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Graduation is a day to celebrate and you want graduation banners to help you! Whether it’s a college or high school graduation photos are one of our favorite things to use in party decor. Using school photos we created a DIY personalized graduation banner that makes a fun and personalized statement.
Updated 5/2022 with more resources and information
Is your Graduation Date coming up?
The great thing about our graduation photo banner is that I didn’t have to worry about shipping times or how long it will take someone else to get the project done. You can use our graduation banners and come up with different ways to create your own design. I feel like this is the best way to celebrate all their hard work. If you don’t have a school photo from every year they were in school you can use other photos from their life to celebrate their special day.
I’ve found that school photos have become more of a thing of the past as digital images are so easily shared day to day. You also don’t have to make your custom banners as long as ours. You can use smaller sized photos, fewer embellishments, and even fewer photos if you’re looking to make something a little smaller.
DIY Graduation Banners with photos!
Celebrating three graduates in the same family and the same school was so exciting! We loved celebrating Lakley, Amelia, and Balyey’s graduation this past June.
My sisters and I really wanted to celebrate each girl individually and came up with DIY graduation banners using their class photos from every year.
My sisters and I had 3 girls within a 6 month period. We all live in the same town and love spending time with family so our girls’ childhood has been spent together.
Using school photos in graduation banners
Do you have a file folder filled with all those adorable class photos from the past 13 years? We all know that you can’t really purchase just one class photo. These days we’re more likely to send a picture of the photo to family and friends than mailing the actual photo.
When we thought of using our old photos for their DIY graduation banners we had no idea the memories that would come flooding back. We laughed so hard remembering some of the silly things they used to do and say. We also got teary a time or two at how fast time has gone by.
Graduation Party Supplies
Have you ever searched for graduation party supplies? There are a lot of really cute options out there but because they are mass produced they are generic. Sure you can usually find your school colors and the year they’re graduating but personalized decor isn’t easy to come by.
That was one of the main reasons we wanted to use photos. What is more personalized than their individual photos?!
To get around using too many generic party supplies we used photos everywhere we could. As you can see in the photo above along with the photo graduation banners we included individual and group photos of the girls from years past. If you sent out a graduation photo card type announcement you can also use those to add to the decor.
Don’t forget to show off their Senior photos. I don’t know about you but senior photos around here are an investment! Printing some out and using them around the graduation party was a great way for people to see the different photos that were taken that didn’t make the announcement.
How to make DIY Graduation Banners with photos?
The first thing you’re going to want to do if you’re making a DIY graduation banner like ours is make sure you have a large space to work. We were shocked at how much space we needed as we were getting these laid out.
We planned these to be a surprise for our daughters so we would meet in the evenings at our church building to work on them. Having the gym floor to lay things out ended up being a big bonus!
There are ways around this if needed. First of all, if you’re making graduation decorations for one person you won’t need as much space. You can also cut down on the space needed by focusing on one age/year at a time, that way you don’t need as much space until you’re actually getting it ready to hang.
Gather your supplies.
You need to decide if you have want to try to match school colors or a different color scheme. We didn’t really have a color scheme in mind but did have some items we wanted to use.
We knew we wanted to use their school photos. Then we decided to use chalk board pennants to write their names and grades on. We went through our scrapbook paper collections and made sure we used colors and patterns that would look good together.
Using scrapbook paper to create triangle pennants is a great way to break up the photos and add some color. Using supplies we had on hand kept the personalized banner at an affordable price which was great.
Then we used ribbon as the string to hang the banners from and then used different ribbons for detail and texture. Deciding to sew the banner pieces together might have been the best decision we made. It helped make the banners nice and sturdy which was a blessing since they’re so long and a bit heavy. These can be okay for outdoor use but I wouldn’t leave them out overnight or anything. The majority of the banner is made of paper and you wouldn’t even want like dew sitting on that.
If you’re using them inside or outside you can use suction cups or command strips for easy hanging.
Can you sew paper?
You can see in the photo above how we used layered pieces of patterned cardstock sewn together to create a pennant. Sewing on paper was new to me but it definitely works and looks so good! We also sewed the banner pieces to the ribbon so they wouldn’t fall off. I would definitely recommend making sure your stitch length is set a little longer. If you have it too short you will end up tearing through your paper or photo.
Sewing the photos to a piece of cardstock gives it a nice matted look and I love the white contrast of the stitching.
In the photo above you can see the chalkboard banner piece. It was nice to be able to customize each chalkboard piece without having to print anything out. And chalk is easily erased if we messed up or decided we wanted to change something.
There are so many different little details it would be impossible to list them all. I hope the photos help you see some of the different things you can do.
Tiny banners, rolled flowers, lace, quotes, ribbons, the year of the photos. There are so many things you can use for your banner. Think about your graduate and what reminds you of them.
You can also add a personal message, if they have an academic achiever recognition you want to high light, those are also things you could add to the banner.
I love the way these banners turned out. They were exactly the personalized gift we were hoping to create for our girls. Each banner turned out unique and beautiful just like our girls.
Graduation is such a fun time in life. It’s worth celebrating in a big way. We hope our DIY Graduation Banner helps inspire you as you’re planning your child’s graduation party.
Remember, you don’t have to do this just for graduation. You could easily take our idea and turn it into a congratulations banner, or a birthday banner, there are so many ways you could use this idea and it also makes a perfect gift.
Purchased Graduation Banners and decor
If you’re not a crafty type or you don’t think you have time to make your own Graduation Photo Banner there are a lot of other options out there. You can definitely look locally but there are a lot of options on Amazon too. I really like this classic banner and these door banners are fun too.
In our area a yard sign for graduates has become a big thing. I know some neighborhoods have even put in large orders to highlight all the graduates in their neighborhood.
You can find mesh banners, graduation vinyl banners, heck – you can even get bumper stickers made with a personalized message to highlight YOUR graduate.
Remember if you’re placing an order there are a few things you should know. They’ll likely need a high resolution photo(s) to use. You’ll want to make sure they can get it to you in time. Some places, like local digital printers can get it to you as soon as the next business day but others will take longer.
Often times they have a deal on their best seller like free shipping in the contiguous United States but those deals can make orders back up. Make sure and read any offer details and find out what they consider business days so you’re not surprised if it’s not done in time.
The thing that tends to always catch me off guard is the production time + shipping time. Nothing is worse than paying for fast shipping only to find out the production time alone is outside the timeframe you have to work with.
More ways to use Photos in party decor
We really hope you enjoyed this post on DIY Graduation banners. We love using photos in our decor when we’re celebrating. Here’s another fun banner we made using photos: