I'm a huge fan of birthdays. What could be better than taking a day every year to tell your loved ones, Hey, I'm glad you were born!
And while I am fine with cards and gifts and parties, my favorite birthday custom is the celebratory banner.
Well. Let's be honest. It might be a tie between celebratory banners and birthday cake.
Cake is definitely more yummy, but banners have the distinct advantage of fitting into an envelope. For the past few years, I've sent my birthday banners not only to every corner of the USA but all over the world: Canada, Europe, Asia. And I have no intention of slowing down; in fact, I have a dream of sending my birthday banners to every continent on the planet.
Each banner that I've made has its own personality and style, but I use the same basic construction techniques over and over. Using this little pink and yellow version that I recently made for my mom, I can illustrate the simple steps.
1. Cut the letters from interesting paper.
2. Cut rectangles of a coordinating paper or card stock for the backgrounds.
3. Punch holes in each rectangle and thread onto a ribbon or string.
4. Arrange the rectangles along the ribbon/string so they look nice; allow for about 24 inches of extra length on each end, and trim off the ends. Tie the ribbon in a simple knot behind the first and last rectangles; use the long ends to hang the garland wherever you like.
* * * * *
Within this simple process, the opportunities for customization abound:
- Make your letters teeny tiny, or use a full sheet of paper for each one.
- Use store-bought patterned papers, like I did, or try hand-painted paper, magazine photos or interesting paper shopping bags.
- For the background rectangles (or squares or triangles or circles), use any sturdy paper: card stock, brown paper bags, cardboard, or construction paper.
- The message can be customized: add a person's name, tack on an exclamation point or two, drop an extra rectangle with a flower between the "happy" and the "birthday".
So why not join me in Project Birthday Banner? Make some and mail off to your friends and family, wherever they may be.
And when your birthday rolls around, keep an eye on your mailbox. You never know if this might be the year that I send one off to you.
* * * * *
For more stories about birthdays, read: