Celebrate summer: All about bunting

Bunting, strings of brightly coloured flags, are a common sight in summer. The word ‘bunting’ originally meant a type of lightweight, loosely woven fabric, that had a high glaze achieved by hot pressing. It was hard wearing and held its colour well without fading, so was the choice of the Royal Navy for signal flags in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nowadays it refers to any string of small flags, irrespective of what they’re made from.

Bunting brightens up any event, from garden parties to birthdays, and comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few easy DIY options.

1. Square bunting

Although bunting normally consists of triangular flags, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be any shape you like. Square flags are easy to cut out and keep straight, and make an ideal craft project for children.

All you need is a long string, tape, ribbon or strip of fabric, with a loop tied in each end.

Fold it in half and mark the middle, then cut out rectangles of craft paper, wrapping paper or fabric, wrap them over the string and glue, tape or sew into place. Position the first flag over the central point of the string, then attach the others at regular intervals.

2. Pom pom bunting

We’re not sure if these strings of brightly coloured woollen balls count as proper bunting, but they look very pretty and summery.

You’ll need some thin cardboard, a pair of scissors and lots of left over lengths of wool. Draw round the base of a mug on the cardboard, and cut out two circles. Fold the card in half, and cut another circle out of the middle to make two rings.

Put the rings together, and wind the wool over and over the outer ring and through the middle. Go round the ring twice, making sure all the card is thickly covered.

Cut round the wool on the outer edge of the ring, then take a short piece of wool, and pass it between the two cardboard rings, tying it round the central as tightly as you can. Pull off the cardboard, and fluff the pom pom up.

Make several more in different colours, varying the sizes if you wish, then sew or tie to a string or tape.

3. Plastic bunting

The best material for making these flags is good quality plastic shopping bags, which could be a good excuse for a shopping spree!

Just slit the bags along each edge, open them out and cut out triangle shapes or whatever you want. Glue them together over a tape, with the wrong sides of the bags outermost to hide any printing.

This bunting is fairly weather resistant, so if you use waterproof glue it should last you most of the summer.

If you’d rather buy than DIY, here’s our pick of ready-made bunting.

1. Paper chevron bunting, Hampton Blue

This paper and ribbon bunting is for indoor use only. 3.5m long, it’s great for summer parties or weddings. £7.50, available from Hampton Blue.

2. Fabric bunting, Candle and Cake

For a traditional English garden party look, this fabric bunting from Candle and Cake is made from vintage style material and at £13.99 for eight metres is great value for money.

3. Paper fan bunting, Peach Blossom

This unusual fan-shaped bunting is sure to make an impression at your next event, and can be folded down when not in use. Available in a choice of 15 colours, it costs £8 for three metres from Peach Blossom.

4. Union Jack bunting, One Brown Cow

This cotton Union Jack bunting consists of 15 pennants made of cream cotton with patchwork and printed Union flag to create a vintage look. Each flag can be moved along the four metre length of bunting tape. £22.95, available from One Brown Cow.

By Sara Walker

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