The first year that we spent a full summer in our house, I was like a madwoman, bursting to celebrate. There were outdoor dinner parties; fires in our fire pit; and so many nights just spent outside with friends, sitting in our adirondack chairs talking over life with a cold drink in hand.
Somewhere in the midst of those celebrations, I decided that we needed to make a banner to drape between the two old silver maples that form a gateway into our backyard. Of course, I decided this about 30 minutes before the guests of the evening were set to arrive, so all I had on hand to use were fabric scraps. Nonetheless, I was so delighted with the end result that it stayed up all summer, until a late fall storm finally pulled it down.
The next year I made another one, and by-the-by it has become a family tradition. It goes up when the warm winds start to prickle my nose in late April or May, and comes down when it’s too faded and tattered for me to stand it. Or when it starts to freeze, whichever comes first!
I love the way our backyard banners have crowned our summer activities outside, and I also love the way they’ve used up all the teensy fabric scraps that I’d otherwise hoard. If you’d like to make a backyard summer banner of your own, gather your fabric scraps and read onward for two ideas.
Tied Triangles Backyard Banner
If you have larger fabric scraps—or even a big stack of vintage hankies—this is the method for you. First, cut the fabric into similarly sized squares. I used pinking shears, but regular scissors would be fine too. Then, fold the squares in half to make triangles. Tie the corners of the triangles to each other tightly to make the banner. With this one, I found that it was helpful to tie every fourth or fifth corner to a clothesline—and then tie the clothesline itself to the endpoints—to make it stronger.
Summer-Wishes-In-The-Breeze Backyard Banner
This works great for long, skinny scraps of fabric. First, cut or tear several strips of fabric in different colors. You can play with the length to see what makes you happy, but I’ve found that I like the strips to be about as long as the distance from my hand to the crook of my elbow.
Next, using a really long strip of fabric—I tore up an old sheet one year—or garden twine, loop or tie the little strips around it at fairly regularly spaced intervals. I always start with them about 8 inches apart, and then tie more in between if I have extra fabric strips. (But certainly don’t get out a tape measure or anything—above all else, these should be casual and fun!)
Enjoy a beautiful summer under your banner!
Meryl Carver writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at My Bit of Earth.