DIY Happy Birthday Banner Tutorial

Get the party started by hanging up this stunning happy birthday garland! The best part of making this cheerful DIY birthday banner is that you can bring it out year after year.

How to make a happy birthday banner

No party scheme would be complete without a string of bunting! Our two-strand Happy Birthday banner features mini pennant flags with colourful triangle details. Raid your stash for your brightest fabric scraps for this project!

Nothing says party quite like putting up some vibrant decorations and we love this colour happy birthday garland, designed by Rebecca Reid. Opt for bright colours to set the mood and keep it ready for a special celebration. It would also make a brilliant gift for a friend or relative to keep after their birthday party to mark the occasion.

Looking for more bunting inspiration? Learn how to make bunting using fabric scraps, use up even smaller bits of material with our guide to how to sew a flag banner or get spooky and learn how to make a Halloween banner.

The materials given are for making thirteen flags to spell out ‘Happy Birthday’ as we have done. If you want to make different letters then adjust the quantities accordingly. We have used four different fabrics for our bottom points with the same fabric used for the appliqué letters. You can use just one fabric for this if you prefer.

Read on to learn how to make a happy birthday banner.

This article was first published in Simply Sewing magazine – the UK best-selling magazine filled with projects for everyone who sews or wants to start.

DIY Happy Birthday Banner

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You Will Need

  • Main fabric (40x112cm (16x44in))
  • Contrast fabrics (20x112cm (8x44in)), each of four different fabrics
  • Bondaweb (30x40cm (12x16in))
  • Cotton tape or bias binding (2cm (3/4in) width x 4m (4yds))
  • Basic sewing kit

Total time:

Cutting out

Step 1

From the main fabric cut out: Bunting top squares: 26 squares, measuring 12x12cm (4¾x4¾in) each.

Step 2

Step two From the contrast fabric cut out: Bunting bottom points: 26 rectangles, measuring 7x12cm (2¾x4¾in) each. Appliqué letters: 13 pieces, measuring 10x8cm (4×318in) each.

Joining the bunting fabrics

Step 1

Place one bottom points rectangle right sides (RS) together along the bottom edge of one top square and stitch together then press the seams open.

How to make happy birthday bunting step one

Step 2

Repeat this to join the remainder of the squares and rectangles in the same way.

Marking the bottom points

Step 1

You now need to draw the bottom points onto the wrong side (WS) of one rectangle. Measure half way along the square and rectangle seam and mark with a small dot in pencil.

Step 2

In the bottom right hand corner measure 1cm (38in) up and 1cm (38in) across and mark with a dot. Repeat this to make a dot in the bottom left hand corner.

Step 3

Join one corner dot to the centre dot and the other corner dot to the centre dot to form two diagonal lines.

How to make happy birthday bunting step two

Step 4

Mark half of the joined squares and rectangles in the same way.

Stitching the bunting flags

Step 1

Place one piece of marked fabric RS together with an unmarked piece and pin together, making sure the seams between the square and rectangle match exactly.

Step 2

Using a 1cm (38in) seam allowance, stitch the pieces together down one side, stopping at the marked corner dot.

Step 3

To pivot at the dot, keep the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric so your fabric is facing up the diagonal line, lower the presser foot then stitch along the diagonal line to the centre dot on the seam.

Step 4

Pivot at the centre dot to stitch down the other diagonal line, stopping at the next corner dot.

Step 5

Pivot to stitch up the other side to the top of the rectangle.

How to make happy birthday bunting step three

Finishing the flag

Step 1

Trim the seams and snip off the fabric at the points and clip a notch at the centre dot, taking care not to snip the stitches. This is so the flag turns RS out neatly and reduces bulk at the points.

How to make happy birthday bunting step four

Step 2

Turn the flag RS out, pushing out the points carefully, taking care not to pierce the fabric. Using a point turner is best for this rather than a pair of scissors.

Step 3

Press the flag flat so the seams are right at the edge.

How to make happy birthday bunting step five

Step 4

Make the remainder of the flags in the same way.

Making the appliqué letters

Step 1

Trace over the appliqué letters onto tracing paper then turn your paper over to the WS and place your Bondaweb paper side up on top. Trace over the letters so they are now in reverse.

Step 2

Cut out each letter roughly outside the traced lines then place them paper side up onto the WS of the chosen appliqué fabrics.

Step 3

Press gently into place until they are firmly stuck using a dry medium temperature iron (don’t use any steam).

Step 4

Carefully cut out all the words along your drawn pencil lines. Step five Remove the paper backing, then you are ready to stick them in place.

How to make happy birthday bunting step six

Appliquéing the flags

Step 1

Place one bunting flag RS up then place one letter on the square. Position it centrally across and 1cm (38in) up from the bottom seam. Press gently into place.

Step 2

Work a machine zigzag stitch around the edge of the letter so one side of the stitch goes into the appliqué fabric and the other side into the bunting flag. This will hold the appliqué letter firmly in place and also gives a decorative effect. We have used a matching thread for this but you can use a contrast one for a more three-dimensional look.

How to make happy birthday bunting step seven

Step 3

Appliqué one letter to the front of each bunting flag in the same way.

Making the bunting

Step 1

Press the cotton tape or bias binding in half lengthways with WS together then fold it over the top of the flags to encase the top raw edges.

Step 2

Decide how much gap you want between the flags; we have used 3cm (1¼in). Pin them into place, making sure you leave some spare at either end for hanging. We have strung our words separately but you can make them into one long piece if you prefer.

Step 3

Stitch the tape or binding into place close to the edge of the flags to complete.

How to make happy birthday bunting step eight
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You’re all done! Hang up your beautiful happy birthday garland in pride of place and admire your efforts.

How to make happy birthday garland