Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's a nice opportunity to surprise your loved ones with sweet gestures. But if Valentine's Day isn't exactly your cup of tea, a nice handmade felt banner is a cool decoration that will brighten anybody's day. All you need to do is choose the right message for a fun statement on your wall. Or you could just use our sunshine-y message. Read on for the how-to.
- 1 square metre (1,550 square inches) of felt fabric (in the colour of your choice) or about 9 A4 sheets of felt (in various colours).
- 3 metres (120 inches) of white ribbon or binding tape.
- Iron and iron-on hemming tape (or a sewing machine).
- Pair of scissors.
- Sewing pins.
- Pin cushion.
- A4 paper.
Step 1: Choose a Message and Print It
Decide on your text message for the banner. I chose the phrase, "You are my sunshine". Compose your phrase on the computer and print out the letters. You can fit two letters on A4 paper in a landscape (horizontal) layout. I also added three asterisks between the words in my phrase. You could also use hearts as a cute motif. It's essential to use a simple, easy-to-cut font where the letters have straight edges (particularly on top of each letter), so avoid rounded fonts. Using a font with outlined letters will also save you some ink.
Step 2: Trace the Phrase
Trace the letters on to white A4 paper. Handwriting will enhance the handmade look of the banner and any slight flaws will add to the charm. The printed letters will guide you to keep the correct general dimensions, as well as ensuring the straight line on top.
Step 3: Cut Roughly Around Each Letter
Cut roughly around each letter. There's no need to be too precise about it.
Step 4: Place Letters on Felt
Place all the letters on felt and position them so that you use up all of the space (and save on material!). If you have the quantity of felt suggested, it will be more than enough. I only used slightly more than half of the fabric, but it really depends on your chosen phrase. Try placing your letters along the edge of your fabric so that you have some straight cuts ready.
Step 5: Cut Felt into Squares
Now, cut the felt into squares slightly larger than the letters.
Step 6: Pin Letters on the Felt Squares
Using the sewing pins, pin your letters on the felt squares. Try to keep them as straight as possible. Use as many pins needed to keep them in place.
Step 7: Cut Out the Letters
Now cut around each letter, using the paper letter as a guide. This time your cutting needs to be a bit more precise.
For letters like A, B, D, O, etc. there is the tricky inner outline. First make a hole with your scissors right at the center of the area to be cut. If your scissors aren't sharp enough to punch the felt, use a sharper tool like an awl.
From there, start carefully cutting around the inner outline of the letter.
Once you've cut all the letters (it took me a while as I chose a comparatively big phrase) remove all the sewing pins. Keep the felt letters and recycle the paper patterns. You could keep some of the big felt leftovers for small details on other projects.
Step 8: Place the Letters in the Right Order
Now place all your letters in the right order to form your phrase. I needed to use the floor for this step as my table was not big enough.
Step 9: Attach to the Ribbon
There are two ways to attach the letters to the ribbon. You can sew the letters on the ribbon using a sewing machine. In case you don't have a sewing machine and you don't wish to spent the next two days sewing your letters by hand, just use an iron-on hemming tape (a fusible fleece which bonds fabrics when heated) to attach the letters to the ribbon.
First lay your ribbon on your working surface and place your letters in the correct order on top of it. If you are using the iron-on method, place the hemming tape on top of your ribbon before positioning the letters.
You can use a ruler or measuring tape to check that the letters are equidistant from each other.
Fold the ribbon in two, so that it contains the top of your letter (and the iron-on hemming tape). Now, pin your letters in place.
If you're using a sewing machine, sew the letters on to the ribbon. Remove your sewing pins successively while sewing.
Otherwise, if you're using the iron-on hemming tape, iron on each letter individually.
Step 10: Hang and Correct Gravity Issues
Hang your banner on the walls using nails or tape. Check the way it looks. If you have letters like S, for instance, you might have some gravity issues, meaning the letter hangs in a slightly wonky fashion. Correct this by hand-stitching some thread to support the letter in the right position, as pictured above. Use white thread, so that it's not so visible.
Step 11: Surprise Your Loved One!
Now that your garland is hanging perfectly on the wall, it's time to surprise your loved one with your Valentine message. Hope it works! And Happy Valentine's Day.
Have you tried making your own banner before? We'd love to hear about it - just use the comments section below.