Saturday, November 24, 2012

Paper Napkin bunting tutorial

Well this is it.  My first tutorial. 

My son was having a pirate party for his 3rd birthday and I looked everywhere for pirate party decorations but couldn't find anything.  Then at the last minute I found some pirate paper napkins and next thing you know we have some party decorations that took no time at all.  Now I'm not saying this hasn't been done before, but this is how I did it and who knows, someone out there may find it helpful.

It is my daughter's 6th birthday this friday and I've talked her into a fairy party so I can make some more pretty bunting! (Much better than the Hotel Transylvania party she originally wanted).

So if you'd like to make some bunting of your own, all you need is some paper napkins and a roll of crepe paper streamer.  Oh and a sewing machine of course!  I actually used two packs of 20 napkins as I needed lots of bunting.
Now you need to cut the napkins into flags.  Take the folded napkin and making sure the fold is at the top, line it up on your cutting mat to find the middle of the napkin.  Then cut from the bottom middle of the napkin to the top of one side.  Do the same on the other side.  Your napkin should look like this.
Now unfold the napkin and separate the two halves.  (Anybody have any good tips for cleaning cutting mats??)

Repeat this step with all your remaining napkins.  I usually cut 3 or 4 at once to save time.  Then fold each separated diamond back in half so you have some lovely little penants.

Now comes the sewing part.  You will need a tail left on either end of the bunting so you can tie it up.  I left about a metre of streamer at the start before I began to sew the flags.  Start by folding the streamer in half lengthways just far enough so you can insert the first flag and sew it in between the two sides of the streamer.  Drop the rest of the roll of crepe paper on the floor and it easily unrolls as you sew.  I also increased my stitch length to 4 on my machine just to make it sew up a bit quicker. 
I found it helpful to stretch the crepe paper as I sewed and this stopped it puckering and also helped to fold the streamer in half ready for the next flag.  Now insert the next flag right next to the last one and continue sewing. 
Repeat this step until you have used all the flags.  Make sure to leave another long tail at the other end.  And you should end up with something like this.

Two packs of napkins made approximately 13metres of bunting (with 80 flags) plus the metre we left on each end.  You could also use less flags and leave a gap between each one and it would still look great.  So for a grand total of $6.00 - $2.50 for each pack of napkins and $1 for the streamer - you have some fabulous party decorations.  And it's super fast too.  I think it only took about a half hour to make.

Here's a few photos of the pirate bunting I made in July.  These ones were even easier as I just unfolded the napkin and cut it in half so I didn't lose any of the picture.  I also left a space between each flag as I only had one pack of napkins.

So if you ever need some super quick, last minute party decorations this may be your answer.  And best of all they can be used again and again.

Linking up to Plum and June Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link-up.


  1. I've never seen bunting made this way and I love it. I can see doing this for all kinds of occasions!

  2. What a fab idea, and a great easy bunting tutorial, I can see me using this for my little ones next birthday, thx! : )

  3. Gillian!!! These look amazing - super idea! Happy Birthday to your kiddos.

  4. This looks so easy, and great! And best of all, it doesn't use expensive fabric (which is fine if you're going to use it again, but kid's tastes change so quickly. Not to mention it may end up with cake frosting an who knows what else on it!)

  5. Fab idea. I love using paper napkins in sewing and I've got hundreds, I have an idea now for my daughter's bedroom! :)

  6. Fantastic idea, Gillian and great first tutorial too - very clear and easy to follow! Thanks for sharing.


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