Was it two weeks ago or three weeks ago that I promised a tutorial on making a birthday bunting (a.k.a. birthday banner)? I'm so sorry for the delay.
I know that every craft blogger in the universe (and boy, there are a lot of us these days) has their own version of this somewhere deep in their archives. So why couldn't I just follow someone else's plan and post a link to it here? If I could answer that, I could explain why I owned five pairs of fluorescent parachute pants in fifth grade.
I also made this the subject of my latest HomeMaker column in the Spokesman-Review, so I'm killing two birds with one stone here. Gee, that's an awful phrase. I'm petting two dogs with one hand. Better?
Anyhow, here's my take on birthday bunting. I'm off to work on a new invention now. It's round and rolly and it helps move things along. I think I'll call it a "wheel."
HOW TO MAKE BIRTHDAY BUNTING:
-First, determine how long you want your bunting to be. I wanted to spell out the phrase “hip hip hooray” with spacers in between the words and on the ends, so my bunting is 16 flags long.
Since each flag is 7 inches across the top and I left a small space between each one, the total banner length is about 14 feet.
-Now, create a template for your flags that’s about a half inch larger all the way around than you want them to be in the end. I cut a 7-inch by 10-inch by 10-inch triangle out of the cardboard from an empty cereal box.
-Trace the template onto your fabric scraps using chalk and cut them out all the triangles you will need.
There are so many ways to proceed from here.
-If you want to spell out a phrase, such as “happy birthday,” on your bunting, cut the desired letters out of felt and sew them to the flags, either by hand or with a machine.
-This is also the point when you need to decide whether you’re OK with your bunting having a “wrong” side or whether you want to cut out a second set of triangles so the bunting looks finished from all angles. I cut out a second set of flags from white fabric and sewed each white triangle to a printed one about a half inch from the edges.
-Now trim around your flags with pinking shears, whether you’re using single-layer flags or you’ve sewn two triangles together.
-Next, lay out your flags in the desired order. Double check your spelling, especially if you’re including someone’s name in the bunting. The last thing you want is to make a kid cry on her birthday.
-Pin the flags to a strip of bias tape that’s long enough to accommodate the length of your bunting, plus a foot or two so you can tie it to a table leg or tree or whatever. When you’re pinning, either tuck the top of the triangles into double-fold bias tape or lay single fold bias tape across the top of the triangles, depending on your preference.
-Sew the bias tape to the flags, removing the pins as you go.
There you have it! A vintage-inspired decoration that can used for years to come.
-There’s no rule that says the buntings have to be made of triangles. You could make rectangles or circles or any old shape.
You could create shapes that fit the party’s theme, such as birthday cakes, graduation caps or Christmas trees.
-If you don’t sew, don’t fret. You could follow the directions above using paper, string and glue instead of fabric and thread. Scrapbook supply stores sell gorgeously printed paper—you could create something really beautiful.
If you want your paper bunting to last for a long time, though, consider laminating the flags.