Banners add color and a decorative touch to any worship space. Banners are an artistic way to convey the Christian message and can be an important part of seasonal celebrations. While you can buy banner, they're easy and economical to make and are a great project for a youth group, Sunday school class or Altar Guild. If you make a variety of banners you can change them throughout the year for a new look every few weeks.
Choose a design. For the best impact, keep the design simple, with a few words and a few key visual elements. Use Christian symbols such as the cross, or seasonal symbols such as a manger for Christmas or a butterfly for Easter. Your banner may be a single design that fills the panel or divided into three horizontal sections, with a different design in each section. For instance, an Easter banner might have a crown with the word "He" in the top panel, a lily with the word "Is" in the middle panel and a butterfly with the word "Risen" in the bottom panel, or you might have a single large cross with the words "He Is Risen" over it. Draw the design full-size to see how it will look.
Make your pattern. Draw the individual letters for any words and the parts of other design elements onto freezer paper. Draw a separate pattern for each element that is in a different color. For instance, if you have a butterfly, you will need a pattern piece for each wing section and the body. Cut out your pattern pieces.
Select your fabrics. Your background requires the largest piece of fabric and should be a solid color or a subtle pattern. The size of your space should determine the size of your banner; larger spaces need larger banners for visual impact. A standard size is three feet by four feet. Choose three or four colors for the other elements of your banner. Use black, dark blue or green for letters to make them easy to read.
Transfer your designs to your fabric. Unroll the iron-on adhesive. One side has a paper backing. Trace your design elements BACKWARDS on this paper backing. Letters should face backwards--readable in a mirror.
Cut loosely around each pattern piece. Leave space around each piece. Iron these pieces onto the wrong side of your fabric, following the directions on the package. Allow to cool, then cut out each element.
Arrange the pattern pieces on your backing. Move them around until they look right. Starting at one corner, carefully peel away the paper backing. Reposition on the banner. You may pin the pieces in place. Iron on according to the directions.
Using a closely-spaced zig-zag or satin stitch, machine stitch around all the raw edges of pattern pieces in matching thread. For an informal or contemporary banner, you may cover the raw edges with acrylic fabric paint.
Hem the edges of your banner. Sew a pocket along the upper edge of the banner and insert the dowel. Your banner is ready to hang.
Items you will need
Fabric in assorted colors
5/8-inch dowel cut three inches wider than width of your banner
Optional: fabric paint pens
For a sturdier banner, add backing material cut the same size as the background. Instead of hemming the banner, sew backing to it, right sides together. Turn and press and hem the bottom edge only. Add decorative fringe or braid to the bottom of the banner. Children's coloring books are a good source of simple patterns Using your computer's word processing program, print out letters in their largest font, one per page, and enlarge them on a copier. Use these as patterns.