So for us Canadians this Thursday is Canada Day, which means it’s the country’s birthday and equally as important it’s a holiday and more time to DIY!
I’ll be posting a couple Canada Day-related tutorials this week to get you in the mood for celebrating the country’s 143rd birthday, whether you are lounging on your patio with a beer, somewhere abroad spotting backpackers with the Canadian flag sewed to their gear, or in Ottawa watching the fireworks at Majors Hill Park.
First up is how to make a Canada Day stencilled pennant bunting (or string garland), one of the more popular projects in the handmade scene right now (check out a great tutorial roundup courtesy of whipup). mixed with traditional Canadian symbols such as the maple leaf, the moose, hockey sticks and knitted toque (cue the cheesy closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games). I love how such a simple idea as piecing fabric triangles together can completely transform a space, inside and outside, and how it’s so easy to make.
You’ll notice that rather than use red and white (colours of the Canadian flag), I opted to replace the white with a striped silver fabric (coincidentally it ended up looking like birch bark and so added some unexpected woodsy flair).
Thanks to geek x nerd’s post on Independence Day buntings that inspired me to revisit this idea and create this Canadian themed project.
DIY Project: Canada Day Bunting | String Garland
- Pinking shears
- Cardboard (e.g. cereal box, file folder)
- Measuring tape
- Fabric (I used red light cotton and striped silver fabric leftover from hemmed curtains or use any other colours/leftovers you have)
- Black marker
- Clear/white adhesive paper (Mactac)
- Sponge brush
- Black fabric ink
- Stencils (Download and print the templates here: beaver, maple leaf, moose, canoe, hockey sticks, inukshuk, knitted toque, crown)
- Sewing machine
- Hairdryer (optional)
- Iron (optional)
1. Create a triangle pennant template: Using your piece of cardboard, measuring tape and marker, draw a triangle approxiamtely 9″ wide by 11″ deep, then cut it out. You can find a template for a smaller triangle here.
2. Cut your triangle pennants: Pin or tape the template to the material.For the thicker silver fabric, I used pinking shears to cut out the triangles. (I cut out 4). For the lighter red cotton fabric, I cut one triangle and then a second one so that I could sew them together to make the pennant sturdier and hang better. (I cut out 10). If you buy thicker fabric for all pennants you can skip Step 5. For my bunting I had a total of nine pennants.
3. Prepare your stencils: Print out or draw your stencils. You can use the ones I’ve collected on one page here or create you own. Make sure its size is smaller than the centre of the triangle. (There should be about 1″ of space around). Trace each stencil onto the adhesive paper with the black marker. Cut out each stencil so that you have a negative.
4. Paint your stencils: Adhere a stencil to the middle of the triangle. I decided stencil would be on the silver pennants. Using your sponge brush, apply black fabric paint to your stencil making sure you get every nook and cranny. Repeat for each triangle using the different stencils. Tip: make sure the paint is dry before removing the adhesive otherwise you may lift up some of the paint. Use a hairdryer to speed up drying.
5. Sew sides together: While letting the paint dry, match up one red triangle with another red triangle and pin together. Using your sewing machine, sew along the sides leaving a small hole at the top. Turn inside out. Repeat for the rest of your red triangles.
6. Pin pennants on ribbon and sew: Unravel your ribbon and leave about 15″ of ribbon free. Pin one triangle at this point under the ribbon, then continue pinning each triangle so that the point of one pennant meets the point of another pennant underneath the ribbon. Using your sewing machine, sew down either side of your ribbon to the pennants to secure your triangles. Unravel another 15″ of ribbon then snip.
7. Optional: Iron your triangles so they are nice and flat.
Your Canada Day bunting|string garland is ready to hang! THE END
For inspiration on Canadian symbols and fashion I came across this au courant article from the Ottawa Citizen. Also, the Globe and Mail is teaming up with Facebook in the days leading up to Canada Day, asking Canadians about what our true national symbols should be. (E.g. I wanted to stencil poutine on a pennant but not sure how I could capture that). For all you Canadians out there, what symbols do you think should be added ? Are there any crafty-related ones that should be included? The closest one I could come to was a knitted toque. I’m sure you’ve got better ideas and I’d love to hear them!
Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen, June 2010 article on Canadian fashion here