As soon as we signed our lease for our new apartment a couple months ago, I immediately started brainstorming what to do with the new blank space. We downsized, which meant we somehow needed to amalgamate a two bedroom into a one bedroom. The last thing I wanted was for our home and walls to feel cluttered. I was tempted just a hang a few framed photos and artwork on this wall but I had a feeling it would look too busy next to the book shelves and fireplace.
That’s when the idea for a minimal hand-lettered banner came to mind. It’s simple to put together but does require some skills or love of your own handwriting. However, you don’t need to be a calligrapher or hand lettering artist to achieve this look! I encourage you, like I did, to sketch some ideas for what you want your lettering to look like on scrap paper to start. It does not need to look perfect. In fact, I think a more imperfect and natural lettering style fits this minimal look well.
Tools & Supplies
1. Fabric (I picked up a drop cloth from Lowes which was plenty enough fabric)
4. Small Paint Brush
5. Wood Rod (Also from Lowes)
7. Sharp Scissors
8. Large Fabric Needle
10. Thumb Tacks x2
Step One: Wash & Prep Fabric
It’s important to run your fabric through the washing machine before working with it. This will get rid of any stiffness that comes with new fabrics and will also help reduce those stubborn creases. Iron out any wrinkles. Keep in mind that if you use the cost-efficient drop cloth, there may be impurities that you can’t get rid of. I didn’t mind them because I find it added to the natural look of the piece and they were hardly noticeable. But if you want a perfectly smooth service, I recommend investing in better quality fabric.
Step Two: Sketch Out Quote with a Pencil
After decided on what and how you want to write, take the time to lightly sketch out your lettering on the fabric. A water soluble fabric pencil or pen will rub or wash out easily if you happen to make a mistake. I used a regular pencil (because my fabric pen must have grown legs and ran away) but I highly recommend not using a pencil since erasing can harm the fabric.
Step Three: Paint with Acrylic Paint
Use your acrylic paint to paint over the pencil lettering. This is the part of the tutorial that take the most time. Put on a couple episodes of Parks & Recreation and take your time.
Step Four: Cut out Shape
Lay your dried fabric on a flat surface and cut out the shape you want your banner to be in. I used a ruler and pencil to draw out the shape I wanted. Make it about half an inch wider on the side for seams and add about 5 inches at the top to sew around the rod. The top seam allowance depends on what size your wood rod is. Mine was 2 inches so I allowed 5 inches of fabric to wrap around.
Step Five: Iron Over Seams
Iron over about half an inch of fabric to create your seams on the edges. Iron over about 5 inches of fabric to create the case for your rod.
Step Six: Stitch
Use a simple stitch to seal the seams. This is simply cosmetic for the edges. If you prefer a raw edge look, skip the ironing and simply let the natural edges of your fabric show.
For the top, fold the fabric over the wood rod to measure and stitch along the banner to create a “pocket” for the rod to slide into.
Step Seven: Attach Rod & String
Insert the rod into the pocket you created while stitching. Use a long piece of string to wrap around one end of the rod. Secure it with a thumb tack (superglue if needed). Without cutting the string, bring it to the other end of the rod and wrap it around 3-4 times. Secure again with a thumb tack or superglue and cut the string on the side facing the wall.
Step Eight: Hang & Enjoy!