no puckering, which, can happen when items are sewn together on a banner.

We like to finish the edges on all sides of our banners by folding the edge over ¼ inch and sewing along the selvage or cut edge. Many others like to glue this edge down – either way works great.

The dowel or rod pocket (casing) at the top of the banner can be completed in both ways mentioned above. You will need to allow enough space to accommodate the size dowel/rod you will be using plus an extra ¾ of an inch. This extra fabric makes the opening slightly larger and allows you to thread the dowel/rod through the pocket with ease. We like to sew the pocket but others just use a good line of glue along the bottom of the pocket and allow it to dry over night.

That is usually the only sewing we use, unless the banner is to be displayed outside. Outdoor banners must be sewn together so that they can withstand the wind and rain. We have two banners that were specifically made to use out doors. Both of them were sewn together and both used only flag bunting fabric. A good source that we like for this type of fabric is:http://www.beaconfabric.com/vindex.html?cat10.htm .

The Yahweh banner pictured above is made from this type of fabric and is sewn together as is our Sukkot Rejoice banner. We will post about making this banner in coming weeks on our blog. But until then here is a photo – all of the design elements were cut out and machine sewn to the background fabric.

Glue, A Banner Makers Best Friend

Tacky glue or the heavy duty tacky glue is the brand that we use. It comes in a gold squeeze bottle with a pointed tip applicator. You want to use just enough glue to firmly hold your pieces in place and to affix around all of the edges so that they lay flat. It is helpful to apply the glue and then allow it to set up a bit before affixing that piece of fabric in its place.

Have you made a fabric banner that expresses a Biblical principle or truth for your home or congregation?

Please share with us, we’d love to know more.

Blessings,

Posey's signature


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