October 21, 2012

Happy Halloween Banner

I really fell in love with some of Pottery Barn's new Halloween decorations this year.  In particular, their Happy Halloween Banner and a burlap table runner.  Now the runner was definitely beyond my skill level, so I bought that one, but I was convinced I could make a decent banner myself.  Sure enough, I did.  I'm pretty proud of myself for this one.  I think it cost less than $15 and took me about 2 hours.

Supplies (for 15-foot banner as shown in pictures)

  • 2 yards of burlap (will be plenty)
  • 8 1/2" x 11" paper to use as guide
  • 8 yards of hemp cord (found in the necklace/bead aisle in a craft store)
  • Scissors
  • Black craft paint
  • Brown craft paint (the one I used was slightly metallic, which really worked out well)
  • Foam brush
  • Small paint brush (you could use a variety of sizes for the different letters and details you add)
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • 2 nails or hooks


Lay out burlap, but don't completely unfold.  This will help minimize the time spent cutting squares.

Using a piece of paper as a guide, cut one long strip of burlap.  It is ok to have variation in the length and width of the panels, as long as they are roughly the same size.

Fold it over, and cut at the folds to get 4 panels for your banner.  Again, neatness is not the key here.

Repeat until you have at least 14 panels.  I cut a couple extra for insurance.  Mix up the panels so you don't have the exact same size pieces next to each other in the final banner.

Lay a panel of burlap on your cardboard (believe me, the paint is going to transfer through the burlap and newspaper will just become mush underneath; you want cardboard or an empty cereal box to protect your work surface).  Using the foam brush, paint brown smudges around the border of the panel, leaving an oval for the letter in the center.  Use uneven strokes and dapple some corners more than others to get a relaxed look to the banner.  You aren't trying for perfect edges here.

Using the small paint brush, paint black letter in center of panel either using a stencil or free handing.  I didn't see any stencils I liked, and I found that the PB style was actually fairly easy to mimic.

Paint spiders, cobwebs, and paint splotches on random bits of the panels (though not on every single one) as you go.

Repeat until you have Happy Halloween spelled out.  Lay panels on newspaper to dry.

It could also be fun to paint an extra panel at each end with a pumpkin, ghost, haunted house, or crow silhouette!

Once panels are dry, thread the hemp cord along the top of each panel.  The cord was too thick to thread through any needles I had, but I did use a needle to stretch out a hole in the burlap to run the cord through.  I just ran the cord over two stretches at the top of each panel- I didn't weave it in and out throughout all of the burlap.  You will need to trim the frayed edge of the cord as you go.  Without a needle, it will begin to split apart and be impossible to thread after a few minutes.  You'll have plenty of excess, so don't worry about these little trims.

Tie ends of the cord to nails or hooks to hang your banner.  Trim excess.  Marvel in your success!

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