Lina and Vi: Make It: Stenciled Burlap Pennant Banner

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Make It: Stenciled Burlap Pennant Banner

I'm here today to share a fun, new DIY tutorial on how to make a burlap pennant banner. Since the Christmas season is upon us, I had been wanting to add one new handmade decor item to our holiday decorations this year and chose this eclectic banner to use up some of my old burlap scraps. I worked on this project over the weekend, requiring about two hours on two different days.  The bulk of the time is spent creating the stencil and waiting for the paint to dry.

I'll be sharing the step by step directions but want to point out that this project is completely customizable to any theme, event, or color scheme you are looking to embellish. I'm thinking birthdays, baby showers, engagement parties, bachelorette parties, you name it! It doesn't need to be burlap or painted at all, so feel free to skip steps or modify these instructions to fit your desired design.

Let's do this!


burlap (repurposed from an old project or old burlap sack if possible)
fabric paint
sponge brush
craft scissors
printer and paper
freezer paper
rotary cutter or fabric scissors
sewing machine
Xacto knife
measuring tape


1. Begin by creating a template of the pennant. Use a piece of printer paper to either draw or fold the paper into a triangle. My triangles measure about 8 inches on all three sides. Cut out the paper template.

2. Lay the paper template on top of your burlap. Using fabric scissors or a rotary cutter, cut out as many triangles as you need for each individual letter of the word(s) you would like the banner to spell out.  Iron all pieces using steam and a high setting setting.

3. Now, switch to the computer screen and using a program like Word, type up the word or words you want to spell on your banner in a font of your choice. Print out a test page to measure the size of the letters. Adjust the font size and reprint as needed.

4. Once you have the text printed in the desired size, cut a piece of freezer paper and lay it on top of the text with the glossy side down. Trace the letters onto the freezer paper using your pencil. Once complete, cut them out using an Xacto knife on a protected surface. Separate each letter by cutting around each stencil with craft scissors.

5. Next, you will iron on the freeze paper stencil to each of the burlap triangles. Using measuring tape, center the stencil on each of the triangles. Use a hot, dry iron to secure the freezer paper to the burlap. Do this for each letter and each triangle.

6. This is the fun part! Now you will paint over the stencil using the fabric paint and a sponge brush. Make sure to add paper or scrap fabric under the burlap to protect your surface under the burlap, as the paint tends to bleed through the loosely woven fibers. Follow the instructions on the fabric paint bottle from the manufacturer. In some cases, you may need to 'seal' the paint by steaming it with an iron. For some reason, my fabric paint was much more neon pink than red, but I still like how it turned out.

7. Peel off the stencils once the fabric paint is dry and admire your work up to this point. I didn't forget about the sewing machine sitting there behind you! On two sides of each triangle, sew a zig-zag or other decorative stitch to finish the raw burlap edges. This will keep the burlap from fraying. If your triangles do not have three equal sides (hello, high school geometry), make sure you are finishing the two sides that are equal and hang vertically. I used a metallic gold thread for my holiday banner as I love the look of burlap and gold together.

8. Grab your roll of twine and measure out how much excess twine you want to border the beginning and end of the banner. Leave enough to allow you to tie it to something to hang it up with some slack for draping. Lay out each triangle in order to check your desired spacing between letters. Then add the same amount of excess twine as you did to the beginning of the banner to the end of the banner, just after the last letter.

9. This last step is tricky but with some patience and some pinning, it will secure your burlap triangles to the twine. Start folding over a small hem on the top of the first triangle and sandwich the twine within the hem. Pin to secure. Continue until the entire top of the triangle is pinned to the twine with a neat hem. No raw edge. 

Now, you can continue pinning the additional letters or you can pin them as you sew, as I did. To start sewing, you will line up the hem of the top of the triangle on your sewing machine with the twine secured in the hem. Using a small zig-zag stitch, begin stitching right side up to sew the hem with the twine inside. Remove pins as you go. When you finish a letter, pin the next letter if you haven't done so yet. You can continue the stitch line through the entire banner or sew each triangle in separate stitches.

10. Trim threads. Hang up. Have a cocktail. Admire your work!

Burlap is a challenging fabric to craft with and sew so don't get discouraged if you are struggling a bit. Check out my ten tips for working with burlap for help and please share if you have any additional tips or tricks.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

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