Monday, August 24, 2015

Tutorial: Reusable Bunting Holder

Some time ago I decided to make a bunting as decoration for a party.  Once I began thinking about it, I felt guilty about making something for a one-time event.  After all, sustainability is an important ideal for most of us--not use and toss.

I decided to make a clear plastic bunting that could hold paper or fabric designs.  Those designs could be changed out for the seasons or events as needed.  

To make this bunting, you'll need several sheets of regular copy paper for the pattern, clear table covering, and enough double-fold bias tape in the length you want.  I purchased one yard of plastic covering and made about three yards of bias tape.

Begin by making your pattern using the sheet of copy paper.  Measure and mark a line one inch from the edge of the short side of the paper.  Fold the paper in half to find the center line on the long side of the paper the draw lines to form a triangle from the first line to the center point on the opposite edge.  Your pattern should look like the picture on the right.

This pattern will serve as both the front and the back of each bunting.  Cut the pattern out leaving the 1" edge in tack.  With the 1" edge, you have the pattern for the back of the bunting.

To create the front pattern, simply fold the 1" edge down out of the way.

Decide how many "window" pieces of bunting you want.  If your plans are to have one letter in each bunting window, count out the letters.  For example, "Happy Birthday" needs 13 windows.  Once you decide on the number of windows you need, cut that number of triangle patterns out for the front of the windows and the same number for the back of the windows.  Note: It's easy to save the amount of plastic covering used by flipping the pattern back and forth so the pieces nest inside of each other.

Once the pieces are all cut out place one front on top of one back piece.  Sew the pieces together on the long sides, pivoting at the point.  The plastic sticks to the machine and the pressure foot so, to alleviate that sticking, place a piece of paper or tissue along the edges before sewing.  The needle will puncture the paper, and it will tear off easily.

Now you're ready to attach the bunting pieces to the bias tape for hanging.  First decide how far apart you want to space the pieces--I left 3 inches but you can adjust this to your liking.   I also left about 10 inches of bias before the first piece so that I'd have a bit to tie around poles or small tree limbs.  

To sew the window pieces on to the bias, begin by sewing the bias along the open edge until your machine needle is almost where you want the first window to be.  Slip the short edge of the window piece into the bias and sew in place.  As you get close to the end of one window piece, measure the bias and leave space before adding the next window.  

Continue adding window pieces, measure and sew.  Continue this way until all of the windows are in place.  

 Sew the rest of bias to the end.  And you're done.

I used paper cut in the shape of the triangle to quickly decorate for these pictures.  To get a shape that fully fit into the windows, I used the same pattern but cut it down about 1/2 inch on the two long sides.  

The plastics are sticky and difficult to handle at first, but I found that sprinkling just a little powder into each bunting helped. Cornstarch may work even better.

Imagine these with the name of a grandchild for birthday parties. I think I may use this one in my classroom since changing the decorations is easy. It occurs to me that I could use small items made for bulletin boards: footballs in a couple of weeks, fall leaves, Christmas ornaments, etc.  I may want to add more windows.  

Want a no-sew version?  You can use washi tape to hold the plastic pieces together and replace the bias tape.  Of course, the tape can also decorate the bunting.  

One last note: since the bunting is see-through, it will work double-sided.  Simply decorate both sides and hang it in a place where it can be seen from both side.  Outside under a tree, trellis or porch or inside in a wide doorway.  

Linking up with
Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts 

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