Next in Garden Flag-Making: Rit Dyes and Stencils

Next in Garden Flag-Making: Rit Dyes and Stencils

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I last wrote about finding a crafting coach for my garden flags and trying natural dyes from vegetables for my DYI flags. I confessed that next, I’d be trying artificial dyes (the ubiquitous Rit) because they’re easier, cheaper and much longer-lasting.

Best of all, Rit comes in nine colors that make 500 different ones! They even offer Pantone season combo’s for each season. I bought a few in my favorite colors.

I learned how to use them by watching Rit-dye videos – not on Rit’s own site (why not?) but the excellent ones by the Online Fabric Store.

After cutting and dyeing 67 flag-shaped pieces of muslin, I decorated them with stencils.

Above, two birch-tree-foliage stencils, a paper-plate palette and acrylic craft paints. I’ve stenciled before using a foam roller but couldn’t find mine, so switched to a regular paint brush and it worked fine. These things are pretty foolproof.

I also already owned a few bird stencils, but I bought the fern stencils above, in two sizes, for this project – what I’m calling prayerless garden flags.

Now for the big reveal – flags-to-be in my favorite colors, with birds, leaves, and even some birch-tree catkins.

Or even better, a gratuitous extra photo with the very handsome Harry.

Next, my crafting coach showed me how she would sew the flags (with one fold-over, no hems) and I managed to get my 1950s-era Singer working long enough to do the job. After it’s warmed up a bit I’ll have them hung in my front garden where they’ll block my view of a parking lot.

Meanwhile indoors, I’ll next try some totally different techniques to create prayer flags for the back garden. Post to follow.

Does stenciling plants indoors count as a garden project?

In late January, you bet it does! So I’m showing you two stenciling projects from four years ago when I first moved into this house.

On the left, Japanese maple stencil over my bed. (Stencils won’t fall on me while I’m sleeping and kill me – an important quality in bedroom decorating.) This one mixes nicely with shadows from a real Japanese maple outside my  bedroom window.

On the right is the aforementioned birch-tree stencil, which came with an assortment of birds, leaves and catkins and now decorates one wall in my living room.

I thank a now-forgotten gardener who stenciled a whole wall with the birch tree from Cutting Edge Stencils and posted a photo on Facebook for this idea. I have no freehand painting skills but found stencils to be unbelievably easy, requiring absolutely no talent and very little care.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on January 29, 2016 at 8:00 am, in the category Designs, Tricks, and Schemes.

    • Lori
    • 10th November 2016

    I love this idea, and it looks like the flags turned out beautifully. I can’t wait to see how they look in your garden!

    • admin
    • 11th November 2016

    really beautiful, Susan. First you dyed, then stencil? then sew? when you say no hems, does that mean the flags will have ragged edges? (I like that idea myself, and out in the yard they will get ragged anyway.)

    • Evelyn Hadden
    • 14th November 2016

    Love the colors, and the stencils, Susan! I really enjoy working with muslin; it has a soft texture and a nicely crumpled feel to it. When you get them hung, please post a photo. I hope the colors last for awhile — on the other hand, maybe you’ve found a new annual tradition.

    • admin
    • 14th November 2016

    Well, my next batch will be using permanent dyes (Procion) so I’ll fall back on that if this first batch fades quickly. But yes, a winter ritual?

    • Pat Evans
    • 15th November 2016

    Don’t knock the 1950’s Singer. People pay good money for those vintage sewing machines. There’s quite a market for them now. Can’t wait to see those flags flying.

    • admin
    • 15th November 2016

    Now you’ve inspired me to do some research and maybe post photos to help ID the year exactly. My parents bought it for me used in 1964, I believe. THe case in particular looks antique.

    • admin
    • 15th November 2016

    Found it! IT’s from 1954, but not vintage enough to be worth much. Ebay has them from about $100-350.

    • KathyG
    • 15th November 2016

    Oh wow. I take a break from blog-reading and almost miss garden flags by Susan! Screech! Skiddddddd. All stop! I want to do this. Must read first post. Need photos on completion!

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