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How To Make Your Own Fabric Banners

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Raye loved playing dress-up so much that she went on to study costume and makeup for her BA, then got an MFA in surface design.

Flag Holder - great for if you fly flags year-round

Decorations and Signage

Making your own signs and decorations doesn't have to be hard or complex. Crafting a fabric banner can be done easily and it doesn't have to break your budget either. If you are working on something for a group event, it's easy to have a one-day party or get-together and have everyone pitch in a little bit of effort and before you know it, you'll have a fantastic fabric banner to display.

Banners can be painted, glued or sewn which means there's a method for any skill level and means to fit just about any budget. With the graphics possible from a home computer, it's easy to come up with designs and lettering. So no matter if you are having a party, working on a banner for a school event or decorations for a booth display, there's so much you can do yourself.

How to Books for Banner-making

Choosing Your Banner Materials

Felt - When it comes to cheap, versatile, lot of colors, no fraying and easy to glue, there's nothing that gets the job done like felt. Many fabric and art stores sell both yardage and smaller pieces of craft felt. It can be cut and sewn or just glued together.

Cotton - For the most colors and patterns and a great range of textures and weights, you can make a fabric banner from cotton. This will fray, so it will need to be hemmed, but it can be relatively lightweight and is fairly easy to wash if you make something that gets used a lot. This is a great option if you want to do something with iron-on decorations.

Nylon - If you are making a banner that needs to stand up to heavier use and/or weather, it's often a good idea to go with nylon. This offers a lightweight material that is very strong. This will fray, so it will need to be hemmed. Doesn't glue as easily as natural materials. This material is more flammable than a natural one, so you may want to apply fire-retardant if that consideration is part of your situation.

Other Fabrics - In the end, just about any fabric could be used. The most important things to consider are

  1. Is this a long-term investment or just a one-off event?
  2. Is this indoors or outdoors? Will this banner need to be cleaned or reused?
  3. How is this banner going to be hung up? (this really needs to be considered from the very beginning)
  4. What method are you going to use to decorate it?

Garden Flag Poles

Decorating and Embellishing Your Banner

Painting - If you need something simple and don't want to spend a lot on materials, painting a fabric banner can be the way to go. To make it work, you need to be able to stretch your banner background tight so that the surface becomes easier to paint. Drawback: this method does not allow for mistakes or easy fixes.

Applique - This means that decorations and words are cut out of fabric and then attached to the background. This can be done simply or as complicated as you'd like, and works for both gluing down the pieces to be applied or sewing them on. The sewing method allows for the most changes and adjustments as applied pieces can be removed and reattached or replaced.

Fusing - This technique involves using special iron-on material to attach the decorations to the background. It can go a lot faster than sewing time-wise but it will cost a bit more for materials and you can't edit/change things once they have been fused together.

Painted Banners

Making An Applique Banner

This easy-to-make banner features letters which were stenciled onto felt, cut out and then glued onto the fabric background.

This easy-to-make banner features letters which were stenciled onto felt, cut out and then glued onto the fabric background.

Designing Your Banner - Before you even start to buy materials for your banner, it's a good idea to plan the entire thing out. This will help you save money and stick to a budget when it comes to buying supplies and it will save you time when it comes to making the actual banner. Butcher paper is great for making a life-size paper version of your fabric banner.

Lettering - The home computer has made this really easy.  You can print out the wording you need for your banner on paper, using whatever font you like.  Then after you print your phrases or sayings at the size you need, you simply cut out the letters and can then easily trace them onto the banner (for painting) or onto fabric (for applique). 

Making Applique Easier - If you are doing glued or sewn applique, pin everything in place before you attach it more permanently. That way you can check the layout and make sure you like how it looks.

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Think About Hanging It Up - You can sew on cords, or put grommets in the corners or along edges to make your banner easier to hang. If the banner is for a specific spot, then you'll know how best you can attach it. If the banner is going to be taken to various places and you don't always know how it might be hung up, make sure to design it so that you have some options.

Hanging Banners In Windy Spots - A big piece of fabric that gets hung up in the wind will act like a sail, which can rip down the banner or cause it to knock over other things. By making a variety of small slits all over the banner, this allows the breeze to pass through the fabric and will make it not act like a sail so much. You may have to work the slits into the layout so that they are spread evenly over the surface without ruining any of the design elements.

Felt Banner

Share Your Best Banner Tips and Tricks!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 12, 2015:

I'm using a few of these tricks on some new curtains...

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 11, 2015:

great ideas on the fabric banners, I should do that for my dining table runners

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on July 29, 2012:

Never thought about making my own a banner. It gives me a few ideas but I'm already behind on my quilt making, unfortunately.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 29, 2012:

Sorry but speaking as someone with a textile degree, if you want me to do all your design work for you, you'll have to hire me.

Kathy on May 29, 2012:

Sorry, but this was way too general for me. I'm sewing a banner and I need it in two days (unfortunately). I need to know what kind of stitches/hem to use. I'm using cotton/poly; the design is not too difficult, but does include a diagonal stripe. Should I use a French hem? Seems to me that would be strongest. At this point, I probably will, but how do I measure for that hem style? Do I use a straight stitch, zig-zag, or hand stitch? I will also include a self-fabric applique. How do I attach that? and how do I cut the applique afterward so it shows on the reverse side? I guess I'm on my own, as trying to find help on computer is taking time I don't really have. Thanks, anyway.

Arif on April 30, 2012:

very useful information, and when we can find lot of time for many useless activities like...... unhh you know well, I don't wana mention here, why can't we find time for such a nice activity or project. If you really wants to do anything you can find time and anything you wants. I love to engage myself in such projects.

thanks hub

L M Reid from Ireland on April 24, 2012:

Very easy instructions on how to make a fabric banner. I make a lot of craft items but have not tried any banners yet. Might give this activity a try

Thanks for SHARING. Up and awesome

shally on January 26, 2012:

wow.....this is going to be a great help for me....i have got this assignment.....this is surely going to help me fetch good marks...........

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 09, 2011:

ida, ask the people who are going to help you for ideas as they know what sort of event you are having.

ida on December 09, 2011:

im looking for an idea to make a banner for the 16days event for tomorrow, the women that we work with are going to help me wirh the layout.

Liz Goltra on May 10, 2011:

Great, information-packed hub. Voted up. Thanks for posting!

Nishant Shah from Greer SC USA on December 30, 2010:

it's a nice banners. we also use vinyl materiel for making a banners which are used in party and other functions.

Birthday Banners

tnderhrt23 on November 08, 2010:

This is a very well written, thorough hub! I have done some banner work, mostly out of felt and burlap. This has inspired me to consider broadening my horizons! Great job!

ss sneh from the Incredible India! on June 12, 2010:

Hi! Very useful info!

I know little bit about banner creation in graphic designing, but not a real banner. Good ideas --Thanks

Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on May 21, 2010:

I have made many reverse applique flags and these other ieas are great!! makes me want to do a few more again...I use nylon flag material and those chinook flags are asking to be copied lol great article thank you/love to you bb

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on April 13, 2010:

being a crafter this really sounds like something that i can get into.

DXmusic on April 13, 2010:

Wow... I am very much interested in doing these type of work. I am having a project so your article is going to help getting high score. thanks

a2z50 on April 09, 2010:

Wonderful detail you have put together on this Hub. I'm in a family of quilters and boy is there details involved. Just not for me . I don't have the patience. Oh well.

Thank You for this work


As Always Also Rprcarz50

Cherri Brown-Jett from Richmond on April 05, 2010:

This is a great idea. Gives us something else to do with the kids. They like to stay busy. Especially the little ones. Thanks.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on April 05, 2010:

I have different flags I hand out for each months, some time for each mood I might be in. It's just another way to welcome folks as they drive by your home. Great hub

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on April 03, 2010:

Such a wonderful useful hub!! Rated up! :)

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on April 03, 2010:

Now for a hub on how to find the time to do this! Sounds like fun!

gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on April 03, 2010:

Great, this was really inspiring, all I need now is an excuse to find some time to make one

Katie McMurray from Ohio on April 02, 2010:

R, WOW this is fun and just the thing for a spring break activity. Thanks for the super ideas on fabric banners. Peace :)

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