Banners and pennants with wool felt word appliques can be a fun project to complete with scraps of materials. In this post I’ll be showing you how I recently created a word banner for a hard-to-shop-for friend.
When you aren’t sure what to gift someone, gifting them words is one way to create a thoughtful gift without spending much money. You can do this with words spoken or written a card, but I chose to do it in my favorite media – wool felt.
I think this project would be beautiful to do with words that you wish to give to a person, words that might encourage them. In this case, my friend had chosen a “word for the year” and so I used her chosen word – fulfill- as the word to put on her banner.
This project is sort of a modern play on the iconic 1950s varsity pennants, which were also constructed from wool felt. Choosing materials that will stand the test of time pays off in the long run.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED:
Preferably a wool or wool blend for the best look and durability.
When I make these banners, I actually use military blankets. These medium weight wool blankets can be picked up at Army surplus stores for $10-$15 (cheaper than purchasing woolen material by the yard at a craft store). However, because these blankets are woven and will unravel unless hemmed at the edges there are only suitable for the background, not the lettering or flowers. To avoid the extra time hemming, substitute double thick wool felt for the blanket.
STEPS FOR CREATING YOUR PENNANT
1. Pick a size for your final project. I like to create a template by taking a large sheet of paper (wrapping paper works), folding it in half, and creating a template by drawing lines with a ruler. Any design works but I chose a pentagon that drops to a point.
2. Next, before you touch fabric, design your letters. I like to use Microsoft Publisher to create a giant document appropriate to the size of banner I selected and then scroll through the fonts on my computer until I find a font that is pretty but not too complicated to cut out and stitch.
When I have found the right size and font for my lettering, I change the word style to outline only (this saves ink when printing) and print out the letters.
3. The next step is to cut fabric. I used the large template to cut my blanket down to size, and use the printed letters to cut letters out of wool felt.
4. Before starting on the letters, you’ll want to hem the edges of the pennant so they won’t unravel. There are many ways to do this, ranging from simply using fabric glue, to him stitching, to machine stitching. Any of these methods work, as long as they prevent any unraveling edges from showing on the front part of the pennant.
5. Once hemmed, you are ready to begin adding lettering. I have found that it is important to baste the letters in place, as they have a tendency to wander for me if they, and each of their dangling bits, are not secured. I do this by just running a quick running stitch right through the middle of each letter. The wool felt will hide any needle holes after the thread is removed.
6. Begin stitching your basted letters. I like the look of a running stitch in a matching color along the edge, but there are many styles of stitching that could look great. Use your imagination and experiment! You’ll probably want to use an embroidery hoop if you have one available, though it is not strictly necessary
7. To finish off your pennant you may want to add floral details for a pretty modern finish. I’m going to skip adding instructions for flowers, since there are many many tutorials online for making felt flowers. Simply Google “how to make a felt [your favorite flower name]” and follow the instructions. Make the felt flowers separate and then use a multi-thread twist of embroidery floss to secure the flowers to the banner.
8. The final step is deciding how you will display gift this banner. I had a stash of pant hangers from a high-end clothing store that I like to use and they made hanging really easy, but you can also stitch or hot glue the banner to a dowel rod and hang with a bit of string.
Lindsayanne is a professional artist, writer, and serial-DIY-er with a knack for solving problems creatively at home, in the studio, out in the garden, and even online. Learn more about Lindsay, her training, and her background here.