Happy Birthday Banner

They’ll know as soon as they walk in the door and see this cheerful banner that a fun time is soon to follow!

From Sandy Gervais’ Objects of Desire, I used:
one Layer Cake (10 inch squares)
and one Charm Pack (5 inch squares)


half yard white fabric
Heat N Bond, or other iron on adhesive

smaller pompom trims, dress trims, buttons, ric rac, fabric yoyo’s

You will be making 14 individual pennants—the 13 letters that spell HAPPY BIRTHDAY plus one that will act as a space between the 2 words. Select 14 ten inch squares from the layer cake. Trim the squares down to 5.5 inches by 8 inches. Select 14 five inch squares from the charm pack (these will be used for the letters). Lay the pennants and coordinating letter fabrics out in a way that pleases you.

Cut 14 five inch squares of the Heat N Bond

and iron them on to the backs of the five inch squares.

I own a die cut alphabet set, and used it to make the letters for this banner, but here is an alternative way to produce your letters. In whatever computer program you have at home (I’ve always used MS Publisher) create a letter 4 inches tall and mirror image it (flip it backwards). Pick a font that has some width to it. Print on copy paper. Do this for each letter needed. Now create a sandwich in the following order: fabric wrong side up (Heat N Bond paper facing you), dressmaker’s carbon paper (ink side down), and finally; right side up, the paper with the backwards printed letter.

Trace over the letter with a pen, which transfers the marking to your project

Cut out and peel off paper back. Iron it on to it’s coordinating pennant.

From the white fabric, cut 14 rectangles 5.5″ by 8″. This is for the backing (or lining). Pin a white backing fabric to each lettered pennant, right sides together. Sew 1/4” seam up the two long sides.

Turn inside out and press. TIP: I got a fast and accurate straight edge press by inserting a piece of cardstock like this (use steam + be quick = no burning)

Now lay them out in order and play around with placement of different trims and edgings. Sew trims in place. TIP: from this point on I use clear monofilament thread in the upper position and white bobbin thread. That way I don’t have to keep changing thread colors.

Next you will attach the individual pennants to the long piece of pom pom trim. Find the center of the trim piece and the center of your saying (in this case the center is between the B and the I in Birthday) and begin attaching each pennant. You could pin and then sew on the machine, but I get much better results by running a quick basting seam. If you do it in the same color as the trim you won’t even have to bother with pulling it out later.

I found myself using Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue for a few things as seen in the next picture. The buttons on top of the fabric yo yos, applying the yo yos themselves to the pennants, applying the three layered button (on the T) to the fabric, and finishing the edges of the thick green pom pom trim for added security. It was dry enough to work around within 10 minutes. The smaller buttons I sewed by hand.

The amount of embellishments you choose to use is all a matter of personal taste. Here are a couple of close ups for a few ideas

Notice on the D pennant in this next picture I used the scrap strip from a scallop rotary blade cut as a trim piece

If you hang this throughout the year for various family members birthdays you could even start it with no embellishments but keep adding small pictures and mementos here and there as the years go by.

There will be enough fabric for two banners (give one to a friend!) with plenty leftover to brighten up your scrap stash. Approximately six feet long, not including extra length of trim on each side.

Come visit me at my blog! jen duncan

28 comments on “Happy Birthday Banner

  1. Very cute Jen, good job!

  2. Jackie says:

    Love it, very sweet!

  3. jlk says:

    I can sense a run on this fabric! I have been wanting to make one of thes for a long time.

  4. Natalie says:

    This is so great! I love it! Thanks for the great ideas.

  5. madrekarin says:

    Darling! We are using Objects of Desire for our next strip club quilt. I’m happy to have had a sneak peek at it. 🙂

  6. Amanda says:

    This is adorable!

  7. PunkiePie says:

    I’m going to make one for my daughter’s birthday this summer. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  8. Micki says:

    Wonderful banner and tutorial. Wish that I could be there.Micki

  9. jabeybaby says:

    So cute, I love it!!

  10. Jen how totally cute just like you!

  11. Sheri Howard says:

    That is the Best Banner!!! I love it! Thanks for the pattern and tutorial…I must make one!

  12. Lisa L. says:

    beautiful – what a great idea!

  13. Adorable cute! Every little girl and boy (and lots of big girls and boys) will certainly want one of these for their special day!

  14. Joanna Wilde says:

    what die cut machine is your favorite! I want to make some banners, but the die cut machine would be so much more convenient!

  15. BrendaLou says:

    Cute, cute, cute! congrats on such an awsome job, Jen!

  16. Now how cute is that! Adorable! ooxx`jodi

  17. Jen you’ve done it again! Love it. What great techniques you have and spectacular ideas.

  18. Carrie P. says:

    Wow, love on the details on this banner. Very cute.

  19. LilyHaven says:

    I loooove that banner!!! Thank you for the tuturial. 🙂Shannon

  20. mamamia says:

    i love this! so bright and cheerful!

  21. Sharon says:

    Great job Jen!!! I love it!!

  22. happy zombie says:

    So I’m reading… seeing… loving… thinking… THIS IS SO CUTE and SO JEN. Jen MUST SEE this project. Jen will SO LOVE this. Who ever designed/made it… even has a DARLING house like Jen. And then I get to “designed by Jen Duncan”. OMG… but OF COURSE it’s you! Love the banner, love you, and huge smile on my face when I saw your name! xom

  23. Melissa says:

    What die cut machine did you use? I own a cricut but not sure if I can cut fabric. I love this idea!

  24. both my girls birthdays are in 2 weeks. i NEED to make one of these!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s