DIY Community Prayer Flags

20 Sep

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Tibetan prayer flags are a popular household staple in my mountain loving community. I suspect the tradition trickled in with the mountaineering enthusiasts who climb in Tibet and Nepal. I love prayer flags, but I feel a bit weird about hanging them in my house because I’m not Buddhist. For a long time I have wanted to make set of flags that represents the people I live with, and I finally got the chance a few weeks ago.

Materials
-White or light colored fabric:. I used about 3/4 of a yard of muslin I had leftover from another project to make about 40 4″x4″ flags.
-Thread
-Sewing machine or needles

-Pentel Fabric Fun Pastel Dye Sticks:
-String: I used 15 feet of parachute chord for about 40 small flags, but you can use whatever material you want.
-Rotary cutter and mat, or scissors
Iron, ironing board, and scrap paper: for setting the dye

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Making the flags. Cut the flags to the dimensions you prefer, plus an inch of seam allowance on one side: I made our flags 4 inches by 4 inches, so I cut the fabric into 4 inch by 5 inch rectangles. This size was the smallest size I could make them and still have enough room to decorate with the dye sticks. Fold over the seam allowance and sew to make a tube at the top. This is where you will thread your string.

Decorate the flags.

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I laid the flags out during a gathering and asked folks to decorate them with their hopes and dreams for the future.

I was quite happy with the Pentel Pastel Dye Sticks that we used, but there are a ton of other options. You could experiment with one of the zillion fabric paint products out there, sharpies, no wax batik, screen printing, or block printing. I loved seeing my friends’ creations.

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The dye sticks need to be ironed to set the dye. It only took about fifteen minutes and a few pieces of scrap paper to get all of them done.

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String your flags

I brought along a big tapestry needle to help with the threading process but I didn’t even need it. The parachute cord threaded through the flags easily.

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Hang your flags

Take a million photographs because you love them so much.

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It was wonderful to throw a simple prompt at my friends and see the beautiful flags they created. I love all of them.

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I also had the rare and thrilling experience of spending less time on a project than I thought I would. I was expecting the project to take at least three hours, but cutting out the flags, sewing them, and laying out all of the stuff took about two hours. The finishing process after they were decorated took only a half hour. I can’t even remember the last time this happened!

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I totally want to do this again.

~Robin

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One Response to “DIY Community Prayer Flags”

  1. Mara September 21, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    Hey, mine is showcased 🙂 It’s the one that says Dance. If you looked closely, perhaps you would see Devil’s Dancefloor, the view from the location where Robin had us do this activity.

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