I started working on these “Love Not War” banners just a few days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. I began with the Ukrainian flag colors, but soon recognized that there were other countries at war right now, with innocent people dying and refugees fleeing. Specifically, in Syria and Afghanistan. So I researched the colors of those flags, and added another banner.
Then anti-LGBTQ legislation at home, here in the US, took a turn for the worse with the “Don’t say gay” bill being passed in Florida, amongst almost 250 other anti-gay and transgender bills that have been filed this year so far. The war against anyone not straight, white, and Christian will certainly lead to families leaving their homes to travel to safe places. But even more concerning will be the increased risk of suicide for LGBTQ teens who already are at an increased risk. And not because of how they identify, but because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
Most recently, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is set to end 50 years of women’s reproductive rights in June with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is a war on women, who will be at greater risk of dying (pregnancy is 14 times more deadly than abortion) and who will have to flee their state to find safe access to abortion. And also a war on the children who will be born into a country that UNICEF has ranked 37th out of 41 in childhood poverty. A country that won’t support you if you are poor, black, gay, or an immigrant.
It seems I could keep make these banners every week, which is bleak and very unsettling.
I have been trying to figure out a way to give these banners away while also raising money for organizations that help children in war torn countries, but it’s been hard to figure out just one organization. I have finally decided to choose the humanitarian organization, Save the Children. Their foundation is based on the belief that all children have the right to grow up healthy, educated and safe. They work in over 100 countries, including the US, to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. I feel like Save the Children is a good fit for supporting this project.
Today I am launching a fundraiser / giveaway on my @artbarblog Instagram page. It will run for a week, but if you miss it please consider donating any amount, even $5, to the link below. Thank you!
How to make “Love Not War” banners
~ Old shirts, clothing, sheets, fabric (go to the thrift shop if you don’t have anything!)
~ Construction paper
~ Watercolor and/or liquid watercolor
~ Straight pins
~ Sewing machine
1. Choose your colors. Did you know that the flags of the Middle East mostly have the same colors? Red, white, green and black. Not all, but Syria and Afghanistan share those colors. So I tested those colors plus blues and yellows on scraps, then painted bigger pieces. I eventually added the rainbow colors. Let everything dry overnight.
2. Make your paper templates. My banner template is about 12 X 17 inches. I freehand drew my letters, using a ruler to make lines first so that they were the same height. Although, the word in the middle is smaller than the top and bottom words. This was just a design choice.
3. Cut out your banner shape (cut 2 per banner) and fabric letters and arrange them onto the banner. This took me a while because I kept changing the color order and sequence. But I do love the way they all turned out!
4. Use a hot iron and some Stitch Witchery (a fusible bonding, like double sticky tape) to adhere the letters onto the fabric. I first tried to use pins, but the watercolor makes the fabric stiff, and the pins then made holes that I couldn’t fix. So the Stitch Witchery worked great.
5. Sew on the letters.
6. Pin the back and front to each other and sew them together, leaving an opening at the top.
7. Trim the corners.
8. Flip the banner outside in. Use a straight pin to gently pull the corners out, that’s the trickiest part.
9. Iron the seams flat.
10. Fold over the top and make a hem for the dowel.
11. Add your dowel and some string or twine for a hanger.
I’m really happy with the way these turned out. They are homemade looking which gives them a ton of character, but also sturdy and will (hopefully) last a long time. Plus they are made with completely repurposed materials, which makes them inherently filled with love.
Please consider donated to Save The Children! Thank you!!
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Did you like this post? Here are some more DIY fabric ideas: