Your banner is like the shirt your shop wears.
What is it saying about you?
Is it saying that you are awesome, unique, and clever?
Is it saying that you really don't give a dern?
After settling more often than I'd like to admit on banners that really weren't very good (they were always blurry, or dull, poor quality, cookie cutter, hard to read, or infested with termites.) I think I've finally found a formula to make one that's just right (at least for me), and easily changed with the seasons or what have you.
And so I present to you
How I Made My Awesome Etsy Banner
First and foremost, keep in mind is that your banner is short and fat. It's supposed to be 760 x 100 pixels, but don't worry about that right now. I like to draw my banner out by hand. This is what my rough sketch looked like:
2) Next, I ran it through the scanner.
3) Time to croppity crop crop.
Now Etsy says to make it 760 x 100 pixels. Now I say phooey on this because EVERY SINGLE TIME I've ever uploaded a banner of this size it has been blurry and degraded, no matter how high res the original was. So, this is the absolute most important thing you can do:
Your mom called me and said it was ok.
This will keep your image from getting blurry & degraded. There is nothing worse than spending hours creating what you think is the perfect banner only to find that it looks nothing like the masterpiece you worked so hard on, after you've uploaded it.
Step 3) Once you've got your sketch cropped, open it up with your favorite photo editing software- I prefer paint.net but you can use whatever you're comfortable with.
Next, crank the contrast alllllll the way up.
Crank the brightness as far up as you can without losing too much quality.
At this point you should have a pretty clean line drawing.
My banner is just a mish-mosh of the swirls that are in a lot of my paintings behind my store name, so I saved a copy of the black and white image, and now whenever I want to make a theme change, I can just recolor it. Come Christmas time, I can turn the banner red and green, or go patriotic for the fourth of July.
Hurrah for simple and easy customization!