Signal the Sacraments: Baptism

In the last issue, we showed you a design for a banner that could be hung for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In this issue, we've included a design for use on Sundays when the sacrament of baptism is celebrated. Compared to the communion banner, baptism should have been easy, right? Doves, rainbows, babies, drops of water--symbols abound. As it turned out, of the two, this was the more difficult to design.

Wrestling with the Rainbow

The name of our church is Covenant, so this is not the first time I've tried to do something with a rainbow. Because a rainbow conveys so much meaning it is used too often and has become a visual cliche. In fact, not counting the golden arches, these multi-colored arches are probably the most recognized graphic on the planet. To interpret the rainbow in a new way, I decided to show what is possible but rarely seen in nature: a full circle of color that appears when light is seen through the prism of drops of water. A non-traditional rainbow done in non-traditional colors.

Simplify This

Like the Lord's Supper banner, this banner started out complex and with every new drawing became more simple. At first, I had included seashells alternating with drops of water in the squares at the bottom. A quick survey of family and friends, however, suggested that the added clutter of images detracted from rather than enhanced the design, so I removed them.


We used to trace our designs on a large piece of paper taped to a wall using an overhead projector. This paper was then pinned to the front of the fabric in order to cut the fabric to the desired shape. The method was workable but time-consuming and not always as accurate as we might have liked.

A more expensive but infinitely easier approach is to take the original drawing to your local architectural print shop and have them enlarge the image to final banner size. My print shop even allows the pattern to be printed out in reverse so that it can be attached to the back of the fabric (actually, we use a glue stick to attach the pattern directly to the fusing materials backing paper) before cutting. Check out our website for a step-by-step description of this process.

Banner Pattern

To help transfer this design to fabric, you can download an electronic version of this banner with a grid overlay.* Print out this pattern and use the grid as a reference for hand-copying the image to fabric or make an overhead transperancy of the pattern and project it at the desired size onto pattern paper taped to a wall. The second page of this document contains a graphic for a bulletin cover that corresponds with the banner.

*The 1pg/12k document has been saved in the PDF file format which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader application

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at

Reformed Worship 55 © March 2000, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.