Tips On Church Banner-Making: Permanent Application Process of Your Designs/Letters

This article is a continuation of basic church banner making processes. Here I will share details on how to permanently apply your already prepared designs to your banner background without sewing. As you may recall from previous articles, your patterns were used to trace and cut out your designs from fabrics that you have ironed fusible transwebbing to the back side.

First, you will need a flat, clean surface to work on, preferably one large enough to accommodate the size of your banner. You will need to make the surface “ironing friendly”. This means you can either place a large ironing pad or large towel on the surface so that you can safely iron on it without damaging the surface area. Tip: Be sure the area is free of crumbs or wet spots or any other foreign matter. I recommend keeping all food and drinks out of the area entirely. Nothing is more disappointing than having a beautiful, almost finished banner ruined by wet spots or food that leaves oily spots!

You will also need a straight edge ruler or yard stick, several straight pins, an iron, transparent paper (or drafting paper), and fabric paint that comes in a squeeze bottle, like Tulip fabric paint.

Begin by placing your letters and design on the laid-out background where you think they will look the best and offer a balanced composition that is pleasing to the eye. To line up words, I use a yard stick and straight pins. I measure the distance from the top of the banner to where I desire the bottom of the letter of the first line of the word/s to appear. I make this same measure on the left and the right sides and mark each one with straight pin. Now I place the yard stick just under those two pins so that it rests directly on the underside of each pin, creating a straight line to place my letters on. Peel the paper backing off of each letter (from the iron-on transwebbing) and place the each letter so that the bottom of the letter rests against the top edge of the yard stick. Use your eye to space your letters/words so they look balanced. If you have more than one line of words, space the lines equally apart using the same method of measuring from the top edge of the banner on left and right sides and marking with a straight pin and then placing the yard stick between the marked pins to form the straight line for your next line of words.

I like to tack each letter with the tip of my heated iron just to insure that it will not accidentally move when I remove the yard stick and work on the next line of words. Once you have the design and letters where you want them, it is time to iron them down.

Do not iron directly on the fabric. Use a piece of paper, preferably transparent paper. I use a leftover large piece of transweb paper that already had the glue side transferred onto a large banner pattern from previous work. If you do not have that, I recommend drafting paper sheets that you can purchase from an office or art supply store. These drafting sheets come in large enough sizes to work well and are transparent enough for you to see your patterns beneath it as you iron. Carefully lay the paper over the laid out patterns and iron them down on medium/high heat (test it first to be sure your iron is not too hot), moving the iron over the design letters until they are fused to the banner background. Moving your iron also keeps from making iron depression marks on the banner. It only takes about a minute to fuse. Remove the paper and move it to the next area until each section is fused thoroughly.

TIP: If a letter shifts out of place while ironing, there is a remedy. Allow the material to cool then try to peel off the letter. If it does not peel off easily, you can use a damp cotton swab or cloth to dampen only the letter or design that needs to be removed. Once dampened, the fusible glue is loosened enough so it should peel off easily and you can reapply it in the corrected position. Try not to dampen too much or you may leave a water mark on the banner background.

Once you have everything ironed in place, you can now make them permanent. I like to use Tulip gold Glitter dimensional fabric paint. I carefully squeeze and drag the tip along the edges of all of the letters and designs to create an even small, smooth bead line of paint that touches the edge of the letter/design shape and connects to the banner background. This creates a permanent adhesion without sewing a stitch! You will want to practice first to get the hang of how much to squeeze and the rate of dragging the tip along the edges. Sometimes the paint will have a bubble or burp of air that you cannot foresee. The Glitter paint type is more forgiving than other colors, because it has a clear base. When a burp happens, you can gently wipe away any excess. So for beginners, use the Glitter Tulip fabric paint. With experience, you will be able to better control the bead line of paint and the “burps”. When you become expert, try using Tulip Slick color paints for a different effect. Practice first.

For large banners that have large letters, you can still get away with not having to sew. In this case you can use fabric glue, like Aleene’s Fabric Glue and a suitable narrow trim for outlining each letter. It is best to use a narrow trim that has the ability to curve, such as a woven trim or single line of sequin trim. First outline one letter at a time with a thin line of glue. Then adhere your trim carefully over the glue so that the trim covers the edge of the letter and overlaps to touch the banner background. When you get to a sharp corner, hold the trim down firmly and create the corner. For some trims, you may want to tack down sharp corners with a tiny dab of hot glue. Then continue with the fabric glue. If using hot glue, be sure to remove all glue “strings” because the “strings’ may later get ironed onto your banner and ruin it.

You have the basics of how to make banners for churches. You have read how to find inspiration for your designs; how to execute your ideas into patterns and how to transfer them onto fabric. You have also read how make your banner background. Now you know how to permanently apply those letters and designs to your background. In future articles, I will share more advanced techniques. The next article will discuss ideas for how to adorn your banner with sparkle and richness.