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Union Flag Bunting Tutorial

Union Flag Bunting Tutorial


Betty here! Jack asked me to make him to Union Flag bunting (did you know it’s only the Union Jack if it’s flown at sea?) so I thought I’d do a little tutorial for you! This involves aging the fabric, and making a stencil as well as cutting out a boatload of triangles!


Things You Will Need

  • A length of pale fabric
  • Tea
  • Instant Coffee
  • Sewing Scissors
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needles/a sewing machine
  • Cream coloured cotton thread
  • Two sheets of A4 Card
  • Red and Blue acrylic paint
  • A fairly thick brush (I had a household paintbrush to hand but a good artists one would be better)


I tea-stained my fabric, there are a few tutorials around online that will explain how to do this – (bear in mind that it will only work on natural fibres, so make sure you use something like cotton rather than something synthetic) – I pretty much just stuffed all of my fabric into a saucepan with three of four teabags, I used a single-sized bedsheet so that should give you some idea of how much you need. Add enough boiled water to cover your fabric! I used a sprinkling of instant coffee (we’ve been given loads, but neither of us drink it) on the top just to give the colour a more uneven look – you can add to this by scrunching up your fabric as you put it into the water.

I wanted more of an aged, stained look to my fabric, so I sprinkled some more coffee in different areas once I’d taken the fabric out of the water, and before it had dried. Leave it to dry naturally, or (as I did) cheat and use a hairdryer.

I’d recommend cutting your fabric into more manageable strips once it’s dry, before you start making your triangles! Make a stencil, about A5 sized from one of your sheets of card, so you can cut all your bunting to size – for my method it doesn’t matter too much if it’s uneven.

Pin the template onto the fabric, and get cutting. You can fold the fabric a few times and cut out a couple of triangles at a time if you like – it certainly saves a lot of time!

You’ll need to make two stencils, one for the red part of the flag and one for the blue – I traced my template that I used to cut my triangles with, and onto my second piece of card I traced the blue, and the red section on either side from an image of the union flag that I found online (there are plenty if you search) Cut out the parts that you need. I started with the red, to make things a little easier to line up. It’s good if you have a piece of board or something to lean on that you can tape the stencil onto, it makes things a little bit cleaner and easier, so you can flip the card up and down as you alternate your fabric triangles.

I used standard acrylic paint (Daler Rowney System 3) to do this, in red and blue, with a little bit of brown mixed with either to dull the colours a little and make them both a similar tone. Take your paintbrush and stipple and paint over the stencil, onto the fabric. Because I wanted mine to look a bit aged and shabby I wasn’t really so fussed about everything being too neat, some areas of the paint are patchy where others are a bit heavier, and I made the effort to try not to cover up too many of my coffee stains.

Leave them to dry! I don’t have any photos of the next stage, but it’s fairly straightforward; your fabric (presumably) will be hanging, and won’t get too much wear. The acrylic will also stop it from fraying, to a point, as it’s plastic and acts a little bit like a glue. My bunting hangs against our living room wall, and didn’t really need to be double-sided. I used some selvedge of leftover fabric to create the tape to hang my bunting from, and hand-tacked all my little triangles into place! Using a sewing machine would have been quicker and a lot better, really – but I had a bit of machine failure so I had to do it all by hand – you shouldn’t have that problem!

So here’s the finished bunting! Hanging proudly in what we’re currently calling ‘Victory Corner’ which has a few of our vintage postcards and posters hanging in it – it’s definitely a work in progress but they’re some of the first pictures that we’ve hung in the house. The living room is still a work in progress but we’ll show you the full makeover once it looks a bit more… livable.

Lots of love from Betty xx