Cinco de Mayo is next Tuesday, so it's almost time to break out the salsa and margaritas. We've been celebrating the holiday at our house for a few years now with tacos and nachos, but I have to admit, my Mexican decorations were lacking. I made this Cinco de Mayo banner to give our kitchen some fiesta flavor. I wanted the banner to resemble the beautiful cut-paper decorations--called papel picado--used at Mexican celebrations. I made mine from felt so it would be sturdier. My simple flower design isn't nearly as elaborate as real papel picado, but I think it has the same bright and festive look.
To make a banner for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, start with squares of colored felt. I used 3½" squares in rojo, blanco, verde, and amarillo--that's red, white, green, and yellow (I've been learning Spanish with an iPhone app). The flower design is easier to cut out than it looks. First, fold a felt square in quarters and use a sharp scissors to snip off the folded corner. When you open the square, you should have a diamond shape in the center.
Fold the square in half lengthwise and cut a small petal on each fold above and below the flower center. Open the square, fold it in half in the other direction, and then cut another petal above and below the center hole. When you open the square, there should be four petals around the center. Now fold the square in half diagonally and cut two petals along the fold. Open the square and fold it in half along the other diagonal and cut out two more petals. Open the square and cut around the petals on three sides, leaving about ¼" of felt around the cutouts.
Repeat the process to make as many felt panels as you want and then sew them to a length of decorative trim. Use thread that matches the trim and stitch along the uncut edge of each felt square. My banner has eight flowers on a 1-yard piece of mini pompom trim from Purl Soho. I think the pompoms are the perfect finishing touch for this project, but you can also use rickrack or ribbon. When your banner is finished, display it on a wall or in a window. Mine has been hanging in the kitchen for a few weeks now, waiting for the fiesta to begin.
I'm sending a special thank you this week to my daughter, Erin! Those are her hands you see in the cutting demo photos.