Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pennants: How to Festively Trick Out Your Pad

In December, I got on a pennant kick. I love how festive they are. I realized with Costco's fabulous pricing for 4x6 prints (13 cents per print- decorating a 10 ft wide mantel could be less than $4), that I could make my own very inexpensively and have them customized for whatever event was happening. You can hang them in doorways, across rooms, over fireplaces, whatever.

I designed a template in Photoshop for a single pennant, and customized the heck out of it. I made a set to celebrate Liz's passing of her last major licensing exams (featuring a photo of her with different phrases), a set for Mom's birthday in the hospital that matched her birthday book and signs (great decor that was allowed in the ICU), and just finished a set for our tailgating Super Bowl party next Sunday. I shrunk them down to make mini pennants, which are awesome to decorate drinks with - when adhered to a long 'kebab-style' swizzle stick. Jonathan is my best helper with this -- he just cuts them out while he's watching Sportscenter. (Creative AND manly at the same time!)

I was going to simply share the Photoshop template, but realizing that a number of people don't have the full Photoshop program, I'm going to teach you how to make your own. (It will be really helpful if you are already a bit proficient with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements -- if you're not, see if you can adjust to use your own program!)


  1. Start with a blank canvas of 4 inches wide, 6 inches tall.
  2. Paint the canvas black. (This will make more sense later)
  3. Using the custom shape tool, add a triangle on a new layer. You'll notice that the triangle does NOT cover the whole canvas, it's about 90% of the size of the canvas. The main reason is that I always want to give myself a little "wiggle room" when printing these. Often times, photofinishers will slightly enlarge prints automatically, and it's easy to cut part of your design off if you carry it out to the edge. For these, I center them in the canvas and don't align them to any edge for that reason. (Printers call this the 'bleed area')
  4. I like the look of a pennant that has a white edge around it. To do that and still be able to customize the pennant, I made the white edge a separate layer. To do this, simply duplicate your triangle layer and color it white. (For help with recoloring elements, see Ali E's awesome tutorial!)
  5. Move the white triangle layer beneath the original triangle, and enlarge it by 105%.

  6. You can move the white triangle itself up or down as needed to create a neat border around the triangle.
  7. The gray triangle is the base pennant that can be changed. Remember the black background? With the white edges, it's very easy to cut out the pennants by hand -- if it were a white background, it would be impossible to see where the edge was. The black is just easy for me to be able to visually cut. Keep it simple, I say. :)
  8. If you want to use simple colors and phrases, all you need to do is change the color of the pennant and add text. Simple as that.
  9. If you want to use digital scrapping papers or photos to customize, it's simple! You'll use your "clipping mask" tool. (For a more in-depth instruction of clipping masks, Misty has a great step by step tutorial!) Pull whatever paper or photo into the canvas. In Photoshop, I just open the other file, and click and drag it into my project. Your photo will most likely be much larger in size if it's high resolution. Don't worry about that yet.
  10. Make sure the new layer is ABOVE the triangle/pennant layer.
  11. Right click on the layer of the photo or patterned paper. The box that comes up will have "Create Clipping Mask" as an option. Click on it.
  12. After clipping, you'll see that the pennant is now showing, with your photo neatly inside!
  13. Save this as a .jpg file, and you have your first pennant! You can do an entire set of just one photo or paper, all identical, or you can mix it up a bit. Only using one style for the whole thing? Simply print the one design as many times as needed. For Mom's below, I added a "K" only to the gold pennant. I printed each pennant about 15 times and it made for several great strings of pennants around the room.
  14. I upload my images to Costco, have them printed, and then head over to pick them up.
  15. Cut out the pennants.
  16. If you are hanging them against a wall, it's very easy to finish them. Cut your ribbon to the desired length and lay it down on the floor or a long table. Slide the pennants face down with the back side up, just under the ribbon by about a 1/2 inch. Tape the ribbon down in the middle. Each pennant will have one piece of tape securing it to the ribbon.
  17. If you are hanging them in a doorway and they will be seen from both sides, it will need to be double-sided. (Note that you should print twice as many pennants in this case) First, follow #16 for the length of the ribbon. Then take your cooresponding pennant for the backside, and secure it to the first pennant using double sided tape or a tape roller. Takes a few extra minutes, but it quickly becomes double sided!

Here's a few freebies in case you need a bit of pennant fun for the Super Bowl this weekend. I designed these today and will have them hanging at the house this weekend for the big game. You can download them, just click on the link and right-click "save as" to your own desktop. They are all 4x6 prints.

  • The Saints Logo
    These are the majority of the pennants I printed.
  • Geaux Pennant and Saints Pennant
    I added a few of these to hang in the mix with the logo above.
  • Mini Pennants
    These are cute mini pennants that you can cut and use as decor in drinks, on top of cupcakes or staked into plants, flowers, etc. Normally, I use a long "kebab style" wooden stick, like a giant toothpick for drinks, plants, etc and little toothpicks for food.

Let me know if you have questions...enjoy! :)

...and geaux Saints!


Anonymous said...

Mr.Q. thinks this is the best post you have ever done! He is so proud that you know how to spell GEAUX!
Some day Mrs. Q. will make these, but for now we will just enjoy yours!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the picture of Thomas. But you could have put more than one up.

Sandy B

Angie said...

So cute! I'll have to try for valentines day...I wonder how long it will take Jeff to notice ;)

Another question - where do you find your cute birdy graphic?

samantha said...

So I can only do this if I have photoshop? Theo's birthday party is in a few weeks and I'd love to have one for is birthday! Just let me know if I need photoshop or if I can do it without it on my Mac.

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