I recently decided to make some custom prayer flags. I thought they would be an answer to carrying a photo album that weighed next to nothing. For mine I layered images over each other using photoshop so that I could compress many memories into only a few images.
- Create, collect, compile, draw, scan…whatever you need to do to make your images. Compile your images into a document that you can print using your printer.
- Buy some iron-on (t-shirt transfer) paper. This is what you will print onto. Follow the instructions on the package, and don’t forget to reverse your image (in printing options) so that when you iron it onto your fabric, it doesn’t display backwards. This is especially important if you included text in your images.
- Pre-wash and pre-shrink your 100% cotton fabric. Use 100% cotton because synthetic materials (often blended in with cotton in common fabrics) burn when they are treated with heat. You might get lucky and come across an old bed sheet that is 100% cotton, or cut up an old blouse or dress shirt. You will need to iron on your transfers using an iron at its hottest setting for a length of time that might burn synthetic blends.
- Iron on your images and let cool before removing transfer paper film.
- Lay some string (anything will do, yarn, hemp, ribbon, etc…) along the tops of your flags and run it through a sewing machine. I used a zig-zag stitch to trap the string and fasten it to the flags. You may also sew it by hand.
- You’re done! You have created an unconventional photo album that will most likely be a conversation piece wherever it gets strung up.
I made a second string for my boyfriend, trading a few of my images for ones tailored to his experiences. He is, after all, in many of the photos and has been with me for my recent adventures. He is going to university across the country, 5000 km away from home, so I figured he might also appreciate the sentiment. His are now hanging above his bed, and make his small room look rather festive.
Some more ideas
- Adventures/vacations with friends
- Celebrate a life/commemorate a death
- Collections of poems/inspirational phrases
The possibilities are endless. Basically, you can put anything on these flags, hang them up and it will look like a celebration!