Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recycled Picture Book Bunting - Tutorial


Just before my second bub arrived last year I got all nesty and starting DIYing all over the place. I'm not normally terribly DIY and the idea of taking on a big craft project usually makes me feel like having a lie-down before I even begin. But when I saw this idea I thought, 'hey, even I could do that'. And I'm telling you, it's SO EASY.

I can't sew, but I love bunting. And I desperately wanted to hang bunting in JJ's room. So I made it out of an old picture book. This is what hers looks like.

A couple of friend's bubs have just arrived in the last few of weeks and I wanted to make something a little special. I do like a handmade gift because it's a labour of love and while it might be a little wonky, it's straight from the heart.

Okay, so, without further ado, here's the tutorial:

10 easy steps to make your own picture book bunting!

For this project you will need:

1 second-hand picture book
1 length of twine
A ruler
A pencil


1. Create a template of a flag. I used this one that I found on-line by googling 'bunting templates'. This template measures 19cm across and 26cm down. You could search for another one if the size doesn't suit. Or create your own with measurements of your choosing.

2. Find a suitable picture in the book and place the template over it. (Check first that the picture on the back isn't a better one!) Trace around the template. Don't be afraid to angle the template so that you capture the aspects of the picture you want.

3. Tearing out the page makes it easier to cut. Then, go ahead and cut out your flag!


4. Go through the book and cut out all of your flags. I try to use every page in the book if I can because I don't like waste and it means I also have more to choose from when I go to make the bunting.

5. Before I throw away the off-cuts, I sift through them to see if there are any cute little pictures I can salvage. I save these to make gift tags as I need them.

6. Lay out your flags on the floor and arrange them in a way that pleases you. I try to balance the colours. I also try to also mix it up so the flags with text are interspersed with the pictures-only ones.

7. When you're happy with the arrangement, lay your twine out. I like to leave about 40cm at either end so that it can be easily hung up by tying.

8. Fold over the top of the first flag. I'm not very good with precise measurements as I do most things by sight. But I'd say the fold is about 2cm over. You'll see that you need to tidy up the ends. So use scissors to snip the pointy bits off.

9. Open the fold. Glue across the top and bottom of the fold. Hold the string taut against the crease in the paper, fold it back over to stick. I use my thumb nail to run along against the string as I'm pressing down to glue, just to make sure it really sticks. You could use the end of a spoon, paintbrush or anything blunt like that for the same purpose.


10. Simply repeat the process for each flag. Here I have made the gap between flags about 4cm (give or take, again, I just do it by sight). But you can make yours closer together or further apart. Up to you!

And...voila! You have your very own recycled picture book bunting! It's probably best to hang it flush against a wall so you can't see the folds on the side you glued it.

One idea I had as a way to 'gift-wrap' it is to put the finished bunting into the covers of the now-empty book. That way the recipient also has the cover of the book it came from as a place to store it and keep it flat if they are using it as a decoration for special occasions. Sweet!

Oh, and one more thing. Just a word on the picture book. While I know a lot of people might be horrified at the idea of cutting up a book, I do have some criteria for the kind of book I take apart.

I go to my local op-shop/thrift store and I look for books that are of a certain vintage (you want to choose a book that has the style of illustrations you'd like to display). Also, the book needs to be cheap. The one I used for this project was 99c. But most importantly I look for a book that is damaged, has pages missing, or is boring.

Okay, let's face facts. Some books are boring. Maybe they're written in a style that's no longer engaging, they've dated badly, or were never actually any good in the first place. Hey, I'm just saying. So if a book is not likely to be read and enjoyed that way, I figure, why not turn it into a beautiful decoration for a child's room which honours and celebrates a love of books?

(In case you're curious, this particular book comes under the category of 'damaged' as several pages had already been torn out of the front when I purchased it.)

Okay, now you may go forth and cut up a book guilt-free! Hurrah. Let's make bunting!!!!