Elvish Banners

decorations for an enchanted forest




The theme for our 2004 Twelfth Night party was "An Enchanted Forest" - lots of candles, silver branches and glitter. We really needed a decorative focal point in the room so what could have been more perfect than a reproduction of Arwenís bedroom banners? 


I fell in love with the banners the minute I saw them onscreen, so it was a joy to recreate them for myself. Unfortunately we didn't have the time or skill to make a perfect replica. In the end we barely had time to create our simplified version. *note to Jenny - do not put these things off until the week before the event!*

The Supplies

We used:
navy blue bargain table fabric (my guess would be a rayon of some kind),
black cotton (lining),
silver acrylic paint,
spray glue and
super fine glitter


Creating the Design

We went through the laborious process of creating a poster-board stencil of the design to transfer it onto our fabric. What can I say, neither Bridget or I can free-hand worth beans.

(I've since learned an easier method of transferring designs onto dark fabrics. After all that work of course. Place a piece of thin black non-fusible interfacing or black netting over your design and trace the design using a white washable pencil. Lay the marked interfacing/netting on your fabric and retrace the design with the white pencil. The markings will transfer through the thin interfacing/netting, giving you a perfect reproduction of the pattern in a few easy steps. Much, much easier than the way we did it.)


The pattern came from the indispensable AlleyCat. I enlarged it in my graphics program, printed out the sheets and taped them together. I then "cleaned up" the enlarged patterns by outlining the design with a large sharpie marker. This allowed me to make the lines clearer and correct any faults in the pattern.


I added the correct borders and seam allowances to my paper pattern before using them to cut out the fabric and lining.



We then began work on the stencil, or I should say Bridget began work. She did all the meticulous cutting with an exacto knife. She first cut out the paper pattern, scoring the poster board underneath. She then cut the poster board layer separately. I was so glad I didnít have to do that part!!

In preperation for the painting I mounted all the linings to the fabric by carefully pinning the edges then basting on the machine. This was mostly to stabilize that rayon which was a bit slippery. I also tested the paint on fabric scraps and decided to forgo a textile medium.


Marathon Painting

As I said before, the banners ended up being a marathon project, which Iím still a bit bummed about. We literally had 3 days to paint, assemble, finish and hang them. It was a fun project - one I wish I had had time to enjoy properly. Oh well.


I've shown the process of how each banner was made with pictures of one section. The stencil was placed on the fabric, traced with silver Sharpie markers and then removed. We then filled in all the stencil lines, and smoothed out the pattern where necessary with the markers. The design was then painted with slightly watered down acrylic paint. The fine lines required very fine brushes and some serious patience. The whole process was very time consuming but the results were great!


Sun & Moon


For the sun and moon, we made templates of the shapes out of a brown paper bag. We carefully pinned these patterns to the banners, making sure the celestial shapes were lined up correctly with the design underneath. We then covered the surrounding area with paper towels (to catch any residual spray). 


The area was sprayed with an even, fairly thick layer of spray glue. A heavy layer of glitter was then sprinkled onto the area. We allowed the glue to dry a few minutes before removing the template. When the glue was fully dry, we carefully brushed off the excess glitter with a feather duster. The living room, banner and our clothes were covered in glitter for days!!

For the sun we used a fine purple iridescent glitter, while for the moon we used a super fine green iridescent glitter. Really we should have reversed those, as the finer glitter has a lighter appearance but oh well!


Finishing Up


The edges of the banners were finished with self-bias tape. They were actually finished on time thanks to some last minute hand sewing by my dear friend Casey. Inspried by the orginials Bridget attached vintage crystal beads at the bottom of each banner as well. 

The banners were overall a grand success. They really pulled all the decorations in the room together. Very cool, considering they were fun and relatively cheap to make. I think all told the banners cost $30 - a lot of impact for the money. Painted banners are a project we will be doing for future parties I'm sure... just not the week of the event. *hee hee*




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