Happy Birthday Banner Judy (with a how-to)

When my two girls were small (3 & 6) I started making banners for their birthdays.  The banners were large (as all banners should be) and didn’t just proclaim “happy birthday”.  I drew a retrospect of all the major activities the birthday girl had participated in over the previous year. (Since they were small the pictures then were limited to roller skates and bikes.). I used simple stick figures and line drawings.  As they grew so did the pictures and they would identify everything they did that year.  My girls loved them.

It’s now a family ritual – me making a banner for my grown daughters and them reviewing their year.  When my granddaughter was born I added third banner for her.

A couple of years ago I got a wonderful surprise.  Both of my girls have been saving their birthday banners for years!  They cherish them as record of their lives.

Judy’s birthday was around the corner and  I decided to make one for her.   Here it is finished, and next I’ll show you step by step how to make your own:

FIRST:  Make a list of the birthday person’s major and minor events in the past year

Things like:

  • Trips – local or far away, short or long.
  • New skills – learning to ride a bike, taking up knitting.
  • Events. – big or small/positive or negative – a new job, school milestones, catching a cold, a pandemic lockdown . . .
  • Routine activities- work, school, walking the dog, doing yoga, riding a bike, hiking, reading, swimming . . . 

(In Judy’s case a lot  is routine since she’s been in self-imposed Covid isolation!)

When I first started making the Birthday Banners I didn’t track events and just brainstormed everything I could think of.  Now, It is easier and I make a simple list, writing down events as they occur, to  keep track all year.  You can make a list or calendar notes – both work.

SECOND: Organize the events on a timeline for the ones that are not routine.

THIRD: Gather materials

  • Roll of butcher paper – This is my favorite as it makes it easy to roll up, like a scroll, and tie it with a ribbon OR
  • Poster board OR
  • Several sheets of computer paper taped together.  When finished fold like an accordion book.
  • Pencil, markers, paint, crayons, colored pencils (whatever you choose to use to color in your stick-sketches).

(At first I used colored marker pens, but now I start with pencil-in case I make a mistake.)

FOURTH:  Write happy birthday and their name.  Leave room above and below to draw the events.

  • If you make bubble letters or outlines of the letters you can decorate the inside of each letter.
  • Plan where you will put the major events – where there are large white spaces.
  • Add stick figure drawings – in the order  in which they occurred or simply scattered on the banner.
  • I often add small repetitive items, like musical notes or in this case Covid masks. Sometimes I will sprinkle small hearts or birds across the whole banner.

FIFTH: Draw stick figures, symbols,  label the events, ( I do this when I think my drawing isn’t clear).

SIXTH: fill in with color.

  • If you used pencil to draw, go over the lines with dark marker or ink.
  • Use colored markers (easiest and quickest), paint, crayons or colored pencils.

The best part is giving them their own personal BIRTHDAY BANNER-they are loved!

Let me know if you make a Birthday Banner – send a picture!

Peggy

2 comments on “Happy Birthday Banner Judy (with a how-to)

  1. Peggy, this is a amazing tribute to the people you love. Wish I’d known to do this decades ago. And that your daughters have been saving them – that’s not a surprise.

    Happy Birthday, dear Judy – miss you always.

    Like

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