Christmas · Crafts

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Painted Burlap Banner

No Christmas would be complete without a movie party of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and that’s precisely what we will be watching tonight! With only two days until the long awaited day of the year, it felt fitting to curl up with my honey and enjoy this classic. The music, the message, and the old fashioned charm are all, well, wonderful.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon experimenting with a burlap banner design with the movie title. I’m happy with how it turned out and the proportion! I created this one especially for my Dad to hang up in his room at the Central Utah Veteran’s Home. “It’s A Wonderful Life” is his favorite movie of all time and I wanted to make something special for him. This will be the last Christmas gift I give to him in this life. I can’t wait to see his face, so nobody better spoil the surprise! Deal? Deal.

I decided to make it as wide as our piano so that my Mom could hang it up on their upright for Christmas next year. I’ve been playing around with different decorative arrangements on top of the piano and like this one the best so far. We printed some of our favorite wedding photos and highlights from the year and centered them on either side of the beautiful advent calendar Wally gave me for Christmas the year we got engaged on Christmas Eve (2017).

Wally went to such great lengths to plan something festive for us to do every day of the month and then popped the question after making dinner for me on the 24th. He even chose a calendar that reflected the style of my favorite German Christmas ornaments my family collected while living overseas. Seeing it lit up on the piano brings back so many memories! I remember waking up every morning and rushing over to my desk to open the drawer for the day to see what was inside. I treasure this as a sentimental part of our family history!

But… I digress! I decided to go with smaller scale lower-case lettering for this design because it was getting super long super quick. I wanted it to have a worn, vintage farmhouse look and feel and the burlap and white paint lends itself to that style. I think the overall proportion and scale of the finished product would really work in many locations around the house, not just on a piano. Swagged above your family’s TV on the wall would be so cute! It’s a great project for an afternoon and I wish I had made it earlier on in the season so I could share it sooner. I’ll share the link again next year earlier in December. Happy Crafting!

PROJECT SUPPLIES

  • Jute cord
  • “It’s A Wonderful Life” printable download (below)
  • White cardstock
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Piece of burlap at least 46″ to 48″ wide by 5.5″ tall
  • Burlap colored thread for sewing
  • Sewing machine
  • White acrylic paint
  • (x2) 1″ foam sponge brushes
  • Sharp paper cutting scissors
  • Sharp tiny scissors
  • Red ultra fine point Sharpie marker
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Fine point paint brush

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cut a piece of jute cord to desired size and tie a knotted loop on each end for hanging. Mine was 58″ finished length (including the loops on both ends).

2. Download and print the “It’s a Wonderful Life” printable (above) on a piece of white cardstock. Cut out the flag design first with paper cutting scissors. Use it as a template to cut 13 flag shapes out of the burlap. (I used a piece of burlap about 46″ wide by 5.5″ tall to cut 13 pieces that each came out to 3.5″ wide by 4.75″ tall finished size.) Burlap is easy to cut because all you have to do is follow the direction of the string you’re cutting on like a built-in grid!

NOTE: If you like to add a little more texture (which I’m always all for!) pull away one or two of the burlap strings lengthwise CAREFULLY. You can see in the closeup photo how this makes more of a fringy, frayed and worn look. If you prefer a cleaner edge, then feel free to skip this step.

3. Place one of the cut flags at the end of the jute cord next to the knot. Fold it over the cord and sew closed with burlap colored thread, about 1/2″ away from the edge. Trim off the loose strings (no need to knot). This will create a narrow pocket so you can slide the flags closer or farther apart to make equidistant spacing. Continue to sew on the other 12 flags until complete.

4. Use a scrap piece of burlap to practice your painting. Using a 1″ wide foam brush, gently add white acrylic paint to the brush and feather onto a burlap flag leaving about a 1/2″ border all the way around the sides (see photo for detail). The foam brush edges make it easy to make clean horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. I matched the top painted line with the same line I sewed the jute cord pocket into. I keep a second foam brush on hand to “dry brush” or sponge over any areas where I laid down too much paint. Be sure to start out with only a LITTLE bit of paint on the brush… you can always add more later! Replicate the same pattern to all 13 flags.

5. Using as fine point scissors as you can, carefully cut the letters and stars out of the white cardstock. I know it’s time consuming tedious but the final result is totally worth it! As a tip, you really only need to cut out one star and the small letter “i” once (because it is both in “it’s” and “life”).

6. Place white cardstock behind the length of the banner to protect work surfaces from ink and paint stains. Center your cut-outs and trace with an ultra fine point red sharpie. Using red is to your advantage because the red paint will cover it beautifully.

7. Fill in the letter and shape outlines with red acrylic paint using a fine point tip paint brush. I ended up doing about 1.5 coats, adding more paint in small “blobs” to fill in some of the burlap grid to make it a little more legible. Make any touch-ups as needed. Let dry completely.

I hope you enjoy making this classic craft that will add holiday joy to your home for years to come! If you do decide to make it be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ashleybeecreates) or email me a photo at ashleybeecreates.com. I would love to see your final product!

Love & Light,

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