By General Crafts Contributor Michelle.
“Let freedom ring” for this Independence Day, and all summer long with this stars and stripes wall hanging inspired by “Old Glory” herself. This shabby flag is a good project to use up all those fabric scraps, short lengths of trim, lace, and other bits and bobs you may have in your crafting stash.
My finished wall hanging is 12″x16″, and is hanging on a 20″ long stick. You could size this project up or down, as desired, just keep in mind that to keep similar proportions to a real American flag, your red and white “stripes” of lace and trim need to hang down approximately twice as long as your blue rectangle. You can always reference a real American flag if you want to make sure your proportions are correct, I just kind of eyeballed mine.
Here’s what I used to make my wall hanging:
- A stick, about 20″ long. Mine came from my yard, or you could use a dowel.
- A piece of blue fabric about 9″x6″, I used a piece of denim.
- Lengths of red, white and natural colored trim, lace, pom-pom ribbon, and 1″ strips of fabric that are about 16″ in length. Variation is good though, so don’t worry if some are a bit longer or shorter, just make sure most are about 16″ long.
- Small white crocheted doilies, white lace rosettes, white fabric flowers, buttons, etc., for the “stars” to go on the blue background.
- Gold embroidery floss.
- Buttons for embellishment. (Brass buttons, white buttons, star buttons.)
- Natural jute, for hanging.
- Hot glue gun, and glue sticks.
- Tea bags for tea staining (optional).
The first thing you’re going to want to do is cut down your lengths of ribbon and trim to make sure they’re all about 16″ in length. Sort them into piles of red and white, for ease of assembly.
The next step of tea staining is purely optional, I chose to do so, because I wanted mine to look “antiqued.”
I chose to tea stain some of my laces and trims to “age” the whites, and tone down some of the really bright reds. I left some of the lace pure white though, because I liked the contrast of the tea stained lace with the white. What you choose to tea stain, and how dark you stain it is just a matter of your own taste. I used about 8 oz. of boiling water with two black tea bags in it. I let my lace soak about a minute, and then I rinsed it, and laid it on paper towels to dry. If you want it darker, soak it longer. Every lace will dye differently, so there’s no set method for dyeing it.
Turn your blue piece of fabric so the side that you want to be the front is facing down against the table top. Run a bead of hot glue along one of the short sides, and (starting about 4″away from the right-hand side of the stick) place the stick onto the glue, and glue the top 1″ of the blue rectangle onto the stick, wrapping it slightly around to secure it.
Now you’re ready to begin gluing on your stripes.
We’re going to build this wall-hanging from the back, and in layers. So what you glue on first will show up on the very front of the piece, and the subsequent layers will show up less. So use those favorite pieces of trim and lace in the front layer. For the first layer: Begin gluing on your stripes, starting with red, on the right side, on-top of the blue rectangle. (See above photo.) Work right to left, gluing on your stripes, alternating red and white, until you have reached the desired width of your “flag.” I used enough pieces of trim to make each of my “stripes” about 1.5″ wide, and my finished”flag” is about 12″ wide. For the second and following layers: Glue on the next layer of trim, keeping the same red and white pattern that you started with. Periodically turn over the piece, and hold it up, so you can if you need to add any “stripes” to fill in holes, or areas that just look thin. Keep building up the layers until you are happy with how it looks.
Turn the piece over, and trim the “stripes” so they are pretty much even. Don’t be too picky, a little variation in length is good, as it gives the piece character. I trimmed mine to about 16″ in length.
Now you’re ready to decorate your blue rectangle with “stars.” I used white buttons and a small lace doily I had in my scrap bag. This is where you can have a lot of fun being creative. What kinds of things could you use to suggest stars? Doilies, fabric flowers, star buttons, you could even stencil them on with paint. The options are endless.
I finished my wall-hanging off with a couple of brass buttons and a gold tassel. To make a tassel, cut a piece of cardboard a couple of inches in width, and however long you want your tassel to be. Wrap the embroidery floss around the length of the cardboard, and then follow the photo directions below to complete your tassel. Use your new tassel to embellish your “Old Glory” inspired wall hanging, and then tie a piece of natural jute onto each end of the stick as a hanger.