Felt Birthay Banner

August 30, 2011

Hello world!  My electricity just came back on this morning, and I feel like I am rejoining the modern age again.  We were lucky to have no damage from Hurricane Irene (actually just a tropical storm by the time it hit us in New England), other than being without power for 2 days.  It has been fine, other than the sad loss of some of the contents of my fridge and freezer.  Since we have both a gas stove and hot water heater, it really hasn't been too tricky having our power out.  It's just like camping really, except I got to sleep in my own bed, and more importantly, the kids slept in their own beds too.

Right before the storm was the only thing on our minds around here, we celebrated a birthday for one of our two boys.  It's birthday season at our house, and within a month, both the kids will turn a year older, and I will be embarking on my 30's.  On the morning of the first birthday, I was up early with the little one, and decided to start a project that has been on my list for a few years now.  I've seen lots of cute happy birthday banners all over blogs and etsy for a long time now, and I thought it would be fun to make one that we can use for all the birthdays.  I had a stack of nice wool felt, and I just got to work.

It feels silly to make a tutorial about how to make something so simple, but here is what I did to make mine.

1. Cut out 14 triangles. 
Each of my triangles measures 5" across and also 5" from bottom to top.  I cut the side edges with pinking shears, but since it's felt, it's just for decoration.  If you were using a woven fabric, you would want to be sure and do this (or sew two together and turn them inside out) to keep your edges from fraying.  To make things easy for yourself, make a template from a piece of a cereal box first, and trace each triangle before cutting it out.     

2. Make Your Letters.
I used Word to make my letters, and used PRINCETOWN LET font, size 200.  The letters were just shy of 2" tall (1 7/8") and this was just the right size.  After I printed out my page, I cut out each letter, and then traced them each onto white felt.  This part is the most tedious, but stick with it, because it really doesn't take that long.

3. Sew on the Letters. 
You could use glue, but I choose to sew everything because I think it looks nicer.  This also took me a few minutes, and I cursed myself a little for choosing a block font (with a million pivot points), but I love the way the block letters look.  I'm happy I stuck with it. 

4. Attach it all Together. 
I had a long piece of 1" wide red satin ribbon that I ironed in half, but double fold bias tape would also be nice.  My piece of ribbon was about 8 1/2 feet long, but longer would be helpful so you have a little more space at each end to string it up.  I just used a simple zig-zag stitch to sew the ribbon in half, and was careful to catch both edges and the felt triangles. 

And there you go, the easiest thing ever to make.  I know there are fast ways of doing something similar (gluing everything together), but I wanted to make something that looks great and will last us through this birthday season and for many more to come.  After I finished, my husband and I both agreed that it would be better for photos to make a separate banner for each word, but I like it this way too!

What do you do at your house to make birthdays special?  Do you have any traditions that you repeat for each family member?  I try and make a special supper (dinner for you Americans) that the birthday boy or girl chooses.  My four year old picked his favourite food - thin crust pizza with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, tomatoes, and a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Yum. 

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