Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Communion Banner

Tis the time of year for First Communions!  My daughter is getting ready to celebrate hers and we needed to make a banner for the pew.  This is the second time we've had to do this so I feel like we're quite the experienced hands at it.

The instructions were fairly simple.  It had to have our family's last name on it and it had to have a religious theme.

We came up with this:

Kind of.  There aren't actually scribbles down the side of the banner.  That's where we put our last name.  I'm a tad distrustful so I would prefer to not have our last name on an image that can be captured and and up on a google search page!  You get the idea, though.

I believe a lot of parishes do this banner thing for First Communions.  I'm going to offer a few tips so that you don't end up doing it yourself and that it is truly a project for you and your child!

First, pick kid friendly, easy fabrics to use.  Felt is a great one!  You can buy it by the yard on a roll in the fabric section very cheap or buy the sheets.  We bought the background on the roll because it tends to be thicker than the sheets.  We purchased sheets of felt for the rest.  If you want a pattern or color that doesn't come in felt, buy some Heat N Bond.  Get the thick stuff.  What you do is fuse the Heat N Bond to the back of the fabric, cut out your shape and then fuse THAT to your background (see my tutorial on the Owl PotHolders for how to do this.)  Using felt or Heat N Bonded fabric eliminates sewing.

Second, I would suggest finding a free color page online that has a pattern you intend to follow.  Color pages are great because they tend to not have a whole lot of detail and are great patterns.

This is what we found:
 Nice, right?!?  Treat it like pattern piece.  Cut out the pieces you need a pattern for.

Pin it to your fabric and cut out the shape.   Adjust as needed. . . .

 You can easily add detail with fabric puff paint.  We used the Scribbler brand.

Let it dry before gluing on to your background.  Impatient children (and moms) may want to cheat and try to glue it on before it's dry but if you accidentally put your thumb in it and smear it, you will have to recut your chalice and redo it all, much to the disgust of your child.  Not that it happened to me.

My third tip is to go NO SEW!  Get a good glue and it's easy.  Try Fabri-Fix.  We love it.  It holds but cleans up easily.  If you get the right fabrics and the right glue, the sewing machine should not have to come out. 

To "no sew" hang your banner you will use a small dowel (stick) cut to a tad longer than the width of your banner.  (Tad = 1/2 inch or so)

Glue a strip about 1 1/4 inches below the top of your piece.

Fold the top edge so it is over the glue.  You made a pocket for your dowel!  Hold for a few seconds until it grabs.  See?  No sewing!!!  Slide the dowel in and tie on your ribbon or yarn to each end.  You could glue a large holed bead to each end or purchase a bag of mini spools in the wooden craft section of your store.  We went cheap and just tied a few bows and glued those on.

Another tip is to splurge on pre cut felt letters if you don't have a die cutter available.  If you can, beg someone to cut the letters for you on their Sizzix or Cricut and you will save a few bucks.  If that's not an option, buy the pre cut ones.  It will save you some serious frustrations!!!

My last piece of advise is to not wait until last minute.  You will be competing against all the other moms who waited and are now fighting over the last iron on rhinestone cross that the store has in stock.  You are also in danger of being THAT MOM that brought a banner with wet glue to church and had it stick to the side of the pew.  (Not me, again.  I swear.)

If I do it again:

She's my youngest so it won't happen again for First Communion!  However, if I do have to do it again, I'd probably make sure to NOT get a pattern that has wheat on it.  We had originally planned on putting all three stalks of wheat on the banner and I spent much more time than I'd care to admit cutting out each little tear drop shaped piece of kernel to glue on.  We ended up going with one because she didn't want to glue any more on.  I wasn't the only bored one!

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