Bunting. In two months I’ve made more bunting than I have in my entire existence. Bunting is the super popular, so classic it’s trendy, go to party decoration. When you see these tiny flags strung in a row, you know you’re at a great party.
I’ve made bunting for my husband Chris’s pirate themed birthday (he’s 34 going on 4). And, again I took on the bunting challenge, but in five fold for the Etsy Craft Party. In this experience I’ve learned a thing or two, and am here to pass along tips and tricks to make your bunting come together before your bacon wrapped dates are ready to come out of the oven (mmmm).
Tip 1: Choose Your Shape
Will you use traditional triangle flags, or a double pointed pendant? Or are you a mold breaker who goes with a scalloped pattern? Whatever shape you decide, consider using a template or exact measurements to ensure consistency. If you will have a message on your bunting, pick a shape that allows your text to be large enough to read.
Tip 2: Color
Use at least two alternating colors to create a festive look. At the Etsy Party, I added in woven paper triangles among orange and brown kraft paper. Plan out your color pattern in advance.
Tip 3: Messages and Graphics
If your bunting will contain a special message or any graphics, count out the letters and graphics to ensure you make at least enough flags to hold it. I like to have an extra flag or two on either end of the message, or to act as spacers between words.
Tip 4: Draw Your Plan
Bring all of the above decisions together in a drawing, before you start your cutting, measuring, and buying of materials. Plan the measurements of your flags, and label each flag with a color so you know exactly how many flags you need to make. I like to plan my flags so I get at least two per 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.
Tip 5: Clean Cuts
A ruler and craft knife provide clean edges. Once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder why you ever used scissors.
Tip 6: Assemble Text
You could have pre-printed letters onto your bunting flags, but if you are adding them after the flags are cut, assemble them before stringing. Whether you’re hand lettering, stenciling, or pasting cut out letters, this is easiest to do before you try putting everything together. Good thing you made that handy plan to follow before.
Tip 7: Use a Hole Punch
…to make the holes where the string will go through. Enough said.
Tip 8: Pick Your String
Jute, hemp, cotton twine, or yarn are all good options, pick what will look best for your bunting colors and occasion. Cut a length that allows an extra 2 inches (or more) per the width of you flag size, multiplied by the number of flags, AND add a few feet (3 – 6 feet, more is better!) for either end.
Tip 9: String Pattern
Do you want the string to be hidden behind the flags, or for it to show on the front of every other flag, or on the front of all flags? Decisions are hard, I recommend stringing it behind all flags.
Tip 10: String Up Your Bunting Like a Pro
All of that hard work, and this is the part that can be the biggest pain, IF you don’t have this great tip. Take a few flags and one by one, gently bring the two hole punched corners to touch, with the front of the bunting facing outward. You can stack a few flags, gently folded like this, so all hole openings are aligning. Now send a piece of string through. Viola! You’ve just strung multiple flags with a single motion. Space them out as you wish and continue until you’re done.
Bonus Tip 11: If You Thought 30 feet of Bunting was a Good Idea
If you want a really long continuous string of bunting, use the same stringing method as above, but start at the half way point of your design. Pull your flags to the middle of the string and spread them out. Then repeat from the opposite end of your string with the last half. Be careful about the order, and this will save you from drawing the entire length of string through your bunting. Or, next time just make a few smaller strings instead.
Now go forth, and conquer your next bunting project!