This is a fun, easy, and affordable project that any teacher can do to brighten up her classroom. I’ve included really detailed instructions here because I personally prefer all the details when I’m trying a new project. Don’t let the length of the instructions fool you: there is nothing complicated about this little project! The hardest part for this English teacher was doing the math to determine how much material was needed. 😉
Step 1: Choose and gather your materials
- Decide the total finished length of your banner(s) before shopping for materials.
- You will need:
- Jute twine, butcher string, thin ribbon, or yarn, etc. for the banner’s string (measure out about 6 extra inches or more on each end for hanging)
- Sharp scissors (fabric scissors are best) or rotary cutter and mat
- Measuring tape or yardstick
- Strong, removable tape (like painter’s tape)
- 2-5 different coordinating prints and/ or colors of fabric and/ or ribbon
- Optional: straight pins
- What kind of material should I buy?
- For fabric, a lightweight cotton-poly blend is easiest to work with. Any store that sells fabric will offer lots of this type of fabric in many colors and patterns. However, you can certainly branch out and try other textures such as burlap, lace, tulle, corduroy, faux leather, felt, etc. Just keep in mind if you’re using a more flimsy fabric, you’ll need to buy a little extra to fill out your banner; or buy a little less of a thicker fabric.
- For ribbon, 1” or 2” width grosgrain or “silk” would work well. Wired ribbon or skinny ribbon would not work well.
- I chose an inexpensive cotton-poly blend in a solid, a gingham, a mottled semi-solid, and a print (coffee beans!) to match my coffee shop-themed classroom decor set.
- How much material should I buy?
- Note 1: For my banner, I cut my material into 1”x10” strips, and tied about 33 strips per foot, for a very full, fluffy banner. The below measurements are based upon that. If you’re going for a different look, you’ll need to do your own calculations for how much material to purchase.
- Note 2: The fabric measurements below are assuming you’re purchasing fabric that is the typical 54” wide. If your fabric is a different width, you’ll need to recalculate.
- ⅔ yard (24”) of fabric will provide over 3 feet of banner
- 1 yard of fabric will provide almost 5 feet of banner
- If buying ribbon, you’ll need a lot! You’ll need at least 9.2 yards of ribbon per foot of finished banner. A 3’ banner would require about 27.6 yards of ribbon; a 5’ banner, about 46 yards.
- Note 3: These amounts listed are total amounts needed. You’ll need to divide the total by the number of different patterns you’re getting to know how much of each fabric to have cut, or how many rolls of each ribbon to buy. For example, if you’re using 3 different patterns of fabric and you’re creating a 5’ banner, purchase ⅓ yard of each different fabric.
Step 2: Cut your materials
- Measure the desired length of each banner.
- Cut your string to length.
- Cut your ribbon or fabric strips.
- For my banner, I cut strips of fabric 10”x1” each. I needed about 33 strips per foot of banner.
- If you have a rotary cutter and mat, this would be a great time to use them. If not, I’d suggest cutting your fabric to 10” strips, then mark every 1” at the top and bottom of the strip, or make a template from cardboard and cut along that.
- Depending on your fabric, you may be able to pin a few layers together and cut several strips at a time.
- Your cuts obviously don’t have to be perfect, but as much uniformity as possible will make your finished banner hang nicely.
Step 3: Tie on your strips
- Tape both ends of your banner string to a table or desk to keep it in place. You want it to be firmly in place, only lose enough in the middle to reach your fingers under to loop your strips.
- You’re not going to knot each strip onto the banner string, but you’re going to loop it on instead. These written instructions sound way more complicated than the reality of the actual process. This isn’t complex, just tedious. 🙂
- Fold your strip in half.
- Place the folded strip under the banner string, with the fold at the top.
- Fold your folded edge down over the banner string, creating a little loop, and pull both of the loose ends of the strip through the loop.
- Holding the banner string in place, pull the loose ends tight.
- After you have a few strips tied onto the string, scoot the strips all together as tightly as possible, to create a full, fluffy banner. (Of course, if you’d prefer a less fluffy banner, don’t scoot the strips as tightly together — it’s up to you!)
- Continue looping on strips until your banner is the length you want.
I hope you’ll enjoy getting crafty for your classroom! I’ve found that textiles just add so much to a classroom to make it colorful, cozy, and welcoming.
If you teach older students and would like some classroom decor inspiration, check out this popular post packed with classroom theme ideas that are mature enough for middle or high school.