Monday, November 8, 2010

Birthday Boy Banner

My friend recently asked me to make a sign for her son's birthday party.  At the age of two, he loves two things:  Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.  His mom tried to get him to choose one...but toddlers aren't real decisive.  So, I incorporated both themes. 

I had limited time, but hoped to make something that was more than a simple poster board.  I also wanted a sign they could adapt and reuse in the a banner.  With this blog in mind, I chose to create something budget-friendly, totally handmade, and using only stuff I had around the house.  I started with a few empty boxes.  I drew all the letters for HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM freestyle and used an exacto knife to carve them out.  This was definitely time consuming...but the cardboard was free and gave the sign a little weight and texture.  Shrek is an ogre.  I wanted a rough feel.  Cutting cardboard by hand gave it that jagged-edge feel.

Next, I used a hole-puncher, so I could string together the letters.  In order for the letters to hang down straight, I needed a hole on each side of each letter, otherwise they'd hang crooked.  I spraypainted each letter ogre-green and let them dry completely.  Finally, I used a thin rope or twine to give it a natural and boyish feel.  I fed the rope through each hole to create my first banner with the words HAPPY.  Since it was so long, I decided to make three different banners for each word...which could be layered on the wall.  Make sure your second and third words have longer rope so they hang lower than the HAPPY banner.

I printed out cute pictures of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda to frame each end of the sign.  I used a color printer and cut-out cardboard to glue them to.  I used mod-podge as my glue under and over the paper.  The layer on top protects the paper too.  Just be prepared for the color to run a little.  Be okay with it...because it will happen and it will actually add a funky feel to the picture.
Initially when you glue the paper down, it may look bumpy with a lot of air pockets.  Put your top layer of MP on right away and try to smooth it out.  Don't panic if it bubbles up more.  It actually smooths itself out somehow.  Punch holes on each side of each picture and add them to your banners.  The next year, you can replace them with whatever new theme your child likes...superman pictures, elmo, etc. 

Finally, you can decorate the letters however you want.  Because the child I was making this for likes Kung Fu Panda...and pawprints appeared on both his babyshower invitations and the thank you cards his mom sent...I thought the little prints added a sense of personal history.  I grabbed my paw puncher and mod-podged paw tracks all over the letters.  That was a lot of work.  I'd recommend pawprint stickers if you plan to do the same.  Bettyer yet, the theme of your banner can inspire your own embellishment.  This is personalized, made the way you want it with stuff you can find around the house, and best of is made with love.


  1. I bet he loved his banner!!! Too cute

  2. Thanks for the Facebook add (as Carmen's Quilts). I knew immediately I was in trouble with your blog - I'll be spending a lot of time here getting inspiration and doing new-to-me crafty things. I had to become a follower so I can have easy access from mine. Keep up the great work - see you soon,

    aka: annieinternet

  3. Adam LOVED his banner. Mommy and Daddy, too. Shrek and Kung Fu Panda have a home in his bedroom now :)


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