Birth of a Banner – The process of developing a new item

I thought I would share my process for creating a new item. I just listed a line of fall banners. There is a lot that goes into a handmade item, besides the love.

Birth of a Banner - The process of developing a new item from HousePunkery

This is mostly a new product line. I do have a bunch of vintage papers saved for my custom buntings for businesses. But I wanted to make a seasonal banner people could hang on their mantel or otherwise display.

Design mockup

Here is the design I have created for my first draft. I picked a fun shape to give it some character. I chose a fancy font that is still readable.  The purple could not be helped, because purple is the best color in the universe. I did use a darker, more “fall” shade. You can see I have an outline on the letter that is slightly lighter, which is much easier to glitter than just free-handing the outline. I have a line around the edge to fill with glitter for the frame. I also have lines on the top for slits for my cording, to hang it.

Setup for glittering

This is my setup for doing glitter. I have to pull what I need from my unheated studio space and work on the dining room table, so I try to set up so I can move it. I have a glass with water and a (well-loved) rag on the left. I have a good light source in front of me. The glue is kept upside down in a glass to make it easier to get out. To the right I have a dollar store two-way shaker with a lid that snaps closed. I have a $1 paint tray, since the glue will dry out you can just squirt a little into a bowl and then use another one when that gets too gooey. I have a very small brush. In the middle I have multiple layers of newspaper to catch the excess glitter and funnel it back in to my container.

Applying glue to the outline of a letter

I use a super small brush and super fine glitter to outline the letters. I do this old school. I don’t actually touch the paper with the brush, I tap the drip of glue on the brush onto the paper and drag it. This is fine art, baby. I use a #0 nylon detail round brush. You can try a spotter or liner, but I like the round best for this.

A test and some notes

This is just some of the three pages of notes I made while deciding on sizes, fonts, etc. I only tried, oh, a dozen fonts out. I printed out and glittered a test flag to see how it looks. For the very first round I had to bump up my brown layer over my papers, there wasn’t enough contrast for my letter and it looked busy, so I toned the background paper down.

Glitter fills in the letter

For this one I tried filling in the letters with glitter, but when I looked at it from across the room there wasn’t enough contrast and I wanted the letters darker.

Glitter outlines the letter

Here is my retry with the letter outlined with glitter. You can see how in the top left corner the glue is drying clear, and in the bottom right it’s still white. I did make multiple letters with different background papers. If you are detail oriented or OCD, you know why.

Done but cutting after glittering makes the edges all naked

For this tester I tried doing the glitter frame and then cutting it out. I didn’t do that again. The glitter comes off no matter what I do. I used brown cording to hang the flag on my shelf, to see if the sizing is right. I love these vintage illustrations.

With green glitter

For my testers I used green glitter, so I would know which ones I could safely give to my littles so they can “help” me. I did try to mod podge them to make the glitter stick, but I didn’t get photos. I tried just mod podging the flag, and doing the glitter and then the mod podge. I didn’t like either method.

Lots of sparkly letters

Here are a bunch of flags with the outlining done. It takes me about 7 minutes to do one letter. So for a banner like Harvest Blessings I spend over an hour doing the glue for the super fine glitter! I had to make, like, a million flags for all the sayings I wanted to make.

Drying sparklies, glitter details on the graphical ones, too

Here are a few drying after getting gold glitter for the frame. They get two coats of acrylic spray primer once they’re dry.

Happy Fall in a display

Here is a banner on the shelf I use for a seasonal display. You would think I had a mantel in my old farmhouse, but no.

Closeup of details

Here is a closeup of my banner.


Pretty display outside for my item photos

Here’s my pretty little banner on my pretty little rock wall. It was pretty rough on the glitter doing my item photo shoot. It is now a very sparkly wall. A hummingbird helped me take my item photos, but he flew off before I could grab my camera.

Once I have my item photos I still have to pick the best ones and edit them. And figure out how to price my item so people will be willing to pay for it, while still paying myself for my time and the super expensive super fine glitter. And then think of clever things to say in my item listing so I can be endearing and convince people to buy my stuff.

Keep an eye out tomorrow for a fall printable freebie!


Also see:

Fall Banner Printable Freebie

Fall Banner Printable Freebie

Take a look at my lovelies and help support my glitter habit!


[etsypro section=”Seasonal Schtuff”]

We hope you enjoyed Birth of a Banner – The process of developing a new item

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About Melissa French

I am a mom living in New Hampshire with a family of six (and five cats). I am a glitter artist. I am part raccoon (attracted to shiny things), part eternal 6-year-old. I am the crazy neighbor with paint under her nails, glitter everywhere, a cat in every window, and the Xmas tree up all year. I am a thrifty, crunchy, geeky, offbeat mother.

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