What happens when you go to JoAnn Fabrics and two different burlap remnants just happen to jump into your cart?
Why, you make a quick, easy Thanksgiving banner for your mantel, of course! This was really a SUPER easy craft, and it took about 2 hours altogether to finish. I went ahead and took photos of the process, so if y’all want to learn how to make your own, just keep scrolling!
What you will need:
- Burlap–How much you need will depend on the size of your triangles and the number of letters in your banner. I used a little over a third of a half-yard remnant for my triangles, and even less for the orange knots.
- Letter stencils, craft paint, and a stencil brush or other stiff paint brush
- Jute or similar to string your letters on
- A piece of paper to make a template for your triangles
- Typical sewing tools: sewing maching or needle and thread, scissors, rotary cutter and mat, iron, etc.
The first thing I did was iron the burlap. I ironed it on my wool (medium) setting, spraying liberally with the water sprayer on my iron. Then I went over it again with some Magic Sizing to help stiffen it up a bit more. Be warned: burlap is stinky when you are ironing it.
I made a template for my triangles with a scrap piece of paper. The easiest way to make an even triangle is to cut a rectangle the length you want, then measure and mark the center of one short side. Cut from the outer edge of the opposite short side to the center you’ve marked, then turn it and cut from the other side to the center. I didn’t take a photo of that process, so hopefully those instructions make sense.
I cut my burlap into strips that were 1″ taller than the length of my triangle template. To cut burlap nice and straight, measure along the edge to the length you want, then carefully pull out a fiber at the point you want to cut. If you look closely at the middle of the photo above, you can see a line where a fiber is missing. After removing the fiber, use scissors to cut across the line you’ve just made.
I placed my template on the burlap strip I cut above and used my ruler and rotary cutter to cut out my triangles. I flipped the template each time so I could get more triangles out of each strip of burlap than I would have if I just kept moving it straight across.
Here is my cut burlap triangle. I just free-hand cut the top corners off at an angle. This step doesn’t have to be precise; it just has to be a slightly smaller angle so when it’s folded over later, it won’t show in the front.
Here it is with the top corners cut off.
I used a scrapbooking letter stencil to paint my letters. There are special brushes for stenciling: they have thick, stiff bristles that are generally cut off flat at the end. I don’t have one, but I tend to make do with what I have laying around here anyway. In this case, I’m using a fat preschool paint brush. It worked, lol.
Anyway, to paint your letters, you want to get just a small amount of paint on your brush, and gently dab it straight down over the opening of your stencil. Using a brushing motion or too much paint can cause it to bleed under your stencil, which will give you blurred edges. If you’ve never stenciled on fabric before, you might try a letter on a scrap piece first, just to make sure you’ve got the technique down before you paint your triangles.
Here are all my triangles freshly painted.
Once they all dry, turn one over, fold the top over at the widest point, then iron it down. Repeat with the rest of your triangles.
Here they are with all the tops folded and ironed.
Next, stitch across the top of each triangle to create the pocket for the jute to go through. Since my top folds were 1″ wide, I stitched them about 3/4″ from the fold. I don’t cut between triangles as I am sewing. I just keep feeding them in as I get to the end of the previous one, then cut them all apart once I am done. I find this method to be much quicker than doing them all separately.
Next you’ll want to cut your piece of jute to whatever length you want your banner, plus a little extra for hanging. Because of the stiffness of the burlap, my usual method of using a safety pin to thread the cord through the pocket wouldn’t work. I found a small dowel rod about 12″ long and hacked a notch in the end of it with a serrated kitchen knife.
Hey, like I said, I use what I’ve got around here.
I caught the jute in the notch, held it against the other end of the dowel, then pushed it through the pockets.
I didn’t take photos of this step, but I added the contrasting knots in between the triangles by cutting 9″ x 2″ strips, then tying them to the jute and then trimming the ends to the length I wanted. Two tips here: I did not measure and pull out a fiber to keep these strips perfectly straight, since I wanted a little bit of fraying on them and knotted you can’t tell if they’re straight anyway. Also, even if you want smaller knots, don’t cut the strips any shorter than 9″ or so or they will be much harder to tie. It’s easier to tie a long strip and then trim afterwards.
Once you’ve added your knots, you are ready to hang your nifty new banner wherever you want to add some holiday cheer! I used masking tape to secure the ends of my jute to the back of my mirror. If you are hanging yours from the mantel itself or somewhere else where this would work, you can tie a small loop at each end of your jute and hang them over small nails or my favorite, those handy removable Command hooks.
And here is my finished Thanksgiving mantel! I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Please let me know in the comments if you make one or if you have any questions!