For a couple of years now, I’ve had this dollar store “Happy Birthday” sign up in my foyer. I think I originally put it up for Sym’s birthday and then forgot to take it down, and every time I remembered it, it would be someone else’s birthday.
Yesterday I decided I’d finally have enough and it was time for a new sign. Originally I was planning on just making regular bunting and stencilling the message on to the pennants, but then I had a better idea: make my own message bunting!
I made this with stuff I had lying around the house, because I’m the kind of person who has this kind of stuff lying around the house, but if you don’t, none of these things were very expensive.
•self-healing cutting mat
•twine (mine is the plastic stuff I bought for my outdoor bunting but any kind of string would work)
•full-sheet sticker paper (not divided into smaller labels)
•metallic origami paper
The first thing I had to do was make my letters! If you have a giant letter stencil you could use that, but I don’t (is that even a thing?) so I laid the letters out in Photoshop. At first I wanted to use a fancier font but I realized that would be too hard to cut out and wouldn’t sit right, so in the end I used Arial Rounded MT Bold at 450pt, which I think is perfect for this.
I made the images 8×10 inches and 300dpi, and I could fit three letters on each one, except for the M and W, which are wider than other letters. If you do it this way remember to flip your images horizontally so your letters are backwards.
I printed my letter images onto the sticker paper…
…and cut them out roughly.
Next I had to decide what colour I wanted for each letter. Since I’m obsessed with rainbows, I went with rainbow colours. SHOCKING I KNOW.
I peeled the backing off the sticker paper and stuck it to the back (white side) of the origami paper.
I cut out the letters with scissors, except for the interior cut outs, which I did with my x-acto knife.
And when you flip them over…
Perfect, non-backwards metallic letters! Now, if you were tracing the letters with a stencil or free handing them you could theoretically draw them right onto the back of the origami paper, but the metallic origami paper is quite thin and tends to curl up and/or tear easily when it’s cut into narrow strips, so the sticker paper also adds much-needed thickness and strength.
Once all the letters were cut out, it was time to assemble the sign! I flipped the letters back over to the sticker side and laid them out with the words spelled backwards (otherwise the shiny side of the completed sign would have said SDNEIRF EMOCLEW).
I didn’t cut the twine because I wasn’t sure how long I needed it to be. I taped the end of the twine to the counter, leaving about ten inches of twine on the far side of the tape for hanging the sign, unspooled it across the counter, pulled it taut and taped it down at the spool end as well. Then I slid my cutting mat under the twine, so I could lay the letters out neatly, at the same height and evenly spaced.
To attached the letters to the twine I just used scotch tape. SO EASY, right? If I’d been thinking I would have saved the scarps from the sticker paper and used that, but tape worked fine. My tape was a little wider than I needed it so I just trimmed any overhanging excess with my x-acto knife (another reason why using the cutting mat here was a good idea!). After I attached each group of letters I would slide the cutting mat over to the next section- I could do about three or four letters at a time. When I had attached all the letters I cut the twine, again leaving about 10 inches for hanging.
All done! I made two separate signs for “WELCOME” and “FRIENDS” because I wasn’t sure if it would hang nicely with a stretch of empty twine in the middle.
To hang the signs I tied the ends of the twine to some thumb tacks, trimmed the excess and stuck them into the ceiling, but you could also tie the ends of the twine into loops and hang them on pins or tacks or whatever.
I love this project- it turned out WAY better than I thought it would. I was worried the letters wouldn’t hang right (especially the L) but it’s totally perfect, and exactly how I pictured it!