Even though holiday decorations are fun to shop for, the prices can add up quickly! Rather than purchase a sign or banner this year, I decided to make a simple accordion banner out of paper to display on my shelf for the Christmas season. Not only is it simple, but it’s very inexpensive to make and folds up for easy storage if you want to reuse it next year.
An accordion banner is essentially a very long piece of cardstock paper folded between each cut-out letter to look like an accordion. The folds make it stand up on its own and you can glue holiday patterned paper on the back side of the cardstock to cover the open letters. This way, you can make it completely customizable to your favorite colors and patterns. I made one that says “Happy Holidays” with an alternating pattern of red and green plaid papers.
- Solid cardstock (one 12 x 12 piece)
- Patterned paper
- Cutting machine or craft knife with template
- Glue stick
First, consider how long you want this banner to be. Mine is about 15 inches long, but when the folds are added it actually appears about 12 inches long, and it is 2 inches tall.
If you are using a cutting machine, such as a Cricut (like I did), create a template with your saying, e.i. Happy Holidays. Adjust the space between letters to wide so that there is ample and equal space to make folds between each letter and still be readable. If cutting manually, outline your cuts with same spaces in mind. You can using a light box or small lamp under a piece of glass or plexiglass to easily seem your template.
Cut the letters out of the solid cardstock with equal space above and below each letter and equal distance between letters (I recommend using a paper cutter for straight, even lines). This will require at least two pieces of paper and you will join them later to make one long banner.
Carefully fold between each letter, alternating directions of the fold to make an accordion banner.
Join the two pieces of paper at a fold using a glue stick in order to make the banner appear seamless.
Cut out pieces of patterned paper that are slightly smaller than the size of each folded section. Flip the banner over so it is face down on a table. Spread glue around the outside of the letter and press the patterned cardstock pattern side down over the glue. Repeat with each individual letter, alternating patterns as desired.
Allow the glue a few minutes to dry, flip the banner over and set right side up on top of a table, fanning the accordion out evenly.
Now you have a unique tabletop banner that you can simply fold right up for storage! Happy holidays!