March 14, 2009
Our first in an ongoing series! We are so excited to bring you these family-friendly 3-day projects laid out in a simple, digestable format. We bring you one big project broken down into 3 bite-sized, craft sessions your whole family can enjoy TOGETHER! You can read more about these projects here…
Or you can just get started right now, making stuff together…
Prayer, hope, wish flags
Materials and Tools:
- Printed fabric. We like to use old sheets, upholstery scraps, or cut-offs from bigger projects. Use what you’ve got. Each flag is 5″x7 ½ ” so that’s as big as you need. Get creative.
- White fabric. We have a queen sized white cotton sheet that has garnered us enough fabric for prayer flags from now until the end of time. Any plain, unprinted fabric will do. Linen is nice. Cotton. Muslin. Again, whatever you’ve got. Each piece is 4″x6″
- Embroidery floss (optional)
- Buttons (optional)
- Thin marking pens such as fine point Sharpies – colored or black – your choice
- Heavy paper such as an old file folder or cereal box
- Paper and pencil
- Pinking shears
- Paper cutting scissors
- Sewing machine
- Pencil or other fabric marking device. The roll up crayons work great for this.
- Simple rubber stamps and stamp pad (optional)
- Snacks full of protein (mandatory)
- Dark chocolate or other sweet treat (optional)
Friday 1-2 hours
Prep: If you will be using the kitchen table or some other common area that will need to be cleared off after each step, we recommend laying out a large piece of heavy cloth such as canvas or oilcloth. The heavier, the better so that it won’t be at risk of being accidently cut. We use canvas from an old military cot. This will be used to roll up all the materials after each phase so that it can be stored away and easily set up again.
- Pinking shears
- Paper scissors
- Heavy paper
- Marking pen
If you have little kids we recommend doing this part on your own after bedtime. Older kids can easily participate and it’s a great, easy, Friday afternoon, after-a-week-of-school, activity.
1. Have a good, hearty snack to keep attitudes happy.
2. Measure and cut a 5×7 ½ and a 4×6 pattern piece on the cereal box or file folder. One of each for each person cutting.
3. Select printed fabric scraps. LESSON LEARNED: Put out enough to allow choices but not too many as to overwhelm. We have found that too many choices can make for some crankily chaotic and oddly distressing times.
4. Using the larger pattern piece, mark out 4-10 flags per person. You decide how many is doable. Older kids can each make their own string of flags. Younger kids might each make one or two and then string them all together for all to share and enjoy. LESSONS LEARNED: The following are things we pretty much tell the kids each time we do a project. Don’t think because you told them last time that they will remember this time. We read that it takes a kid sometimes FIFTY TO SEVENTY-FIVE TIMES of hearing something before they fully absorb it. Okay, they were talking about toddlers but still…
- Cut from a corner of the fabric so as to minimize waste.
- Lay your fabric out flat so that your cuts are clean and straight.
- Make sure there is nothing bunched up under the fabric you are cutting.
- Weigh your pattern piece down.
- Measure twice, cut once
- After cutting each piece, lay it somewhere AWAY from the cutting area. We’d like a dime for each time we searched for a kid’s missing piece.
5. If they’ve never cut fabric before it can be tricky so go slowly and set them up to succeed by making less flags. LESSON LEARNED: Less is more. Completion of less is better than the feeling of incompletion of more.
6. We use the pin magnets to hold the pattern piece in place while tracing it on the fabric. You can also hold the pattern piece in place for them while they trace.
7. Clean up the printed fabric and get out the white or plain fabric. Using the smaller pattern piece mark out one more than the amount of flags. The one more is in case one gets messed up, so if you want a little more leeway, cut out a few more.
8. After cutting all the pieces, have each person pin all their pieces together with a safety pin. Mark each pile. Roll up the work space with all the pieces on it. Or, if it’s in a designated workspace, just walk away with each person’s pieces pinned together. Take a deep breath. Look each other in the eye. Feel the love and the joy of stopping before everyone hits the wall.
9. Enjoy the rest of your evening.
Saturday 1-2 hours
Prep: Roll out or return to your workspace. Set up the sewing machine.
- Sewing machine
- Fine tip marker
- Paper and pencils for doodling out ideas
- Literary thinking cap
- Separate the printed pieces from the white. Fold over the top of each printed piece approximately ½ inch. Iron flat and sew along the bottom of the fold, back stitching on each end. This is where the flags will be strung.
- Take out the paper and pencil for each person and ponder what your flags will represent. We have made all variety of different and beautifully sentimental flags. Some were Wish Flags upon which we wrote out wishes for a birthday boy or girl. Others were Hope Flags upon which we wrote out hopes for the world and hopes for our new president. Still others were Love flags upon which we wrote out things we loved about our family, our friends and the world in general.
Determine what yours will be. Keeping it thematic for the kids gives them some parameters within which to work. Lessons Learned: Too loose is too confusing and too tight removes the creativity. So give a theme, or a writing prompt, or come up with one together, and start jotting down the possibilities. For the final copy you’ll need as many as you have flags.
You can make your flags represent anything you like and the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas of flags we’d like to make but haven’t yet:
- Appreciation flags – listing things we appreciate in life
- Haiku or poetry flags – sweet, short poems
- Family flags – a flag for each person in the family with a short list of what makes them special
- Get well flags – we think they’d look great in a hospital room with a little message from each person
- Happiness flags – things that make us happy
Writing prompt suggestions:
- Happiness is…
- Love is…
- I appreciate…
- To me, love feels like…
- To me, hope feels like…
- For the world, I wish…
You can also use a writing prompt for non-readers and writers by giving them a prompt and having them draw out a picture. They will more than easily get their point across.
- Using the fine tipped marker, carefully and artistically write out each final script on the white fabric. If the kids are more comfortable writing in pencil first, then going over it with marker, do it that way. Get creative with your lettering or keep it simple.
- If you are using the rubber stamps, stamp the white cloth. Since these most likely won’t be washed, regular stamp pads work just fine.
- You can take a break now and roll things up until tomorrow. Or, if you are feeling like extending the craft time and finishing up today, you can keep working and follow Sunday’s instructions.
Sunday 1-2 hours
Prep: Unroll or return to your work area.
- Embroidery floss and needle (Or for a quick finish use a sewing machine)
- Hemp string or other such heavy string
- Using the buttons and embroidery floss, position the white cloth onto the patterned cloth. Center the white cloth leaving a half inch on each side and sew a button at each top corner of the white cloth.
- After each one is assembled, string the flags onto the hemp string.
- You can embellish it by tying a small strip of cloth in between each flag.
- Put a slip knot at each end and hang up for everyone to see and enjoy!
Check back in a couple weeks for our next installment!