Inspired Branch Banner DIY

There is quite a story behind this simple banner. Let's begin with the branch; it was once a lovely, large pussy willow. It sat in my sister's bedroom in my very first apartment that I shared with her and one other roommate. The next year, when her and I shared a basement apartment, it filled up an empty corner in our living room. When she moved out she told me to keep it. I took that pretty branch with me when Will and I moved in together for the first time. Again, it filled up a hole in a room (behind our sofa) perfectly for us. When we moved down to Boise together, when only took with us what we could fit in the back of the 4 Runner and in the tiniest and cheapest U-Haul trailer we rented. My heart sunk a bit when the few things we had left that wouldn't fit included the pussy willow, as it had been such a dutiful decorative piece. Well, Will took one last minute to strap it on top of our cooler (that was strapped between the trailer and the car) and we agreed to just see if it would make it. I spent the 6 hour drive watching that branch bend under the wind pressure and loose all it's fuzz. I refused to throw it away and it sat in my parents garage the last two years.

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When we moved here I found it again and pledged to use it in some way. At first, I simply broke off a few of the smaller pieces and placed them in a jar —along with some birch pieces— for our coffee table. Then, of course, the poor bare branch sat in a corner beside my craft table for weeks. I then decided I wanted to use it to hang some sort of decorative piece on our wall. Then I saw this No-Sew Resolution Banner and couldn't get it out of my head. Although I decided to do a different style and technique for my banner (mine is sewn). I couldn't get that phrase out of my head. It seemed perfect for me, for us, and for our place. It fits it's place on our wall perfectly, hinting at the beautiful hillside right out the window it hangs beside. And I chose orange, to balance out the orange stucco outer walls of our apartment with the orange in the pair of chairs in our living room.

I'm absolutely smitten with the result. See how I completely created this banner below.

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BRANCH BANNER DIY

Supplies Needed               

+ Printed fabric for the banner

+ (Coordinating) Solid fabric for the text

+ Sewing machine, and needle and thread

+ Scissors

+ Pen or marker and long ruler

+ Pins

+ Fabric glue

+ A branch

+ Thick hemp or thin rope

+ Power drill and drill bit (optional)

Instructions                       

1. Determine the length and width you would like for the banner. Mine ended up being 18 inches wide by 13 inches long, with a 7 inch tall triangle on the bottom. Cut two rectangles large enough to accommodate this desired size, plus room for seam. For example, my rectangles were around 19 inches by 21 inches.

2. Place the cut rectangles on top of one another, the right side (the side of the fabric you want showing) towards each other. So the insides should be on the outside. Using the ruler, draw a straight line across (horizontally) where the bottom of the banner should be before the triangle part begins. This will help you know how far down to sew the sides. Pin the two pieces together and sew up the long sides (sewing the two pieces together) to where you marked.

3. Fold the now sewn together fabric in half to determine where the middle is (shown in second picture). using your ruler, to insure straight lines, mark slanted lines toward the center of your fabric with a pen. Cut along these lines; this will create the triangle shape on the bottom of the banner. Pin in place (shown in third picture) and sew the two pieces of fabric together here too. You should have a giant triangle pocket after this step.

4. Using some scraps, create the straps for hanging your banner. I chose to use two straps instead of sliding the branch through a sleeve, so that the branch is exposed and visible. Cut two rectangles twice as long as you would like your straps to hang and twice as wide as you would like them to be. Fold in half lengthwise, so the backside of the fabric is showing. Pin and sew closed. Turn the tube right side out when done and iron them to lay flat.

5. We will now sew up the top of the banner (the pocket, open-end). Place the straps (now turned right-side out!) inside the two sides of the banner (shown in fifth picture). Push them up against the seam, so that the will be straight. Pin the two sides together, with both straps in place on either side.

6. Sew the top closed. Leave about a hands-width in the middle so that you can turn it all right side out! Turn the banner right-side out and push all the seams and corners flat and straight, use a pencil to help with the corners if needed. Use a blind stitch to close the gap you left. Use your iron again to get all the seams to lie flat and eliminate any wrinkles.

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Instructions Continued        

7. You can skip these next three steps if you'd like to free-hand your font. You may want to consider making a drawing, to scale, of your banner on paper and then creating a mini grid within it. Accommodate for all the letters you are using and make a grid space for each one See an example here. This will help determine the size font to use. I ended up using a 225 font size, making my letters around 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. Print your chosen phrase out on printer paper and cut out around each one.

8. Pin each letter to your second fabric. I used an old cotton t-shirt the same color as the secondary color in my print. Felt would be much easier to work with. Carefully cut out each one.

9. Position the text how you would like; you can see that I changed my mind with how I wanted to arrange them, deciding on a separate line for each word. Glue each letter to the banner using fabric glue. And hey, Mod Podge works pretty well too - just saying. Add on some accents too, if desired.

10. You can skip these last three steps if you'd rather simply tie your hemp or rope around the branch to hang. Prepare your branch to drill by placing it on a safe surface. You will likely be able to tell right away when you go through the other side, but just incase I recommend doing this on the floor. I place a thick piece of cork under me topped with a piece of craft paper to catch the sawdust.

11. Drill, baby, drill. Make sure to use a drill bit no larger than 1/3 the width of your branch, always go smaller if unsure — you can always easily widen it. Clean up the hole when satisfied with it's size.

12. Thread your banner onto your branch first. Then, thread your hemp or rope through and tie a knot on either side of each hole. Cut the extra hemp/rope off and you are ready to hang!

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Doesn't it fill up that empty, awkward wall space — next to my birch branch — perfectly? I think so. I'm now considering putting a different phrase on the other side so I can switch it up from time the time. Any phrase suggestions? And remember,  if your wanting a simpler, quicker DIY check out my inspiration for this project the No Sew Resolution Banner.

xx Emorie