This past week I made a two-tiered paper banner for the mantle for the upcoming Jewish New Year holiday - but these instructions work for any paper banner and any message...
Scrapbook paper for background triangles
Scrapbook paper in complementary colors/pattern for stenciled letter
Acrylic paint (the little bottles of Folk Art paint are perfect)
Glue - I used Sobo but Elmer's is perfect too
Small-diameter hole punch (mine is 3/4") for making ribbon holes (make sure the holes are bigger than the ribbon you need to run through them)
Measure how long your ribbon needs to be to go across your mantle, etc. If you're doing a two-tiered mantle, make sure you figure enough ribbon so there is enough space between the two tiers for the letters to show easily.
Figure how big your triangles can be. In this case, I was able to use a whole scrapbook-paper width - but if you have lots of letters, it may be less.
Take a regular sheet of scrapbook paper - one for each letter:
Cut the paper into a perfect triangle by using the half-way point/length as your 'point' at the bottom and cut diagonally up to each opposite corner:
Next, cut the other scrapbook paper into whatever shape you like - I've used 15.5cm x 11cm for a rectangle (just trying it out here to see how it fits) - just make sure it is bigger than your stencil letters:
Take the stencil outlines and line up centered on the new scrapbook paper that was just cut - and with the stencil brush and acrylic paint on a paper plate, load the brush up with paint and 'pounce' the paint onto the paper through the stencil:
While the stencil letters are drying, take each big scrapbook paper triangle and make two hole punches on each side of the top of the triangle. Make these pretty close to each side, and pretty close to one another, but not so close that the paper may tear. This is what the ribbon will be running through:
Glue on the stenciled letters, run the ribbon through the finished triangles, and the banner is done:
Since this mantle is for Rosh Hashanah decorations, I took some wooden numbers like what are available at Michael's, spray-painted them chrome, and once dry, put them on the mantle. This coming year is 5769:
...and here's the whole thing! The paper banners, on each end of the mantle ledge are jelly jars filled with dried peonies, one side has a shofar (the shofar is blown every morning during the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, on RH, and to end YK - and is blown as a reminder that the time of introspection is approaching), the other side has a replica tiny Torah scroll (these are often given as wedding or bar/bat mitzvah presents), and in the middle are the 5769 numbers:
...already working on a new banner - Halloween!