Two Sided Tri-Color Banner

Purple Number/Letter Side of Banner

Orange Surround side of banner

Last month I posted some signs and banners that I made for a party.  Today  you’ll find the step by step process for making the two sided tri-color happy birthday banner that was featured in that post.  I like making these for several reasons.  First, the three colors can make some nice  graphic statements, especially if you utilize color triads as in this example.  Second, you can use inexpensive paper.  Third, while they look complicated to make, they are fairly simple but do require you carefully follow multiple steps.   To make it easier to follow, they are numbered below.  When you’re done, you’ll have a sturdy banner that will last for many years.

Here are the materials and tools you’ll need: three colors of paper, grommets and grommet set, spray adhesive (my constant companion), and string or ribbon.   A brayer will help make everything adhere well, and you’ll want some small weights to hold template paper in place (more on that later).

In designing your banner, you’ll  choose one color to be your background (bottom layer) color,  one color to be your letters and one color to be your surround.  You will also use all interior waste peices, so don’t discard them!

1.  Start by cutting out all your background color pieces with the grommet holes.  Cut one for each letter/number/icon you have.  For a banner that says “Happy Birthday”  you would want 14 pieces:  one for each letter, and one for the space between the words “happy” and “birthday”.  Set these in a pile.

Base Banner with Grommet Holes


2.  Cut out all your letter/number/icon color pieces. I used the free font called “Big Top”. You’ll need to install it if you use the file.  You’ll have 14 pieces, 13 with letters, and one without (the spacer).

  •  Weed the interior sections from those letters that have them, turn the interior sections over, and label them as to their top, bottom and what letter they go to.  Place them on a piece of waste paper,  labeled side up (wrong side up).
  •  Weed the letters from the banner pieces.  Set them aside.
  •  Weed the zig-zag banner with the letter cutout from the mat.  Set these aside.  Remaining paper can be discarded.

Labeled interior sections of letters



3. Cut out all your surround color pieces.  Cut one more than the total number of background pieces.  The extra piece will be used as a template.

  • Weed the interior sections from the surround.  Set these aside.
  • Weed the zig-zag banner with the surround cutout from the mat.  Set these aside.  Remaining paper can be discarded.

4. Glue the zig-zag letter banner pieces to the background pieces.

  • For zig-zag letter banner pieces that have letters with interior space glue the banner pieces only together matching up grommet holes.  Brayer.

Zig-Zag letter banner adhered to background banner

  • Find the matching letter piece and place it inside the letter space without gluing it down (you will remove this later).

Letter inserted without adhesive as template

  • Find the interior spaces pieces of your letter (remember you marked these in step 2) and put adhesive on them.  Position them inside the letter.

Labeled interior letter pieces

  • Without removing the larger letter, brayer all.  The larger letter helps keep pieces from shifting when you brayer.

Interior glued spaces inside unglued letter template

  • Remove larger letter.

Finished Letter Banner


5. Glue the surround cutouts to the zig-zag banner pieces.

Surround Template with surround pieces (in dish)

  • With the zig zag letter piece still facing up, place one zig-zag surround piece without adhesive directly on top, aligning all edges.  Place small weights at top and bottom to hold in place.

Zig-Zag Surround template (no adhesive) weighted down, partially filled

  • Spray one set of surround cutouts with adhesive, and using the zig-zag surround template that is weighted down as your template, place your cutout pieces in place.
  • Brayer.
  • Remove template.

Surround Finished

6. Spell out your message on a pieces of paper, forwards and backwards, including spacers, so you can properly adhere the proper letters to the back of it’s banner mate.  For example:

  • H     A     P     P     Y     6     B     I     R     T     H     D     A     Y
  • Y     A     D     H     T     R     I     B     6     Y     P     P     A     H
  • Refer to this guide when placing letters on back.  Thus the banner with “R” on it will have the number 6 on the reverse side.

    Letter Placement - Letter Mates

7. Flip your banner over so the background only shows.

8.  Carefully checking your mate guide you made in step 6, adhere your letter to the surround side, centering it by using a scrap piece of paper as shown.

Letter Cutout aligned to Zig-Zag surround. Note center line on green paper lines up with center of heart.


9.  Adhere the zig-zag surround piece to the background piece aligning grommet holes.

10.  Insert your grommets and set.  While you can forego grommets, it will rip out eventually.  Using grommets will ensure that it lasts for years to come.  You will have three layers of paper at the holes. thick enough to support the grommets.

Set Grommets for stability


11.  Lace your string or ribbon through the grommets.


Completed Banner



7 thoughts on “Two Sided Tri-Color Banner

  1. Thank you for the pictured details on this wonderful banner…visual aids are always appreciated! 😀
    It turned out truly magnificent!!

  2. great banner. I am going to make one for my two young grands and they can use it year to year for all the bdays in the family. thank you.

  3. Something like this could work for an upcoming event I need decorations for. Thanks for the inspiration! Love looking at the previous posts for ideas I may have missed or forgotten about.

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