I Do, and You Can Too

My firstborn got married this summer. The setting was the church she’s attended ever since she was three months old. In these familiar and well-worn surroundings she and her new husband spoke the vows of a lifetime.

I wanted to create something visual to celebrate this festive and solemn occasion. Problem is, I’m no artist. I’m not even crafty. So I did what other Reformed Worship readers do—I looked through back issues for inspiration. And then I looked through all kinds of banner books. I found a few “wedding banner” designs—interlocking circles, doves, bells—but everything seemed too obvious to me. Then I found an image I loved—a simple design of a tree with birds reminiscent of a woodcut—in Julie Lonneman’s Clip Art for Sundays and Solemnities (Liturgy Training Publications, 2003). To me it suggests strength and stability and beauty—all of the things a home ought to be. The tree provides life and a home for God’s creatures; as the Creator intended, it is nourished and sustained by deep roots.

Banners for Dummies

I wanted to use this image, and I wanted it to be big! (Think “Big Prints,” RW 71). Since I’m lucky enough to work with the talented folks who design RW, I went to the experts for advice. RW Designer Frank Gutbrod coached me through the process, breaking it down into steps so simple that I was willing to give it a try, with the help of the bride and her 12-year-old sister. Here’s how we did it:

Step 1: Create a transparency of the image you want on a photocopy machine.
Step 2: Using an overhead projector, project the image to the desired size onto fabric. We used duct tape to position the fabric on a large section of clear wall. Trace the outlines of the design with a pencil.
Step 3: Paint the design using the pencil lines as your guide. We used tightly-woven smooth cotton fabric and latex wall paint. (I discovered that it’s available in 2-ounce cans!)

Voila—a large banner (ours was 5' x 7') to hang in front of the church. We did the painting in several sessions to allow the areas we’d worked on to dry. The painting was not difficult—but it does require a steady hand and some time. When the painting was done, I sewed a backing onto the fabric and made casings on both ends for the hanging rods.

The beauty of this project is it versitility—you could create your own design or adapt one you like. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. We used the same image on the cover of the printed wedding program.

Best of all, it’s simple. Trust me—if I can do it, you can too!

We regret that we were unable to obtain permission from the publisher to reproduce the pattern for the woodcut illustrated in Judy Hardy's "I Do, and You Can Too" (back cover RW 75). To obtain your own copy, you'll need to purchase Clip Art for Sundays and Solemnities by Julie Lonneman, Liturgy Training Publications, 2003. Contact orders@ltp.org or check out their website at www.ltp.org.

Reformed Worship 75 © March 2005, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.