Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tutorial: Mexican Tissue Paper Flags

Admittedly, these flags have been folded and stored away for some time. I made them in the mid-1990s and brought them out for birthdays and other festive occasions.

Since this month's pattern bundle included a pattern for embroidered Mexican flags, it's the perfect time to post a tutorial for traditional paper flags. (You can buy that pattern bundle in my Craftsy shop or in my Etsy shop.)

This butterfly pattern was my children's favorite. The link for the pattern download is in the materials list.

Materials needed:
butterfly flag template
tissue or other specialty paper
small scissors with sharp blades or an Exacto knife
hole punch (optional)
a few paper clips
string or yarn
glue stick

How to make the flags:
Print the butterfly pattern template. Enlarge or reduce as needed to fit your tissue or colored paper.

Stack the paper; you can cut several sheets at a time.

Line up the right side of the template (the center of the butterfly) with the folded edge of the paper. Attach the pattern to the stack of tissue paper with paper clips.

Cut the pattern, in this case removing all the areas in black.

If you are using an Exacto knife, you'll want to lay the stack down on a thick piece of cardboard or cork or other cutting surface. With scissors, you can hold the work in your hands.

The hole punch is for making the border holes shown in the butterfly template photo but this is optional.

Remove the pattern and unfold the paper. Separate the sheets of cut paper.

You can iron the paper very carefully between two sheets of thicker paper, such as drawing paper, but this is only if it has become very crinkled.

Fold the tops of the cut paper flags over a line of string or yarn and glue in place.

It isn't difficult to create your own designs. You can draw a bird in flight or a skull and cut out a few elements within. Make sure to leave some grid lines or "rays" that connect the central design with the four sides of the flag.

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