Sunday, March 11, 2012

Charm Pack Happy Birthday Banner Tutorial

I see banners and garland everywhere these days.  I haven’t been too quick to jump on the bandwagon but one banner I knew I couldn’t resist was the Happy Birthday Banner. 

Growing up we always had a Happy Birthday tablecloth brought out for each special occasion and I’m hoping this fabric Happy Birthday Banner will be our little family tradition.

I’m not in love with the pennant shaped banners and I wanted something which was quick and easy but still looked finished.  So I decided to use a charm pack!  (If you don't mind cutting your own squares this also a great scrappy project.)
Linus's Happy Birthday Banner

Happy Birthday Banner Charm Pack Tutorial

1  5” charm pack (or 41 squares)
¼ yard of coordinating fabric
Heat n’bond

Note: Make sure when you are picking out fabric it is not too busy.  I dearly love this Salt Air line which I used for the tutorial but it was maybe a little busy for a banner.  If you really love a certain line but you’re worried about how busy it is throw in a few solids for the letters.

1.      Layout charm pack.  You will need 14 squares for the background (HAPPY BIRTHDAY + a space between the two words).  Pick 13 different squares for your letters.  (This is the hardest part.  Try to vary the colors and patterns and make sure the fabric used for a letter will not blend into the background square.) I like to write the order or letter on the back of each square of fabric so I can keep it straight.
Notice the two red scallop pattern pieces next to each other; this is what you want to avoid.

(Of course you could also do what I did and spend time laying it out and then sew it on backwards and make it work, because I’m too lazy to rip it out and start over.)

2.     Once you’ve chosen your layout, use the remaining squares to back the background squares.  With right sides together, sew around three sides, turn and press.  The open side will be the top of the square.
Ready to press!

3.      Cut your binding.  I use three strips the width of the fabric at 1 ¼” wide.  Once you have the three strips sewn together turn one side under ¼”.

4.      The next step is to sew the squares to the binding. Leave a 12-15” tail of binding before starting the first square. Make sure you sew them in the order you laid out.

It works best for me to have my binding on the bottom right side up and then place my squares on top of the binding (face down) as I sew.  (See the diagram above.)  If you do it this way you’ll start with the last letter “Y” and work your way through “Happy Birthday” backwards. 
5.      After you have all the squares sewn on, trim the tails on either side to same length.
6.     Press the binding away from the squares and then back down over the raw edge.  You will also have to press the remaining unfolded side and the ends of the tails under ¼".

7.      Finally topstitch binding catching it on the underneath side to finish.
Do you recognize this picture from a previous post?
8.      Next iron on Heat n’ Bond following manufacturer’s directions to letter squares.  Trace and cut or use cutting machine to cut out letters.  Your letters can be any font but it works best to keep them about 4” tall and no more than 4” wide.

9.     Iron letters to squares and viola!  Now it’s time to bake the cake!

Here's our banner in use.


  1. That turned out so cute. I found you on I Heart Nap Time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It is certainly cute. Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Thanks for the comments! Cathy, I heard you picked up your Dr. Seuss panel Saturday. Enjoy!

  4. Awesome Idea - Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. GREAT tutorial! I am a banner-aholic! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!