Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Make a Very Personalized Banner for Your Vendor Tent

Before you know it, Saturday will be here and I will be vending my jewelry creations at a festival.  I wanted a new banner that celebrates some of my newest creations to help invite people into my booth.  I could have designed it on the computer and sent it to a sign shop to be printed, but there really wasn't enough time, and I thought I would like it better if I made it myself.

I wanted a fairly big sign and I wanted it to be cloth because of weight concerns, but how to make it?  I went to Michael's and looked at their artist canvas but you can only buy the unstretched canvas in a big roll and I might never use the rest of it.  Then I thought about stretched canvasses, and I even looked at foam core board and gesso board.  Then I decided to think outside of the box and I went next door to the Ross Store and looked in the table dressing section where I found just the thing!  A table runner with a cotton lining!  Why is this perfect, you may ask? 

While I was at Michael's I also looked at lettering.  Since I was in kind of a hurry, I decided that stencils were out and I should really look at adhesive backed lettering.  I had found the perfect thing for fabric--iron-on letters in a three inch height.  But to use them I would have to have fabric that would hold up to a fairly hot iron temperature.  This cotton lining, which became the face of my banner, was the perfect fit.  And the velvet tapestry front, which would become the back, was dressy enough for me to want to turn over the points on either end to further embellish the banner.  Also luckily for me, it was Tuesday and buyers of a certain age get a discount on Tuesday at Ross!

So back to Michael's to pick up the letteres and home to see what I could find on the computer to complete the banner design.  I had some tee shirt transfers for dark fabric which would make it easy to add my art work to the banner.  One of my old banners had a beautiful blue fairy that came from royalty free clip art and I thought about using her again because she has a very nice magic wand with which to bless all the jewelry! 

The next step was to select photos of my jewelry that were compatible with the burgundy colored banner and the black lettering.  I decided on my silvery Green Man pendant and the Venus in the Garden pendant since the colors were similar and since they depict nature deities, they are fitting for the tone of the festival. 
I printed out the photos and cut them out.  It took several printings to get the size I wanted before I was ready to use the tee shirt transfers.  In the process, I decided against the blue fairy and instead selected the new Green and Silver on Copper with Lapis and Quartz Points Magic Wand to complete the tableau.  My photo editing software has a function that adds fireworks to a photo and one of these had just the perfect amount of sparkle for a magic wand!

Next came the measuring!  The banner was seventy-two inches wide and eleven inches deep, so I measured off the area that I planned to embellish, and decided on a margin for the top of the lettering.  Using a yellow colored pencil, I marked off all the lines and starting and ending points for the lettering and drew around the photos of artwork so that when I began to iron, there would be no questions as to placement.  I ironed on the letters first, because they required the wool setting whereas the tee shirt transfers required the cotton setting of the iron.  I followed the instructions that came with both products and everything woked out perfectly. 

After it was all completed, I felt that the banner needed a little something more to make it stand out.  The black letters against the burgundy background were pretty but needed some contrast, so I edged them in silver leaf pen.  I decided to use the same treatment for the jewelry pieces.  The silver leafing added just the right amount of contrast so that the banner was instantly more readable.

Now for the hangers!  I went to Jo Ann Store to look for grommets so that the banner could be tied to the tent, but while I was there, I went back to the drapery department and found a solution that I liked even better.  There were metal rings with clips attached. It occurred to me that I could attach two of these rings together so that one end clipped to the banner and the other end clipped to the tent roof and it would be non-invasive, meaning I didn't have to cut any holes in the banner, and the left over rings could be attached to the bottom of the banner as weights.  Having worked with fabric art in the past, I had already learned the importance of weights when your design is going to be swinging in the breeze!   I got two sets of ten rings, added some very large multi-colored aluminum rings from the bead department for connectors, and returned home to put them together.  I used 7 sets of two rings and clips with the multicolored rings as connectors across the top, which left six rings to hang from the bottom as weights.

This banner did not come cheap!  The adhesive letters and the metal rings were $35, the table runner was about $6, and the metal rings cost $3 and the tee shirt transfer was probably $5, so all in all, I spent $49, but I got exactly the banner I wanted, very personalized and with no worries it being ready in time for the show. 

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