DIY or Buy: Hanging Wall Banner

Sometimes I need to run into Hobby Lobby for a marker or some yarn, this should take 5 minutes right? Wrong. I find myself walking down every isle just to see what new home decor they have. One day I saw these wall banners and thought, "that's funny, I've been making those myself, I made one for my wedding!". This is something I think about all the time, what home decor items could I actually make myself and what's worth the price tag? I may lean slightly more on the "I could do that" side, so I like to test this theory. Sometimes I'm successful, others times I flop, and then there are times where I did make a good replica but spent more on supplies than it would cost to buy in the store!

In this post I'm going to run through how to make one of these banners, and how much it costs to see if it's worth the DIY or if it's better to spend the cash and save the time!


Here are the supplies you will need:

  • Muslin- 1 yard can make about 6 banners, depending on wide your fabric is and how large you want to make the banners. (I recommend a lightweight fabric, but you can really use anything you want!)
  • A sewing machine- to stitch the banner (or if you're really opposed to sewing some good fabric glue!)
  • Fabric scissors and an iron
  • Dowel rod- I like to use 1/4" width and about 12" long (you can buy them pre-cut)
  • Yarn for hanging- any color or thickness you feel matches your design! 
  • Paint- fabric, acrylic, or even chalk paint! 
  • A fine brush


  • Cardboard- to make a stencil for the fabric
  • A template- to trace your design so you don't need to free hand!

Part 1. Make the Banner

Take your fabric and measure out how large you want your banner to be, don't forget to add seam allowance (about 1/2"). My stencil is 10" wide  and 15" from the top to the bottom point. You'll want to keep in mind the loop at the top for the hanger will need about 1 1/2". Also make sure the point at the bottom is symmetrical, mines 5 " on each side and just shy of 2" longer than the sides. Either make your cardboard stencil and trace it onto the fabric in pencil or measure and mark right on the fabric, then use fabric scissors to cut your shape out.

Next use your iron to turn in all of the edges except the top by about 1/4". Try to keep this as even and consistent as possible, going slow around the point to keep it flat and crisp. Fold the fabric in on itself one more time and press again, concealing the edge of the fabric. Now stitch everywhere that you pressed. The seam allowance is up to you, whatever you're comfortable doing making sure you catch all 3 layers of fabric. At the corners lower your needle, lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric to give your stitches clean, crisp corners. 


For the top, start by pressing 1/4" in and then fold 1 1/4" under and stitch close to the bottom to conceal the edge and leave room for the dowel rod to go into the loop you created. 

Now you'll have something that looks like this:


Part 2. The Design

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Okay, you have your banner made, and now it's ready for some beautification! But what's it going to say? Use your Instagram, Pinterest, or Google machine to find some inspiration. Once you've decided on a quote, phrase, or even picture; use the computer program of your choosing (this can be illustrator, photoshop, or a good ol' Word doc) and mock up your design. Print this out on a regular 8 1/2" x 11" paper. It can be in black and white (even if you plan to use multiple colors!). Play around with layouts and fonts keeping in mind that very thin lines with be hard to paint. At the bottom of this post I have attached a downloadable link for the template I'm using and a few others!



Part 3. Stencil & Paint

Now that you have your design printed out, position it under your fabric. If you're using a light weight fabric like I am, you will be able to see the design well enough to trace it lightly with a pencil. If you're really daring, skip the last step completely, grab your pencil, and freehand your design! I tend to stick to the template! 

Next grab your paint, paint brush, and a steady hand and fill in those lines! 





My biggest tips are go slow, and start your brush strokes in the center of your letters. If you start toward the edge and there's more paint on your brush than you thought your letters are going to get wide fast!



Part 4. Assemble & Hang

Once your paint has dried it's time to hang! Take your dowel rod and slip it through the loop you sewed. On one side tie your yarn to the dowel. How you tie it is up to you. A simple knot with a loose end or tie three on and braid them, it's up to you! Decide how long you want the banner to hang and tie the other side accordingly.  Trim the other side to match however you knotted the first, and you're done! 

So is this project worth doing? Or is the retail cost worth the time it saves?

Cost break down:

Muslin- You can get 1 yard of lightweight muslin for as low as $2.99 at places like Hobby Lobby, and since we don't need an entire yard, let's say we need 1/2 yard. That's about $1.50 for the muslin.

Dowel Rod- At Michaels you can buy a 1/4" wide, 36" long dowel rod for 69 cents. This would make 3 banners. 

And that's really it. The other things are items most people have around the house; some yarn, paint, scissors. If you don't have a sewing machine, that certainly can cause an issue. But there is fabric glue or even the option to use a sheet of felt instead of muslin, but this will be harder to paint on. These are definitely more cost efficient the more you make. To just make one you may have to get more supplies than you actually use, but they could be a great gift that's super easy to customize!


I think this one is a toss up. There is a lot of cool wall decor out there, but there are SO many possibilities in making your own. 

I say get out there and make stuff. Happy making!

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