© 2012 photobookgirl Bunting Flag Tutorial

DIY Custom Photo Bunting Flags Tutorial – Photo Book Baby’s Birthday Party Decor Part 2



This is Part 2 of my post on the photo related party decor I made for Photo Book Baby’s first birthday party.

When I got to planning Photo Book Baby’s first birthday, I looked online for inspiration.  Everywhere I looked, I saw these cute bunting flags or pennant garlands, many of them on Pinterest – a site full of DIY and party ideas.

Most I saw were made of fabric while some were made with paper.  I don’t really sew except for mending things, and even then it takes me forever to get to doing it, so paper was the way to go for me.  I also wanted to bring in a photo aspect to the project and use photos of my little guy to show his progression over the past year.

After viewing the tutorial below, you can easily adapt the materials to your own needs or tastes or use something other than twine to connect the flags (like glueing ribbon or pom pom trim instead of punching holes).  Customization options are endless, but I wanted to share the exact measurements with you because by happenstance I was able to get four identically sized flags (8.5″ long x 6.5″ wide) from a single sheet of 12 x 12 scrapbook cardstock paper.  I know it’s so geeky, but I was excited cause I hate to waste stuff!

So, to make roughly 20 feet of bunting, you’ll need 37 flags.  That means you’ll only need 10 sheets of paper (less any custom photo flags you may choose to make). This is my first time doing a tutorial like this so bear with me. Read each set of six panes from left to right.

DIY Custom Photo Bunting Flags2


As mentioned in my last post, the theme of the party was “storybooks” since Photo Book Baby loves books (my little bookworm!), so I decided to go to my local thrift store to find old children’s books and I created some of the flags out of pages featuring the illustrations.  I’ve know that some folks think it’s sacrilege to take apart old books, but in my view I’m repurposing them.  I think the buzzword now is “upcycling”.  They were not first edition books or anything special, just mass produced books that weren’t getting any love, sitting in a musty, dusty pile.

For the ultimate customization and the main point why I wanted to do a bunting was to think of a creative way to display photos.  I picked one picture of my little guy from each month 1 through 12.  (I can’t tell you how hard it was to pick a single favorite from each month!) I created a template in Photoshop and was able to lay out 4 pennants on an 11″ x 17″ sized paper.

custom photo pennants

It’s important to leave about a 1/4 inch all around for a margin as the average color printer can’t normally print to the edge.  I saved them as jpegs to a flash drive and printed mine at Kinkos.  The color printouts cost less than $2.00 each if I recall correctly.  You could also easily print them on an inkjet at home if you like.  If you’re wondering what those round photos are for – again to maximize the leftover space – I used it to print game pieces for the party. Waste not want not!

I interspersed these custom photo flags with the ones I cut out of the books and the cardstock.

Some tips:

1) Look for a 40% off coupon for Michael’s, JoAnn’s or your local craft store to save a lot of money on scrapbook paper. You can buy individual sheets if you don’t want to have extras or a book of 40 to 50 pages for under $10.00 if you wait for a sale.  There are so many colors and patterns you can easily match your party colors or theme, or even find a theme;

2) I wanted my bunting flags to be viewable from both sides. So, double-sided cardstock paper is essential. Not all of them are double-sided so you have to double-check, or you can also cut out extra flags to mount back-to-back.

3) If you decide to use photos like mine, you’ll need to mount them onto the cardstock paper if you want to have it viewed from both sides. Plus it adds to the sturdiness of the pennant;

4) I made two 20-foot garlands, just double the materials;

5) The 3M Command hooks were recommended by the venue for hanging decorations and they stayed up with no problems at all. Plus they can be removed without damaging the walls;

6) Leave about an additional foot of twine on each side for hanging purposes (so 22 feet). You can always trim the ends later if you want. I got the roll pictured in the knitting section for less than $3.00;

7) Once I cut the first sheet of flags, I just traced the first two flags and then extended the lines with a ruler as I showed in the tutorial. No need to remeasure if you’ve made yourself a template;

8 ) If you have a paper cutter (and enlist a friend or in my case my hubby), you can cut the flags pretty quickly;

9) In terms of construction, the most time was spent on arranging and threading the twine through (about 30 mins. for each bunting) – it’s better if you have the flags arranged in the order you want. You’ll get better at it as you go along, plus there will be less twine to thread through as you progress;

10) I estimate I spent about $8.00 per garland. I think I got a lot of value for the money! Plus I plan to hang them in Photo Book Baby’s nursery – I’m sure we’ll both love looking at all of the colors and photos together!

So, there’s my best tips for making a photo bunting!

Please feel free to comment and share ideas of how you celebrated your baby’s first birthday. I’d love to hear about it!

Happy bunting-making…

(Photo credit for party photos: Moonhouse Productions)




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  1. Tayler Walton
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm | #

    Cute idea! You have an adorable family. I get my pennants from colorfastflags.com, but I should try a DIY project of my own.

  2. jerry sawyer
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 6:25 am | #

    I trully love your page! I’ve been browsing site on banners and flaglets in preparation for my daughter’s birthday. Your page caught my attention since you really provide tutorial for bunting making. I love everything here. It’s quite impressive to me.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:23 am | #

      Thanks Jerry! I’m so glad you like it. The tutorial with all the photos and steps took me longer to do than the actual project itself! 🙂 Enjoy!

  3. Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:04 am | #

    Oh my! This is so beautiful! I love the banner so much! I think I’m gonna try making this for my daughter’s birthday next month. Thank you so much for sharing your creative ideas!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm | #

      Glad you like it – I loved doing it and all the guests loved it too!

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