Yay! It's February! I get to decorate for not one, but two holidays this month - Valentine's Day, and Mardi Gras, which goes up right when Valentine's Day stuff comes down!
The first thing I've done for Valentine's Day is a 'I Love You' banner. It's very simple, and looks pretty nice!
I used scrapbook paper to cut the hearts out - I used a red & white checked pattern. To stencil the letters, I used a paper from Thailand that had little strings running through it (I know there's a name for that, but I don't know enough about paper to know what to call it!) and isn't quite 100% opaque. In total, use one sheet of scrapbook paper for each letter and space (so for 'I Love You', I needed ten pages, plus a couple extra in case I made a mistake) and half that for the letters and spaces of the contrasting color, because you can do multiple letters on one sheet of paper.
Letter Stencils (or if you're really good, you can just do this freehand)
Stencil paint (I used white)
Decorative Scissors (these have a little scallop edge. You could use a straight scissor, too, though)
Mod Podge (matte or glossy - I used matte for this)
A cheapy black foam brush to mod-podge with
Ribbon to hang the banner with
A hole punch, or improvise carefully with a pen
First, I cut the hearts out of the checkered paper freehand.
(Quick note - I wanted to have a heart space between each of the words, so out of the solid red paper, I freehand cut a small heart shape. You can see those in the last banner pic below.)
Next, I cut rectangles of the red paper to stencil my letters on. I just laid the stencil on top of the paper:
And dabbed the stencil paint on with the brush in an up & down motion. This keeps the paint from trying to get underneath the stencil, and it has a nice look to it once you lift the stencil. It looks a little more natural than 'painted on':
I used my scallop scissors to cut down the original letter paper once the stenciling was done. Next, I just glued the letter paper onto the heart with some Mod-Podge, then I Mod-Podged the entire front of the heart. This makes certain that the letter stays in place:
I gave everything a few hours to dry (although it's mostly dry in about 15 minutes), then punched a hole through the middle of the top of each heart to make a place for the ribbon. The very easiest way to do this is to fold the heart in half length-wise so you know the hole will line up. Then I just strung my ribbon through each of the holes:
And attached it to the mantle (all cleaned off, ready for more decorations!):