Inspired by our glorious national anthem, I set out to construct my own star-spangled banner (not old glory) to wave over a modern Independence Day celebration. Making a fabric appliqué collage banner is easier than it looks, and it’s easy on the budget because it only takes a little fabric, rope, ribbon, and hot fabric glue. That’s right, glue… no sewing skills are necessary! This makes it so quick to construct, that it can be made the day before a party. Even better, no one else will have anything like it, because it’s your own one-of-a-kind work of art!
Let’s begin with fabric selection as there are a number of ways to go about this… if you have a plethora of leftover fabric scraps, all the power to you, use them! For my banner base triangles, I used old denim. (This might be the perfect project to do something useful with that old pair of jeans that hasn’t fit in, well… awhile!) You can also purchase coordinates at the fabric shops and craft stores. (See my affiliate links in the side bars as they offer great discounts from time to time.) For my appliqués, I bought a patriotic print on sale (from Le fidèLe Designs affiliate Joann / Hancock Fabrics) that was just perfect for collaging. (See more denim and patriotic print fabric completing my Star-Spangled Independence Day Party Décor as table cloths here.)
Divide the end of your base fabric into 6 inch sections, and mark the underside of the fabric with a pen.
Next, mark 8 inches below the top line to form the length of your future triangles. (You can either cut this strip now or wait until all your marks have been made.)
Mark a dot on the 3 inch midpoint of each 6 inch top section. Use a ruler to mark the corresponding point directly below it, onto the 8 inch line (or cut). This will be your triangle’s point. Mark a line to connect this point to each corner of the 6 inch marks you made first. (You will be making triangles with each connection.)
Cut along each line to make your triangle bases. Another option is to make a tab at the top of each triangle in order to fold it over a thick piece of rope… otherwise just glue the triangle top to the rope. (I elected to make a tab for these. I’ll demonstrate the tab-less version in a future tutorial.)
Cut a tapered edge on any tab tops you make, so that it isn’t seen on the front after gluing.
Now cut out individual images from your printed fabric… just as you would in a paper collage or decoupage project. Use good fabric shears for a clean cut, or old scissors to make an intentionally rough edge… again, it’s your project, so it’s your choice. Also, think about cutting apart some of the larger images into smaller ones. (For example, cut apart the eagle from the flag in one image.)
Lay out your triangles to plan your design. Rearrange your cut images until you find it looks pleasing. (This is the part where banner craft becomes collage art.)
Adhere the appliqués to the triangle base with hot fabric glue. (Because I’ve already dealt with staunch naysayers concerning the ability of hot glue to work on fabric… there are varieties of hot glue made just for fabric, and it will say so on the label. Press the fabrics together immediately after applying the glue, using silicone hand protection of course. Once the glue has cooled completely, I defy anyone to pull the 2 materials apart!) There are also many varieties of cold fabric glue that just require more drying time. (This would be the safer option if constructing this with kiddos.)
Next glue each triangle flap over the rope you’ve chosen, leaving an inch or so between each. (For the tab-less version, just glue along the top of the triangle’s underside to attach it to the rope directly.) Don’t forget to tie a loop at each end for hanging.
Cut lengths of random yet coordinating ribbon to tie between each panel. Another option is to cut strips of fabric and tie those on. (You can see I’ve done this in the bows I glued to the panel fronts.) Now go hang it up and admire your handiwork! 🙂
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
May you have an absolute blast crafting your own star-spangled banner this Independence Day!
P.S. If you like collage, check out my July 4th Altered Art Greeting Card as Mailable Mixed Media Independence Day Décor (DIY Collage Art Tutorial).