Tutorial + How-to

Published on October 28th, 2008 | by Julie Finn


DIY Denim: A Festive Recycled Bunting Tutorial

Author's photograph of a recycled denim buntingYou totally know that a bunting makes a party more festive, right? There’s nothing happier than those little triangular flags, gaily waving in the breeze.  But do you know what would make a happy little bunting even happier? If it was made from your skinny jeans. Live in the moment, my friends; love your body, and I’ll show you how to upcycle your old jeans into some party flags.

You will need: a pair of jeans; double-fold bias tape (or you can make your own!); cardboard; rotary cutter and mat; sewing machine and thread

Author's photograph of the pennant template on the jeans1. Your pennant flag template will be an isosceles triangle. You can make your flag template any size you want–my flag template is 8″ at the base and 11.5″ at each of the remaining two sides, and I think it’s a nice size for a flag. Figure out if you’re a big-flag or a small-flag person, and cut your template out of cardboard.

2. Cut your jeans in half from inner ankle to inner ankle, and lay it out on your cutting mat. Lay your template on the jeans and cut out as many pennant flags as you can. Don’t be afraid to include details such as portions of a pocket, or seams, or worn spots, or patches in your flags; they add character.

Author's photograph of sewing the bunting3. Using your sewing machine, sew up and down the two equal sides a couple of times–these are the sides that will be hanging. If you do need to wash your bunting, the denim will fray, but that will make it look even cooler and this stitching along the edges will keep it from fraying too much. Feel free to make your stitching a little messy–this also adds character, I assert!

4. Take your purchased or previously-made double-fold bias tape (you should totally make your own–it rules!) and sew it closed for about a foot, and then begin to slip the base of each flag into the crease of the tape and sew it in. Space each flag anywhere between 1″-2″ apart; as long as your spacing is even, it’ll look good.

5. After your last flag is sewn in, continue sewing the bias tape shut for about another foot–this will give you plenty of length on either side to tie it up.

6. Admire your awesomeness.

Later, I’ll show you an easy way to add appliques to your bunting–you can commemorate holidays, or just spell out dirty words. Whatever.

If you have more skinny jeans in your closet, check out these other DIYS: Upcycle Old Denim into a Market Tote; Upcycle Old Jeans into a Sexy Mini; Mei Tai from Old Jeans.

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

11 Responses to DIY Denim: A Festive Recycled Bunting Tutorial

  1. This is such a cute idea! I think this would be a great decoration to make for Strange Folk next year 🙂

  2. Leah says:

    Great project, I love upcycled jeans!

  3. Julie Finn says:

    My favorite part about upcycling jeans is that they’re so easy to get free–I usually have to purchase the vintage T-shirts, pillowcases, wool sweaters that I work with, but I have never had to pay for a single pair of old jeans.

    Perhaps we should start charging people to take their old jeans off of their hands?

  4. Pingback: DIY Denim: Give Your Recycled Bunting Some Personality : Crafting a Green World

  5. Pingback: DIY Denim: Give Your Recycled Bunting Some Personality | Eco Friendly Mag

  6. nancy says:

    old worn denim is a wonderful cloth to create everything from hip accessories to adorable, soft baby clothes or just to have some crafting fun. Check out my blog for lots of diy ideas: http://21centurydressmakers.blogspot.com

  7. Pingback: My Natural Furniture » Blog Archive » DIY Denim: A Festive Recycled Bunting Tutorial

  8. Pingback: My Natural Furniture » Blog Archive » Upcycle jeans into party decorations

  9. Pingback: Happy 4th of July! Five Festive and Eco-Friendly Independence Day Crafts : Crafting a Green World

  10. Pingback: Five Upcycled Autumn Buntings and Garlands

  11. Laurel says:

    Awesome! Thanks so much for the tute! I found a printable alphabet online and am making a bunting that says “God’s Blessings” will try to send a pic when it’s done 🙂

    Laurel in Wisconsin

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