DIY Fabric Bunting Flags Tutorial

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags

One of my closest friends recently had her second baby – another girl (which, for whatever illogical reason, makes me think I’m going to have another girl too!). Of course with a new baby comes the bestowing of gifts, which is sweet, though does anyone else find it difficult to buy for newborns who already have a gender equivalent older sibling? I mean, when the family already has at least three of everything (likely in twenty various shades of pink, or blue), what can you offer that is special, unique and, from the perspective of the possibly storage-deprived parents, actually wanted?

Well, something personalised of course (at least that’s the conclusion I came to).

For a while now I have admired bunting flags. There are just so many different and creative variations, from whimsical to sophisticated, and they seem to add such a playful and interesting touch, plus they are compact and lightweight which makes them easy to hang, reposition and store as needed. I thought it’s something my friend would hopefully appreciate too, so I decided to create a hand-made customised bunting for her new baby girl, Ariana.

How To Make Customised Bunting Flags

There are about a gazillion different ways you can make a bunting, most of which are super simple (even for an amateur sewer like me) and some of which are incredibly easy (and involve absolutely no sewing at all). As mine was to be a gift, I opted for a reasonably professional-looking finish though I’ve provided some variations in the steps outlined below if you’re after a slightly simpler method. That said, I have tried to make this tutorial as simple as possible regardless. As a ‘learner’ sewer who appreciates layman’s terms and furrows her brow at technical jargon, I wanted to appeal to fellow novices like me with clear and concise instructions. If you’re an accomplished sewer I hope you don’t find it too condescending :-)

How To Make Customised Bunting Flags

1. Cardboard or paper (to create a triangle template).

2. Fabric.
Of course you can use anything. Plain, patterned or textured, vintage remnants or brand new fat quarters. I used simple cotton (a contemporary floral along with a flat yellow) plus calico.

3. Bias binding.
I used around 2.5 meters of 2.5cm (1 inch) cream coloured binding. You can also get some really pretty patterned bindings. You could use ribbon instead though it will not curve as nicely as bias binding which is cut on the cross.

4. Cotton thread.
I used cream to co-ordinate with my binding though you could use a contrasting colour.

5. T-shirt transfer paper.
There are loads of different brands. I used an inexpensive generic paper I found on eBay. Ensure you choose the right paper for your needs – either laser or inkjet to suit your printer and either light or dark to suit your fabric.

You’ll also need the following equipment…scissors, pencil, ruler, fabric marker, pinking shears, pins, sewing machine, computer and printer, iron.

 How To Make Fabric Bunting Flags

1. Cut a triangle template from cardboard or paper. I used a 16cm x 22cm triangle for my bunting.

2. Line up your front and backing fabrics wrong sides together and lay them on a flat surface (so, right sides are up and down).
I like to press my fabrics with a hot iron at this stage which not only removes wrinkles though, for whatever reason, also seems to help keep them ‘stuck’ together.
You don’t need to use a backing fabric though it does provide a little more rigidity and gives a nice finish, it also allows you to make the bunting reversible if different fabrics are used front and back (though do bear in mind that depending on the weight of your fabric if hung in front of a light source the flags may be slightly transparent).

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags

3. Using your template as a guide mark triangles on your fabric. Alternate triangles up and down to minimise fabric wastage.

4. Cut out your flags as marked, from the front and backing fabrics in unison, with sharp pinking sheers. Pinking sheers minimise fraying and create a nicely patterned edge.

How To Make Fabric Bunting Flags

5. Pin the front and backing of each flag together (just to help hold them in place) then sew along both long sides. I used a small straight stitch and sewed around 1cm from the edge.
For a no-sew alternative you could join the fabrics with fusible webbing (if you do intend to use this no-sew option, implement it during step 2).

DIY Personalised Fabric Bunting Flags

6. On a large clear surface, place all sewn flags right side down in a straight line at your desired distance apart then position binding right side down on top and pin it in position (as shown – don’t place binding in line with the top of the flags, instead leave a small gap approximately the same width as the binding fold).
Ensure you leave ample binding either side of the flags to create the ties. I left around 40cm at each end.

7. Unfold the top edge of the binding, so it is in line with the top edge of your first flag, then sew along the visible crease line, continuing to unfold and sew the binding to the flags as you go (remember, you are sewing through both the front and backing fabrics though along the back of the flags at this stage). Begin sewing a few cm’s before your first flag and continue through until just after your final flag (there is no need to sew the entire width of the binding at this stage). Of course, you could choose to unfold and press the binding gently into place with a warm iron first though I found it just as easy to simply unfold it as I sewed.

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags Tutorial

8. Remove the pins and place the flags right side up. Fold the binding up from the back (so it is visible from the front and ready to be folded over the top of the flags) then starting at one extreme end pinch the binding in half (as shown – so the folds are concealed on the inside) and begin sewing it together, continuing right through all of the flags to the other end of the binding, folding it in half over the top of the flags as you go (refer to photos for a visual guide). You could pin it in place if desired though I found it was easier to manipulate it as I went. Sew as closely as possible to the bottom edge of the binding and take care to conceal the previous stitch line (from attaching the binding to the back of the flags).

Note: Regarding the method for attaching the binding; my Mum advised me it was among one of the more ‘proper’ ways to do it. My Mum is a ‘proper’ sewer. I am not a ‘proper’ sewer, and had she not mentioned anything I would probably just have stuck the flags in the binding fold and sewn them in. Of course it’s up to you how you’d like to attach it. If you’re interested in a no-sew option, try using narrow hemming tape or even fabric glue.

How To Make Customised Bunting

9. Use a publishing or editing program (such as Word or Photoshop) to create a document with your chosen letters in your desired font and size, flip the image (it is important to ‘mirror’ the font prior to printing as it is applied right side down) then print it onto the side of your transfer paper as indicated in the manufacturers instructions.
The font I used is Saloon Girl (Inline).
Of course, aside from t-shirt transfers, there are loads of different methods to personalise a bunting. You could; stencil, free-hand, stamp, embroider, appliqué, use ready-to-apply iron-on letters, print directly onto the fabric, use a gel-transfer or chemical-transfer method, even custom design your fabric and have it printed especially by a company like Spoonflower.

10. Trim closely around your letters.
Iron-on transfer paper for light-coloured fabrics uses a clear carrier film to transfer the image to the fabric. This film appears shiny and slightly opaque where any unprinted area has been left so it is best to remove as much remaining white space as possible.

11. Place your first letter in position ink side down on your flag then press with a hot iron for around 30 seconds. Lift and jiggle the iron every now and again to ensure it doesn’t scorch the fabric. Allow the transfer to cool then very carefully lift and peel the backing paper off. Repeat as required with your remaining letters.

12. Done! Hang you bunting on the wall, from the ceiling, in front of a window or on a piece of furniture. You can tie it, hook it, pin it or tack it as desired.

 DIY Fabric Bunting Tutorial

On a different note, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and happy New Year! May 2013 be a fantabulous year for you all. Sorry I kinda went AWOL over the festive period. Amongst time spent with family and friends I was working on lots of little – and some biggish – projects, so with any luck I’ll have a smattering of new posts to share over the coming months.

Also, I just want to extend a humongous (hmmm, I don’t think I’ve written or typed ‘humongous’ before, it looks kinda weird) THANK YOU to everyone who visited me here during 2012. Your readership is what propels me to keep bloggin’ away, so really, THANK YOU…and BIG virtual hugs :-)


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Living Room Mini Makeover and Photo Shoot

As briefly mentioned in my last post, recently I spent a few days hurrying around the house replacing most of Charlotte’s strewn toys with pretty décor accents instead to shoot some of my rooms for inclusion in an upcoming blogger design book!

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I loved having the excuse to dress-up the house with, what is now, the otherwise completely impractical placement and use of accessories; for obvious reasons, clusters of delicate real roses and stacks of fragile vintage books not being my usual choice for the current adornment of any low-lying surfaces! Though, that said, they did manage to stay rather safely in place for a good few days.

Country Cottage Living Room | The Painted Hive

Along with styling the spaces, I also updated a few of the more permanent features. In my living room I’ve added a new throw, some new scatter cushions and a new ceramic drum stool.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I made the cushion covers myself. The long bold striped one is a repurposed $5 IKEA door mat (I bought the mat about a year ago and think they are now discontinued). Being a door mat, it is quite heavily woven so has a lovely knobby texture and visibly dense appearance though it is still surprisingly soft. The cable knit throw was found on sale at Spotlight for $25.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen back in August that I mentioned picking-up some new ceramic drum stools from eBay. They were around $40 each (a great price for here in Oz where they usually retail for well over $100) though were only available in red or black – not my colours of choice. Though, being such a bargain, rather than pass them up based on colour alone, I opted to buy black stools (one for me and one for Mum) and have a go at re-finishing one in my own custom shade.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I was super pleased with how it turned out and now, around a month on, even with Charlotte’s ‘road-testing’, it still looks great and has absolutely no signs of chips or wear. I’ll post the tutorial shortly!

I hope everyone’s enjoying a happy, albeit hectic, Christmas lead up! Sorry for my absence of seasonal related posts. To be honest, although I love Christmas time, donning the synthetic tree with pretty fairy lights is, for the moment, about as Christmasy as it gets around here décor wise. I’m sure once Charlotte, and the ‘soon-to-be’, are a little older there’ll be plenty of seasonal crafting and decorating going on.


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Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plates

Phew, it has been a busy few weeks around here!

Aside from all the regular hoo-hah, I spent a few whirlwind days updating, cleaning, styling and shooting a few of my rooms for inclusion in an upcoming home blogger’s book! I don’t want to say too much yet, just in case something falls through, though will be sure to divulge more details when things are a little more concrete (however, I should clarify that the book is not by me or all about me – by no means am I important or interesting enough for that – I’m simply contributing). In the mean time at least I now have some some tizzied-up spaces, complete with spanking new photos, which I can share over the coming weeks.

In other news, I finally finished refurbishing a set of six chairs I bought waaaay back in the Cretaceous period. Okay, so maybe not quite that long ago, though you get the idea.

Pressed Back Cottage Dining Chairs Before

I originally found these chairs on eBay and picked them up for just $5.50! Yes, for ALL of them! They were in pretty rough shape, many of them with missing or loose dowel supports and most of them with badly broken or sagging rattan seat inserts.

Cottage Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plate

Being completely ill-equipped in the (to me, complex) art of re-caning, I decided to remove all of the rattan and cover the inevitable holes with padded seats instead. Though then, me being me, I had an idea (don’t worry, it didn’t hurt too much :-) What if, instead of conventional upholstered pads, I used metal plates? They could off-set some of the sweet cottage style with a subtle industrial edge and give the chairs that little point of distinction. Sure, they might not be as plush as cushioned pads, though we have some metal chairs and they are surprisingly comfy, plus they are super easy to clean (and the addition of topical seat pads is still always an option).

Anyhoo, firstly I re-glued and braced any loose joints. This included replacing a few of the missing and broken horizontal leg dowels completely. Once set, I gave the chairs a light all-over sand (I wanted to distress the chairs once painted so didn’t worry about sanding too thoroughly). I did kinda like the original timber finish though considering I had to replace some of the dowels the wood was no longer completely consistent so I decided to paint the chairs in a soft blue-grey (sorry, though as usual I made the colour up using paint remnants so can’t disclose an actual colour). With all their intricate spindles, to save time and frustration, I sprayed the chairs using my trusty air compressor.

Cottage Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plates

I’m lucky to have a brother-in-law in the metal industry so he machined the seat plates for me (thanks Joshy!) though I could have purchased some metal sheeting and cut them myself easily enough. I attached them to the chairs using simple little dome head screws. I then distressed the frames, rather heavily, by hand using a medium grit hard sanding block. I contemplated glazing the chairs to bring out some extra detail in the carvings though decided they were just right as is.

Cottage Chair After Details

I have the chairs in my dining room temporarily and do really love them though will probably end up on-selling them. After all, how many sets of six dining chairs does a small family with one four seater dining table really need?

Cottage Dining Chair Before and After


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Spray Paint Door Hardware Update

Hey all! Just chiming in with an easy, non-earth shattering, little spray paint project…

As with our two built-in robes (one in the master bedroom and one in the nursery) which were originally fitted with ugly beige metal tracks and surrounds, we also have an external sliding door complete with the same unsightly hardware with the added bonus of a clunky, though kinda necessary, locking handle. The sliding door forms what is technically a side access-way (into our soon-to-be-finished home office space) though due to logistics, more often than not, it’s actually used as the house’s main entrance.

Sliding Door Update Before

Sorry I don’t have a shot of the door in its entirety – at the moment it’s kinda tricky to photograph though when I reveal my home office I’ll include some better ‘whole’ images. Anyhoo, as you can see, along with wearing messy remnants of timber stain and paint from the previous home owners, the beige track and handle are clearly old, tired and just plain yuk. In the future I might consider replacing the sliding door completely with some lovely french double doors though for now I’m simply after a quick, affordable freshen-up.

When I first decorated our master bedroom I transformed the metal robe surrounds with some white spray paint…

Barn Style Wardrobe Door Makeover

I did the same thing in the nursery with black spray paint…

Chalkboard Alphabet Wardrobe Door Makeover

So again, rather than fork out unnecessary cashola to replace our perfectly functional sliding door track and handle, I decided to make the most of what we already had and opt for an easy, budget cosmetic update.

I considered using a metal effects paint (like antique bronze or iron black) though instead decided to camouflage the handle and track by spraying them white to match the existing door frame. This made the painting process relatively easy as over-spray wasn’t too much of a concern. I simply cleaned the metal thoroughly, taped-up the nearby carpeted areas, put down an old towel and carefully painted everything in situ.

I applied around four or five fine coats of gloss enamel spray paint from all attainable angles until the coverage was even and thorough. And, no, the spray paint wasn’t colour matched to the existing door frame. Using an aerosol is pretty forgiving so I just bought an off-the-shelf white and it blends in seamlessly.

Simple DIY Sliding Door Hardware Update

It’s a subtle change, and whilst the door isn’t suddenly beautiful, it’s no longer an out-dated eyesore. Finishing the hardware to match the surrounding architraves makes for a much more cohesive and clean overall look, with the previously prominent handle and track now ‘disappearing’ into the woodwork (at least I like to think so).

I completed this project around a month ago now. We use the door frequently and so far the new paintwork is holding up great with absolutely no signs of chips or wear. As a cheap and easy temporary fix I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Gotta love spray paint!

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s certainly not an earth shattering project (well, hey, I guess I can’t be super fabtabulous all the time :-) though it is a very do-able, simple yet effective one.


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Charlotte’s Nursery in Little One Baby Magazine

Little One Baby Magazine Feature

A few weeks ago we were lucky to have a photographer from Little One Baby magazine at our house to shoot Charlotte’s nursery for an accompanying article in their now released summer issue.

Thanks to editor Amy Doak and photographer Rebecca Gray for the feature. It’s lovely to have something in print to remember Charlotte’s first room by – especially as it soon may be undergoing some changes to suitably accommodate the new impending little being.

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