Embroidered Felt Banner
This is a party banner you can use for many occasions, year after year. It is sized to hang well in a fair-sized living room or bedroom, but could be made much bigger for a party room or gym.
What you need:
o woolen felt in sheets approximately 8 x 12 inches (from the school store)
o additional woolen felt for letters
o backing fabric (for example, linen)
o embroidery floss
o cotton bias tape
o sewing thread (to match bias tape)
o equipment—scissors, embroidery needle, iron, sewing needle or sewing machine
1. Decide on a word or phrase for your banner—for example, “Joy,” “Peace,” “Breathe,” “Congratulations,” or “Happy Birthday.”
2. For the background pieces for all letters, choose one colour of woolen felt. Each 8 x 12 sheet can be cut into 4 pieces, so you will need 1 sheet for “Joy” (3 pieces and 1 leftover), 2 sheets of the same colour for “Peace,” 4 sheets of the same colour for “Congratulations,” etc. Woolen felt sheets vary in size but each piece will be about 4 x 6 inches.
3. For the letters, choose woolen felt in one or more colours that coordinate with the background pieces. The letters will vary in width but each should be 3 ½ inches tall.
4. Choose a backing fabric and cotton bias tape to coordinate with the felt background pieces and letters. The backing fabric should look good from both sides.
- For each felt background piece, you will need backing fabric that is 2 inches wider and 1 inch longer (so about 6 x 7 inches backing fabric per letter).
- The length of bias tape depends on the number of letters in the banner and their spacing. Leave extra long ends to hang the banner. For 3 letters (“JOY”) spaced with 3 inches between each letter, a bias tape 80 inches long was more than enough.
5. Plan your letters. If the letters will be different colours, plan the sequence of colours—for example, “J” dark green, “O” blue, “Y” light green.
- Find an example of a typeface that you like and sketch each letter as a capital letter 3 ½ inches tall. (I suggest a serif typeface rather than a sans serif typeface—for example, Times New York or Garamond, but not Helvetica or Arial).
- Either trace or draw freehand your letters on felt. If you wish, simplify each letter shape.
- Then cut out each felt letter.
6. Pin each letter to a background piece so that all letters are centred and aligned.
7. With 2-3 strands of embroidery floss, embroider each letter to its background piece. Use either the same stitch and same floss colour for all letters or vary them. (Many web sites have instructions for embroidery stitches. Sublime Stitching is one example http://www.sublimestitching.com/howto.html .)
8. Iron the backing fabric. Pin each background piece to backing fabric with the tops lined up and the felt centred.
9. On a floor or table, arrange the letters in order, with space between each letter, extra space between any words, and long tape ends to hang the banner.
10. Pin the bias tape so it folds over the top of each letter/background/backing fabric combination.
11. Check the letters for order and spacing one more time before sewing (by hand or with a sewing machine) the bias tape to the letter/background/backing fabric combination.
12. Hang the banner and throw a party!