Saturday, February 13, 2016

How To Make A Heart Shaped Valentine Banner

My younger daughter tagged me on a cute pin on Pinterest showing a Valentine banner. I texted her back and explained how to make it. Not really thinking I was going to be the one making it....

This is a test run of the finished banner on my front room fireplace. 

I asked what colors she'd like and she chose red and orange. That sounded easy enough, until I started matching up prints. Reds can have a blue tint, which doesn't work with most shades of orange, just like lipstick. The color is pretty and looks good until you actually put the lipstick on or put the fabric next to your other colors. 

I ended up with three fat quarters - or quilter quarters, and then bought a 1/4 yard of three other fabrics and two yards of pellon. This was enough to make two banners, so half as much would easily make one. The second one is still unfinished, because I didn't have enough of the tie-on cord left over, but I picked up more, so it will eventually be completed. 

**the print fabric on the far left had a dark flaw all the way through that didn't show up until it was on the cutting table at the fabric store - so I picked out yet another one. 

Then I had to find something to tie the banner together and onto the fireplace. Red Rickrack jumped out. This kind was sold by the bolt, I think it had 12 yards, total. 

**not really enough for two banners. 

The hidden component was fusible Pellon. The heavy duty craft weight. It's the magic that holds the two fabric pieces together, so no sewing or messy glue. It also gives the fabric some body, helps it hold the shape and the edges won't fray as much. Only one side of the fabric hearts need to have this as the backing. 

I needed something somewhat sturdy to make the pattern and used a heavy watercolor paper I had on hand, I use for earring cards. Lightweight cardboard would also work, a cereal box cut open or a gift box. 

If you are going to give this a try, fold your pattern paper or thin cardboard in half, so both sides are mirrored or the same. I just cut away the paper, until I had a good enough heart shape. The typical banner V-shape or any other shape would also work, if you aren't feeling the heart. Stars would be cute in a sparkly fabric for the Fourth of July. Just keep in mind the fabric has to be able to withstand a hot iron. 

I doubled the pellon, traced the hearts on, and cut out two at a time. After ironing the wrinkles out of the fabric (don't iron the pellon), I stacked three layers on top of each other, pinned it together, traced and then cut. That way I could save time by cutting out more than one at a time.

** Remember, you need twice as many fabric hearts, as pellon hearts. 
** When cutting out the hearts, cut INSIDE the traced lines, so the ink line stays on your scraps and not your final heart or shape. 

A lot of tracing and cutting later. 

Here I was trying out different pattern combinations and color orders. 

This worked for me. 

Removing the paper side of the iron on backing was the most difficult part of the whole process. Why? because my iron had auto shut off since I'd ironed the fabric smooth and the temp wasn't high enough to completely bind the two together. Ack. I didn't even know this iron had an auto shut off and I panicked, went back and rechecked the pellon to see if I had messed up and bought the wrong fusible webbing. Then I noticed the iron wasn't hot and had shut off. I ended up having to re-iron about half of them and then wait for it to cool. Again. 

Another reason I used rickrack, was that it would lay flat between the two pieces of fabric. 

I placed the rickrack at the top of the heart, then put the corresponding fabric heart, without the fusible backing on top and pressed it with a dry, hot iron. You could mix this part up- do one side in one set of colors and the reverse in another, just made sure the opposite side doesn't show through. 

More hearts, more pellon... 

The tiny lights are battery operated. I bought these on eBay, but I've seen some that are much the same at Home Depot in the outdoor lighting section. I think those were longer, but doubled would be good, too. The votives have little battery lights in them, too. I don't do real flames. Too many scent issues, plus cats and open flames are never a good idea. Meow.

The sun was down when I finished and I wanted to get this packaged up and ready to mail the next morning, so these are all a little dark. 

There you go! 
( FYI, the birdcage is not in the foreground, it's right next to the fireplace and around 8.5' tall.) 

Here is the photo my daughter took of the banner on her mantel. I did over estimate the length, but better it's too long, than too short. 

If I'd make another heart banner, I'd probably make the hearts smaller, but for a first time trial run, it turned out OK. :)

I have already picked up more fabric to make another one - it was a quilters stack, which is a mix of several fabrics already matched up and this one was all kitty prints. I'm not sure what shape I'll make with them, but it's waiting for me when I get to it!