DIY ethical bunting

20130429_Bunting_01

For the garden party we hosted last week we knew we wanted to dress up the entire yard. We chose bunting as a statement piece. My desire was to not only make something pretty, but to also make something as thoughtfully as we could. We were so thrilled with how it turned out we thought we'd share a tutorial with you. I apologize for the lack of photos. We aren't quite pro-blogger status so we kind of forget to document things.

What you'll need:

Lots of thin rope (we bought ours at a craft store)

Lots of old sheets 

fabric dye

- Figure out how long you want your bunting to be. You'll need rope that long plus about 10 feet to make sure you have plenty of rope to tie on the ends.

- Find fabric. DON'T BUY IT NEW! You'll spend a fortune on fabric that you're only going to shred which is wasteful. Using recycled fabric for a new purpose keeps it out of landfills longer and then you don't have to worry about purchasing an item that was made unethically. I bought our at the Goodwill and Salvation Army. If you start soon enough you could probably find all the fabric you need at garage sales. 

-Determine how much you'll need. As a rough estimate you'll need 1 queen sized sheet for every ten feet of bunting. You can use any type of fabric so look at used curtains, tablecloths and duvet covers too. You will want at least three different types/patterns of fabric so if you're just doing a little bit of bunting you can use old rags, pillow cases etc.

-Use creative freedom with fabric choices. We looked for more bold textures and patterns to fit our theme but you can really do whatever makes sense and looks pretty to you. If you plan on dying the fabric to match your theme definitely try to stick with very light colored cotton fabrics so it absorbs the color.

-Buy dye to match your colors... Then buy more. Remember you are dying large chunks of fabric so you'll need quite a bit of dye. I found that 1 pack of dye worked well for two to three large sheets. If you want the color to be more vibrant just throw in a second pack. We used cheap store bought dye but you can find eco-friendly and natural dying tutorials all over. 

*take special care when working with dye. It really can ruin things. We did ours in the washing machine and then ran a load of rags and bleach afterward to make sure I didn't stain all my future loads of clothing.

Cut sheets into 2 inch wide strips. This is the worst part. Above you'll see a picture of my sister cutting away. Seriously, if you're doing a lot of this you'll want ot go ahead and invest in some good fabric cutting scissors. For length we chose longer 14-16 in pieces but again, do what looks good to you here. Cut in whatever way will produce the least scrap waste at the end. To do our 60 feet of bunting plan on at least 5 man hours...you'll want to find some friends to help...seriously. 

Tie the strips onto your rope. I wish I had a picture to explain this but essentially you'll just want to fold the strip in half and tie it in a knot onto the rope. Easy. Tie them closely to one another. They don't have to be scrunched but they should be touching.

Hang it! you'll want a little slack so it doesn't look like rags on a clothes line. A very gentle "U" shape is what you're looking for. Also make sure it's not in an annoying spot where people are going to be hit with fabric strips when they walk under it.

In total for our 60 feet of bunting we spent about $30. I think if I'd gone to garage sales I could've cut that down to maybe $20 buy purchasing cheaper sheets. However, for the impact that the bunting had on the overall look of the yard I think it was a good place to spend a little money and a lot of time. Hope this tutorial helps and please let us know if you try it!

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