Tutorial: Easy Sewn Paper Party Bunting (Garland)

King of the Jungle Bunting for the baby shower

King of the Jungle bunting for a jungle themed baby shower

Who isn’t looking for an inexpensive but modern way to decorate for a baby shower, bridal shower, birthday party, or any celebration? I recently helped a friend decorate for our friend’s baby shower. Instead of store-bought decorations I suggested making bunting. The shower theme was jungle animals so we decided on one string of bunting that said “King of the Jungle” and a few other strings of colorful flags.

Now, there is some debate as to what this bunting is really called. I think bunting is the UK term but garland, flags, or any other moniker means the same thing to me: cute, customizable, and personal decorations for your get-together. I did these out of paper but you could easily make the same type of bunting out of fabric stay stitched around the triangles for the flags.

In this project I used one of my favorite techniques, sewing on paper.  This isn’t as scary as it sounds and I have a few helpful hints on this technique at the end of the post.

Supplies needed:
5 to 10 sheets of 12″ x 12″ or 8.5″ x 11″ scrapbook paper (this project is great to get rid of paper scraps!)
Double fold binding tape – 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch finished width
2″ tall alphabet or number stickers, if desired (a Silhouette or Cricut works even better)
Clover Wonderclips (Optional) – really helpful for keeping the flags in place without creating puncture marks
Sewing machine and accessories – needles, scissors, matching thread

1. Cut out Triangles. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out larger triangles for my “King of the Jungle” bunting and smaller triangles for the colorful buntings I had planned. I choose the size biased on wanting to get at least 4 flags out of a 12″ x 12″ sheet of scrapbook paper. My large triangles were about 5″ tall and 4″ wide at the top. For the smaller triangles, I made them about 3″ tall and 2″ wide at the top. You’ll have to play with the sizes for your particular party theme, phrase, and decorating requirements.

2. (Optional) Cut out letters or numbers. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out my phrase “King of the Jungle” in solid navy in letters about 2″ tall.  You could also use store-bought stickers to add your phrase of choice.

3. (Optional) Attach letters or numbers to flags. I attached my letters using double-sided tape, centering each letter 1″ down from top edge of triangle.

4. Sew flags into binding tape. Lay out your flags along the 3 or 4 yards of binding tape. You’ll want to leave at least 12″ on each end to allow for hanging. Trim binding if needed for a shorter string of bunting. Starting at one end of binding tape, stitch along tape about 75% toward the open end, keeping in mind that there will not be flags for the first 12″. When you reach 12″, place the first flag inside the binding tape, making sure the tape is on both sides of the paper triangle and continue stitching. Make sure the triangle is all the way inside the binding and that your stitching is grabbing the flag by at least 1/8 inch (more for wider bindings). Continue stitching across the top of all of the triangle using the spacing you like.

Assembly of the bunting

Sewing in my triangles. Clips work great for keeping things in place without the holes left my pins in paper.

5. Pay attention to spacing.  Make sure to leave spaces between words. On the “King” bunting, I made sure to reduce the spacing between the letters of a single word and increase the space between words so the phrase was readable rather than one long word.  Once you sew on all the triangles in a single seam, your ready to party!

Colorful flags to match the baby shower theme

Colorful flags to match the baby shower theme

Recommendations for customization:
– Try making a phrase like “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations”, or “Happy Anniversary” that you can reuse for various gatherings
– Buy a few sheets of glitter or sparkle paper to add pizzazz to your bunting
– Try making oversized bunting with large triangles and more than one package of bias tape for a bold decoration

Sewing on paper:
If you have never sewed on paper, let me assure you it is very easy and the results looks amazingly professional. There are two important things to keep in mind when sewing paper:
1. It will dull your needle very quickly. You’ll want a thinner needle – a 10 or 12. I have a dedicated sewing machine needle just for paper. If you don’t already, you’ll have one after your first paper project since you will not want to use that needle for fabric again.
2. Use larger stitch sizes. I find a 3.0 or 3.5 works very well. Remember, we are tying to do the opposite of paper piecing where small stitches are used to make sure the paper is perforated and easy to remove. We want ours staying put, so use a larger stitch length ensures you don’t create easy to tear perforations.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY


Tutorial: Simple Yarn-Wrapped Letters

Yarn Letter Tutorial

HoustonDIY’s Yarn-Wrapped Letter Tutorial

Pinterest is full of great examples of yarn wrapped wreaths and letters. These are simple, quick, customizable, and beautiful additions to your entry, kitchen, office, bedroom, kids room, or any part your home. I thought I would try my hand at this technique. I’m definitely not inventing anything new, but want to show you that this really is quick and easy as everyone says.

I had bought my initials in lowercase letters from the Paper Source years ago. I’ve been waiting to find something fun to do with them and the recent inspiration from Pinterest directed me.

Supplies Needed:
Letters, cardboard or chipboard (available at Joann’s, Michaels, Paper Source)
Yarn, any weight or texture
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Acrylic paint (optional)

1. (Optional) Paint the letters. I painted my letters with acrylic paint first so I could choose a fun color that was going show through any gaps in the yarn rather than the brown paper color. I painted 2 coats of white and then 2 coats for my turquoise.

2. Make a Plan. Plan how to wrap each letter. Depending on the letters you have and their style – especially whether the font is serif or sans-serif – you will need to think about how your wrapping should go to cover everything. Think about the layers of yarn and make sure to cover the ends first before a final wrap of everything.

Yarn Letters in Progress

Yarn letters in progress – wrap the ends to ensure everything is covered

3. Get wrapping! This can be a bit tedious but wrap away until you’ve covered each letter. Try to be as smooth and orderly as you can to get an even finish. Use hot glue to secure the ends. I used hot glue to secure any areas that were shifting around my serif font edges.

– try using variegated yarn or multiple colors of yarn either wrapped together of in layers to create a unique look
– Embellish your letters with felt flowers, buttons, or ribbon to personalize your project

Yarn Letter Finished

Completed yarn letters – easy and quick!

– Stephanie, Houston DIY

Tutorial: Simple Paper-backed Shelves

Happy Superbowl Sunday, everyone!

This week’s tutorial is a really simple project to quickly update a room while adding a bit of personality.  Lining the back of shelves or shelving units is a great way to spruce up a living room, guest room, or in my case, my craft room.  My project using inexpensive, assemble yourself shelves that you can buy at your local Target or Walmart.  This project could also be used on smaller, wall-hung shelving units, or anything with a backing already included

Supplies you’ll  need:

  • Shelves or shelving unit (easy to find in the closet organization section of your favorite Target or Walmart)
  • Craft or scrapbook paper in the designs you like
  • Paper glue; I used glue sticks meant for scrapbooking
  • Scissors, measuring tape


The shelves I chose to cover had a separate backing that slid into place and was nailed down during the final assembly step.  I treated the shelf backing before attaching it to the shelving unit.

To start, I selected the paper I wanted to use to cover the backing.   Make sure you have enough of the same design, or have a plan for arranging the paper if you are using pieces of differing prints.

Tutorial Simple Paper-lined Shelves

Supplies for the Simple Paper-lined Shelves

Next, I trimmed a piece of scrapbooking paper to fit the width of the backing, shown above as the white board folded in half lengthwise.  I started by measuring the middle of the backing in the longer direction.  Then, I started covering the backing by gluing the first piece in the middle of the backing, as shown below.

Tutorial Simple Paper-lined Shelves

The first piece of paper is glued to the middle of the backing

Then, I trimmed the two remaining pieces of scrapbooking paper to the correct width and length, allowing a small overlap with the center piece already affixed to the backing.  I then glued the top and bottom pieces of paper to the backing.  Finally, I let the glue dry and then attacked the backing to my shelves as instructed by the manufacturer.  My newly updated shelving unit is shown below.

Tutorial Simple Paper-Lined Shelves

Completed shelving unit

I covered three of the same shelving units in the same way with different papers to update my craft room.

Tutorial Simple Paper-Lined Shelves

Trio of newly updated shelves

This project is quick and easy, give it a try!