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How to Make Upcycled Bunting

Updated on June 24, 2012

Make Something Pretty Out of Trash

There was a lot of bunting here in the UK during the Jubilee celebrations.

Seeing as I'd been playing with upcycling plastic I decided I'd make my own bunting, get rid of a few more plastic bags and brighten up my backyard at the same time.

Below I show you how simple it was.

Supply List

Be careful not to inhale any plastic fumes whilst ironing your bags. Work in a well ventilated area

Collect Your Plastic Bags

And Iron Them

Plastic Collage by MeltedRachel
Plastic Collage by MeltedRachel

To make the little "flags" for your bunting you will need to iron together several layers of plastic bag. You will then cut the "flags" out of these plastic "pages".

Making these plastic pages is really simple.

Layer several layers of plastic bag rectangles up on top of each other (I usually use around 6-8 layers).

Sandwich the layers between baking parchment.


You will need to experiment a little with how many layers of plastic bag you like, what temperature to set your iron at and how long to iron the bags.

Experiment with layering different colours of plastic and with cutting out shapes from other plastic bags and layering them on top.

Check out this Etsy video if you need more help.

Plastic Layers Decorated with Applied Plastic Bag Shapes

Plastic Collage by MeltedRachel
Plastic Collage by MeltedRachel

Make Your Template

And Cut Out your Plastic Bunting

Recycle Cardboard or Paper for Your Template

Making a template really isn't hard.

I grabbed some cardboard from a cereal box.

I estimated the size I wanted (which turned out to be 7" x 5 1/2" ) and cut a rectangle.

I found the middle of the bottom edge and drew diagonal lines down from the top corners to the bottom edge. This gave me my bunting "flag" shape.

All you need to do then is use your flag shape to mark all your flags out onto your plastic pages and cut out your little flags. Remember to keep all your marks on the back side of your plastic (or use a pen that will wipe off).

I made a smaller template by cutting the tip of the larger template - that way I could use up more plastic scraps.

Three Plastic Flags and One Template

Making Plastic Bag Bunting by MeltedRachel
Making Plastic Bag Bunting by MeltedRachel

String Your Bunting Together

Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel
Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel

Bringing it all Together

Next you need to string all off your flags together.

I used normal all purpose string but you could recycle an old washing line to make something that's going to last longer.

I tried to make holes in my flags with a hole punch but it didn't work that well. In the end I threaded my tapestry needle up with the string and looped the string through the top of the plastic flags.

This part can take a long time and is fairly boring I'm afraid.

You need to pull your string through each hole twice (twice on each corner of each flag) - this stops all the flags from moving and getting blown to one end of your string.

I worked with the back of each flag facing me. I brought the needle and string from the front through to the back on the left corner of the top of my flag, repeated this and then went through the back of the flag on the right corner and repeated. I did this with each flag.

You can see from my photos that I alternated between two sizes of flag but you can stick to one size if you wish.

Stringing Together the Bunting

Making Plastic Bag Bunting by MeltedRachel
Making Plastic Bag Bunting by MeltedRachel

Enjoy Your Bunting!

Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel
Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel

Hang your bunting up and enjoy!

I simply tied the ends of the string to hanging basket hooks that were situated on either side of my yard.

You could hang your bunting between two trees (the chic version of plastic bags trapped in branches!) or along a fence - anywhere where it's out of reach of small children and animals.

Remember to take your bunting down if there are high winds.

Plastic Bunting Hanging in my Yard

Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel
Plastic Bunting by MeltedRachel

Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback

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    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      6 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      This looks like a fun project and with all the bags out there... well, no shortage of colors or possible designs. Thanks for sharing this!


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