Birthday Bunting/Banner Tutorial

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts,Tutorials

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birthday banner bunting tutorial

A fabric birthday banner is an easy decoration that makes any birthday party feel more special. This birthday banner is easy – it took me only a few hours from start to finish, and I am thrilled with how it turned out. I think I’ll be making banners for all the major holidays! Here are step by step instructions to help you make a fabric birthday banner!

Materials and Supplies

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Cut out 28 scallop pieces from your 5 pieces of coordinating fabric. (Shown in top right).

Following the Heat’N’Bond instructions, apply Heat’N’Bond to the wrong side of the fabric you will be cutting the letters from. The B&W polka dot is my “letter” fabric, and I’ve already applied the Heat’N’Bond, which explains why it’s so stiff looking.

Print off the letters pattern (or make your own pattern from any font you want. The tallest letters are just under 3″ tall. I used Bookman Old Style, font size 300). Cut out each letter with paper scissors, pin to the fabric, and cut out of the fabric.

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Iron the letters onto the scallop pieces. The Heat’N’Bond will hold them there temporarily.

Edgestitch each letter permanently to the fabric.

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Sew front and back scallop pieces, right sides together and leaving the straight edge open with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Notch the curves.

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Using a point presser and a mini iron, press the seam allowances open.

I started out trying to do this with a wadded up towel and regular iron, and it was taking forever. A mini iron is so much easier and faster for this small a project. (The Clover Mini Iron II is my tool of choice.) Using a mini iron cut the time this step took by more than half. Just so ya know…

Once you’ve pressed the seam allowance open with the mini iron, turn the scallop right side out and press the whole thing with a regular iron. Make sure the edges match up and you can’t see the the back fabric from the front, etc.

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Edgestitch around the curved edges of the banner. I find that using my blind hem presser foot is the best method for edge stitching.

birthday banner bunting tutorial

Finish the banner with bias tape.

I made my own bias tape, only I didn’t cut it on the bias. I used the 3/4″ Clover bias tape maker (best bias tape maker on the market). You’ll need about 120″ total of bias tape to cover the width of each scallop plus 20″ inches on each side for the ties.

If you’ve never used single fold bias tape, pin the edge of the bias tape to the top edge of the scallops, right sides together. Sew in the crease. Fold the rest of the bias tape over the edge, overlapping the fold in the bias tape with the line of stitching you just made by just a hair, and stitch in the ditch on the front side. You should just catch the back side of the bias tape without seeing any top stitching on the surface.

Sew from the start of the H scallop to the end of the Y. Then go back and fold in the ends and edgestitch along the sides of the ties to finish.


All done! You can really take these basic instructions and make a banner totally your own. You can use more or fewer than 5 different prints, do triangles or squares instead of a scallop, play around with different fonts, etc. Hopefully these instructions have given you the confidence to get started. Have fun!

{photos taken with the Canon Rebel XSi}


1 Annette March 31, 2009 at 7:42 am

I know you say it’s simple, but boy the work would be worth it! No sewing project is simple for me! haha Thanks for letting us know the font size was 300. Just something to keep in mind if I want to use a different font…some day.

2 Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) March 31, 2009 at 8:11 am

This is awesome. When I finally learn how to sew, I’m going to make one for my family.

3 Angie March 31, 2009 at 8:56 am

this is gorgeous & you should send me one when you make one next! ;-)

I need a sewing machine, maybe then I could do this!

4 Amy March 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

You are SO talented!!! Thank you sooooo much for sharing this!! I will be making a few I think…maybe birthday, Halloween, Christmas? How fun!!

5 melanie March 31, 2009 at 10:46 am

How fun! That turned out adorable!

6 Jen T March 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm

This looks so fun! We have a paper banner that we put up, but this looks much better. I have been looking for a sewing project. I have seen scrapbook crafters make them with paper and such, but I love the cloth one! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

7 Michelle March 31, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Very nice! And if you’re pressed for time I bet you could just sew them right sides together and use pinking shears to neaten up the edges. Wouldn’t be as nice and finished as yours, but it would eliminate pressing the seams open and turning everything right sides out. Your banner looks fabulous.

8 Jenny Viloria April 1, 2009 at 12:44 am

This look simple to make. I will give this a try one day maybe next year for my son’s 7th birthday. I will print this out and put it in my to – do/ make list. Thanks for sharing. Great job!


9 syeda April 1, 2009 at 6:40 am

cute project.Well, this project you can keep reusing for many wonderful years to come in the future.

10 Natalee April 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Neat Idea Kelsey.

11 pink April 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

can we link your tutorial on our website? we have had a few requests for how to make one of these.
Think & Pink

12 Kelsey April 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Absolutely! You can link to anything you want!

13 kristen June 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

Thank you for the tutorial! I found it a few months ago — and finally finished my banner! Thank you!

14 Baba September 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

So cute and festive. What a great way to celebrate birthdays!

15 Alia May 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Hi. I just made this banner for our family. Mostly for my daughter’s 14th birthday party.

I would love for you to come by and see it. I did struggle a little bit with the fusible web as I get confused easily! I also had to make my own binding as I live in the Middle East and they don’t sell ready made binding here.

Thanks so much! I love it and will be making more for different holidays!

16 Haylee August 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I know this is an older post but I’m hoping you’ll still see my comment! I love this banner and am making one for my sons first birthday! But I was wondering where you got the star between happy and birthday?
thanks a million!

17 Kelsey August 27, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I cut it with my Cricut, but you could find a template anywhere and it would work. I leave my banner up all month I love it so much – have fun making yours!

18 smjohnson September 2, 2010 at 6:11 am

This is great! I can’t wait to try it! Your’s looks awesome.

19 Megan March 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for your tutorial! I love it! I have made 2 birthday banners, and I loved them so much that I have made seasonal ones too. So, my question is how do you get the font size to be 300? I’m making my letters in Microsoft word and the font size doesn’t get that big. Thanks for the help!

20 Megan March 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Sorry, but I just figured it out! You have to got into the change font box. I feel so ridiculous!

21 Kelsey March 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Glad you figured it out!

22 Lynne H. April 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! I really wanted a fabric banner for my son’s birthday, but couldn’t justify spending $40 for one on Etsy. I am a stay-at-home mom, so living on one income can be tight. Thanks for the great post!

23 athena October 30, 2011 at 3:01 am

Thanks for this great tutorial. I’m very new to sewing and was wondering if you could explain the purpose/reason for notching the curves and then pressing open the seam allowances? Is it just for things that curve? Thank you again… i’m excited to try this out!

24 Kelsey December 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

You notch curves to help the seams stay open and you press to make it look flat from the outside. You do only notch curves.

25 Susan August 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I am making this for my son’s first birthday party. It is coming out pretty nicely except for the edge stitching on the letters. That I am not so great at :) But it should still end up beautiful. It is taking me forever so I think it will be a sign we will use for him every year and when he gets married I will give it to his wife!

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