Sunday, July 1, 2012

4th of July Hand and Foot-Print Flag for Hanging

Today we went to Lowes to find a outdoor garden flag to hang outside my mother's house on the 4th. They had really small ones, but no larger flags. We were disappointed. So then I started thinking that I had seen some cute hang and foot-print flags on pinterest. There are some really great ideas online for this type of flag, and honestly a lot of other peoples actual hand and foot print stamping look better than mine. Most of the flags I saw though were flags to frame and hang on the wall. I wanted to make one that I could actually hang outside on the 4th, or possibly hang inside on a curtain rod mounted to the wall later. So here is what I came up with. Maybe I'll do it again next year and lay out may hand prints more like THIS. I started with some white fabric that I already had around the house. It is 100 percent cotton and probably not a good idea to actually use outside, but I'm only planning on using it outside on the 4th and then using it inside later. Maybe it will be fine. I bet that there are outdoor fabrics available that might be better. I've never looked for solid white outdoor fabric though. If you have ever bought fabric before then you know that it is folded in half on the bolt. This worked out nicely for me. I unfolded the fabric but used that center fold to differentiate between the two sides of my flag. I only decorated one half. I took a pencil and lightly sketched out what section would have the hands/stars and then where the stripes/feet would be.
The length of your fabric can vary depending on how long you want your flag to be. I just sort of eye-balled how long I wanted it, and then I added about 5 inches. You can cut your fabric there. I squeezed out red paint onto a disposable plate and then used a paint brush to paint the bottom of one foot of my willing children. I set this whole project up on our kitchen table because it is a huge work surface, but if you are really worried about getting acrylic paint everywhere then you may want to do this outside. I had their daddy there to help me steady them, while they were standing on our table with one foot in the air having it painted.
Then just stamp their foot down onto the flag in your guidelines. It works good if you ask them to stamp with their painted foot then step forward with their other foot one step before picking up the painted foot to get painted again. This way they will be lined up to stamp their next print.
Next repeat using your blue paint and a small critter of your choice with precious hands.
Again, I recommend checking out the flag on the blog link above and seeing how they positioned their hands. I think it is much cuter.
You can see from the picture above that you have one big piece of fabric, half decorated with a flag and half plain white. Next you will fold you fabric in half. Fold it so that wrong sides are on the outside and the picture is on the inside.
You are going to sew closed two sides. First sew the short side without stars/hand prints, or the bottom of the flag. Then sew closed the long side that is open. You know, not the folded side. You obviously will not have to sew that side. I used a 1/4" seem. You will end up with something that looks like a pillow case once you turn it right side out. At this point it would probably be a good idea to take your pillowcase and iron it, so that latter everything is even when you topstitch around the outside. I didn't do that, and my flag did not come out horribly wonky. If you want the perfect flag though then now is probably the time to bust out the iron. Of course I would recommend not ironing directly on the side with the acrylic paint. Also probably don't do it on a high temperature.
After you have turned it right side out pin back the raw edge of your open side about an inch towards the undecorated side of your flag. Stitch that in place.
Next top stitch around the other 3 sides of the the flag. I usually just stitch as close to the edge as I can, but roughly 1/8" from the edge.
Once you have finished stitching around the edges, direct your attention back to the top short side. Make another fold. This time fold the remaining 4 inches of white at the top of your flag to the back side of flag to create the loop that you will hang your flag from, and stitch it in place.
Here you can see the resulting casing.
Then you are finished. I'm thinking of taking a decorative curtain rod and mounting it somewhere in the house, and then rotating flags on the rod for various holidays, but I haven't gotten that particular project taken care of yet. Sorry for this boring picture of the flag, but since I don't have a decorative curtain rod yet, and I'm not at my mother's today to hang the flag up and take a picture, this will have to do until I get a better one.
Also it would be cool to decorate both sides. You could use puff paint, fabric paint, or more acrylic paint to write Happy 4th of July on the back or do another flag on the other side. Whatever floats your boat. I intend for only one side of the flag to be seen for the most part, so I wasn't too worried about it.

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