Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Make An Advent Banner That Grows by Lois Prahlow

Four weeks of the growing banner.
Week 1
       Prepare the banner background using royal blue felt. Use your own preferred method for construction, with dimensions fitting your needs. These instructions will describe a plan for a 3’x6′ banner. Include a 3″ rod pocket the top for use with a 1″ dowel rod for hanging. The rod should extend 3-4 inches on either side of the banner when inserted in the pocket. Cut a 4′ length of 1/2″cable cord. Tie with single knots on either end of the inserted rod, taking care to pull it taut across the top of the banner. Press a tack through each knot into the wooden dowel to prevent the cord from dragging against the top edges of the banner. Week 1 will announce the First Sunday in Advent with the change in color to royal blue.

Week 2 – Cut a circle from white felt, having a 30″ diameter. It helps to have a poster board template for a circle this size.
       TEMPLATE FOR A 30″ HALF CIRCLE: Tape two pieces of poster board together using wide sealing tape. With a piece of non-stretchable string such as dental floss tied to or tacked to a center point at one edge, stretch out the string, cut, and tie the loose end to a sharp pencil so that 15″ extends in between. Holding the pencil perpendicular to the poster board, and gently pulling the string taut, carefully rotate it around the center axis, marking an arc on the board. Cut out the half-circle.
       To cut the circle from felt, two methods are possible: 1.) Fold the felt. Place the straight edge of the template on the fold.
       Use a black Flair pen (available at Walgreens) to mark around the arc of the template. Cut through both layers of the folded felt at the same time to get the circle. 2.) Open the felt. Place the template and mark one half of the circle (arc only, not the straight edge), then flip the template over, carefully line it up and mark the other half. Cut out the circle.
       Using the unmarked side of the circle so that the black pen marks do not show, place it on the royal blue background, centered from side to side, one third of the way down from the top. When satisfied with the placement, apply it to the background. This may be done by sewing, using Heat and Bond or similar products, or by gluing with Elmer’s glue, fabric glue, or 3M 77 Spray Adhesive, which is the product I prefer. If using the latter, work away from the banner and be sure to protect surrounding surfaces with newspaper or a plastic drop cloth. Remove glasses, if able, or cover with goggles to prevent their contact with airborne glue particles, and consider wearing a mask to avoid inhaling them. The royal blue banner for Week 2 should display a plain, white, 30″ circle.

Week 3 – This week’s change should include the application of six royal blue, pointed “hills” around and covering the edge of the circle.
      TEMPLATE FOR HILLS: Place the center mark on a protractor on the center mark of the 30″ circle template. A circle has 360 degrees, and you want to divide it into six equal parts. Therefore, divide 360 by 6 and you find that you want to mark your template where the protractor indicates 60 and 120 degrees. Draw lines on the poster board from the center of the circle through those marked degrees to the edge of the circle. Cut out one of the inscribed pie-shaped pieces. Fold the piece in half to form a narrower pie-shaped piece. Mark a point 4″-5″ from the curved edge on the fold. Keeping the piece folded, draw a line, either straight or curved; from the marked point to the bottom corner where the two folded edges meet. Cut along this line, open up the template and you should have a symmetrical “hill.”
       Cut six “hills” from royal blue felt, and place them on the white circle. I like to mark dark fabrics such as the royal blue with a Sanford Gold Coat Slim Tip Marker, available at Walgreens. The cleft between the two top hills should be pointing straight up. When satisfied with placement, remove on hill at a time, spray it with glue, and place it back on the circle being careful to not let any white from the circle peek out around the rim. I like to glue every other piece, allowing the ones in between to hold my place, and then glue the remaining ones.
       A plain white snowflake should be visible!

Week 4 – Prepare templates for a manger, a cross, and for the name, JESUS.
  • MANGER: Use the same technique to obtain a symmetrical manger as was used to form the hill pattern. If folded poster board is somewhat difficult to work with, use an old manila folder. Graph paper, spray glued to such a folder, is helpful in determining measurements. Draw half of the manger on the folded graph paper. Cut both sides together, and you should have a symmetrical manger. The design can be described as a “V” shape with legs.
  • CROSS: Use the guide lines on the graph paper to measure, mark, and cut out a long, thin, cross.
  • JESUS: To make the name arced, start by creating the basic shape to be occupied by the letters. With the top line of the manger as a base, using the folded paper technique, draw and cut an arc to form a bottom base for the letters. Measure up from this line how tall you want the letters to be, and repeat this arc to form the top edge of the space from which the letters will be cut. In the space, draw an “S” in the middle, and them draw the remaining letters around it. Do not worry if the letters are unequal in width, and are not “perfect.” Allow them to flow from and into each other. Each letter should have a gradual thin-to-thick flow within itself. Aim for balance.
       Use the templates to draw symbols from royal blue felt. Cut and place in center of snowflake. It may be helpful in placing the cross to work with a long piece of felt. When satisfied with placement, cut the cross to avoid having pieces overlap. Remove pieces one at a time, glue and reposition in relationship to remaining shapes.

The above patterns are copyrighted by Lois but visitors are free  to create banners for their church or for personal projects.

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