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Birthday Banner Tutorial

I know every mom says this, but wow, do our little ones grow fast. I can’t believe that Happy Baby is one! I guess technically he’s Happy Toddler now. We celebrated his birthday a bit late last Saturday. It was a good excuse to finally make a birthday banner like I’ve been wanting to do for a while. You can’t really call this a proper tutorial, but at least it should give you a place to start!

1.       Cut triangles out of your chosen fabrics. I cut out 26: one for each letter in “Happy Birthday”. My triangles are about 8” wide and 9” long. I cut them on the fold, so I made my template 4″ by 9″.  I made mine to be “girl” colors on one side and “boy” colors on the other. You could just put something completely different on the other side, like “Merry Christmas” or just leave it blank.


 2.       Cut letters (or pictures, if you want) out of a complimentary color of felt. Make sure you cut out 2 of each if you are making it reversible.

3.       Decide what order you want your triangle to be in.

4.       Sew the felt letters to the triangles. I’m a lazy appliquér. I didn’t do anything as far as stabilizer or interfacing goes.  It makes the letters a bit poufy, but I think that only added to its charm. I simply laid the letter on the fabric triangle, making sure you leave enough room on the top and sides for seam allowance. I had a couple letters where this wasn’t possible. If that happens to you, make sure the top seam allowance is the one you make room for. Otherwise your letter will be covered up by the binding. And that would look silly. I used a straight stitch ¼” from the edge. A zigzag would be cute, or you could try one of your decorative stitches if your machine has some.


5.       Once all the letters are sewn on, now you’re ready to sew the triangles together. Don’t do what I did. I foolishly sewed the blue “B” to the pink “B”, the blue “I” to the pink “I” and so on. Those of you who are smarter than me will realize, one side will be fine, but the other will be backward. So right now, the pink side says “Happy dayhtriB”. L I’ll be fixing that. So…make sure you get the letters in the right order if you are making it reversible….last letter of the reverse side sewn to the first letter of the front side and so on. I sewed the triangles together, wrong sides together with a ¼” seam allowance. I left the top open, since it will be covered with the binding.

6.       If you have sharp pinking shears and you want to, now would be a good time to pink the edges. I don’t and I didn’t…but the edges will fray. I was just given some pinking shears by my DH’s grandpa, so maybe I will go back and do that.

7.       Take a piece of bias binding. I had narrow, single fold bias tape. I was afraid it might be too narrow, but it worked fine. You could make your own also. Four yards was just right for this project. If you have more or less letters, just lay them out and add at least 10” or so, so you have something to tie it up with.

8.  There are lots of good tutorials on applying bias tape. I’m not the best at this, so I wouldn’t use my tutorial as a jumping off point. Take the bias tape with the side where you can see the folds face up. Lay it alongside the first triangle, leaving at least 5” for your tie, with the folded side up. Unfold the edge of the bias tape that is lined up with the top edge of your triangle. You will be sewing the right side of the bias tape to the right side of the triangle. Line the bias tape and triangle edges up. Carefully sew just to the right of the fold line of the bias tape. If you have double fold bias tape, use the fold line that is the farthest right. Keep adding triangles until they are all attached.


9.       Now, turn the whole thing over. Simple pull the bias tape over the top of the triangles. You will be able to see the seam where you sewed it onto the other side. Try to line of the bias tape so it just covers that seam. Stitch right along the edge of the bias tape, all the way to the end.

10.   Viola! A finished birthday banner! Your kids will think you’re amazing (at least they will if they’re 5 and 2).


Please let me know if I can clarify anything. I’d love to see your banners if you make one!

47 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2008 9:17 am

    That’s a very nice tutorial. I’m sure there was a very happy birthday boy. Nice blog, I’ll be back to read more!

  2. April 21, 2008 10:20 am

    Thanks for the tutorial! I found you through Sew Mama Sew!

  3. April 29, 2008 6:58 am

    Hey – great tutorial. I make buntings/banners, too but I hadn’t thought to cut on the fold. What a great timing saving step – thank you! I love your felt letters, too. I struggled with how to do letters.

    Here are my buntings so far:

  4. June 4, 2008 9:53 am

    Thanks for the Tutorial. I added a link on my website to your tutorial if that’s ok? I also wanted to ask do you know about how much fabric of each print you used? I am trying to pick out fabric and not sure how much I need of each. Thanks so much.

  5. August 6, 2008 8:57 am

    I hope you don’t mind, but I added your site to my list of favorite tutorials! I absolutly love this birthdays banner, and hopefully will have a chance to make it before our DD 1st birthday on the 14th!!

  6. August 17, 2008 9:15 am

    We just celebrated a birthday for our 3 y.o. twins – with the help of your banner tutorial of course! Thanks for sharing; it is now a part of our family tradition. You can see pictures of our banner at my blog, under the “Brithday” category.

  7. November 10, 2008 7:09 pm

    That is the greatest idea. I can’t wait to make this and start a new family tradition! I better get started, the next birthday is a month from tomorrow! Yikes.

  8. E-Lo permalink
    December 7, 2008 1:41 am

    Hi I’m starting on a Christmas banner now …. re step 6, when you say pink the edges, do you mean the top edge of the triangle that the binding will go on, or the two sides that narrow into a point for the bottom of the triangle, after the seams have been sewn?

    I can’t wait.. thanks for posting this. I’m really looking forward to it.


  9. spacestitch permalink
    February 21, 2009 2:23 am

    Hi, I made a birthday banner from your lovely tutorial. Thanks so much!

  10. July 3, 2009 6:28 pm

    That is such a nice and clear tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  11. eeloh permalink
    July 13, 2009 3:01 am

    Just made a banner using your tutorial. Thank you! more on their way….

  12. August 8, 2009 7:22 am

    Too cute! I can see how double sided letters would take some thinkin’. lol. I plan on making a Halloween one today & I may just make it Christmas on the other side. What a fabulous idea! Thanks!

  13. January 2, 2010 7:42 pm

    Just wanted to say I love this tutorial and I decided to make a reversible banner for my two kids. I blogged about it on my blog
    Thanks for the help, it was so nice to have an easy tutorial to follow.

  14. January 22, 2010 4:31 am

    Love this!!! I make them too. Thanks for sharing your side of the banner coin 🙂

  15. February 18, 2010 7:58 pm

    Thanks so much for your tutorial. Your instructions were really easy to follow and I am still surprised at how quickly it all came together. I just made the banner for my daughter’s first birthday. I posted about it and mentioned your blog.

  16. April 28, 2010 11:18 pm

    Hey! Thank you so so much for this AWESOME idea! I had to make one! I also linked your page and blog on my ! Thank you so much again! You’re amazing!!

  17. Jessica permalink
    May 9, 2010 2:11 pm

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. It was so simple even for me, a beginner sewer. I’ve made one for every holiday and birthday we celebrate. Thanks!

  18. June 28, 2010 8:02 am

    Kristin, I found your tutorial while looking for inspiration for a banner I was creating. I linked back to your tutorial, even though mine turned out nothing like yours! I went for less sewing and more glue this time, was in a huge time crunch. I want to make your birthday ones for my grandkids, though. I want to help them start some fun birthday traditions. Thanks for the post!

    I’ll let you know if I create any more…

    Happy Summer Sewing!

  19. Amy Willey permalink
    August 30, 2010 12:56 pm

    I was in England over the summer and saw so many attractive, colorful banners/buntings. I am now trying to make one for a friend and if comes out well then one for my son’s wedding this fall. Does anyone have any tips for getting the point to look sharp like the ones in the photo?I run into trouble with making a point on the tip of the flag, that is, the low point at the bottom of the triangle. I have tried sewing the right sides together and then when turning it right side out it’s a mess at the point. Have done a rounded “point”, but am not too happy with the result. Any suggestions?
    Would so appreciate some help.

    • September 8, 2010 6:19 am

      Oops! I was trying to think if I had a good answer to this and it took me so long, I never replied! Other than trimming the seam allowance carefully, I’m not sure I have any tips. The only way I’ve done these banners is by pinking the edges. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  20. Jennifer B. permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:06 pm

    Can you tell me how you made your felt letters? I have everything else ready to go for one of these. Thanks!

    • September 15, 2010 6:17 am

      I just free-handed it. But you could print off really big letters and use them to trace onto your felt.

  21. September 23, 2010 1:13 am

    Hi! I just wanted to tell you I have made one as well! It’s on my blog ( I have added a link to your tutorial which was very helpful for me!! Thanks a lot for sharing.

    My kids were absolutely delighted when they woke up this morning and saw it hanging on the wall for the 7th birthday of my eldest son. Hope this starts a family tradition ;^)

  22. October 28, 2010 9:13 am

    This tutorial is awesome! I’m hoping to create something similar for my little one’s 1st birthday. =)

  23. Vanessa permalink
    January 20, 2011 12:35 pm

    This is so cute I want to make one, but whatbdo youmthink if I just glued the letters on, would that change the whole look? I just want to get it done!

  24. Charmain Brideau permalink
    March 17, 2011 4:03 am

    I love this idea! I was looking for something simple to make using leftover strips of fabric. This is perfect! For each of my children, I am using some of their old and favorite clothes. Each triangle is different, and each child now has their own birthday keepsake.

  25. kari keith permalink
    July 21, 2011 12:36 pm

    i love this, any ideas on how to do pictures on the banner?i’m thinking iron on paper, but to what, felt, cotton, help please!!!!thank you


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