Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tiny Tibetan Prayer Flags


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I often hang a strand of Tibetan Prayer flags on my back porch. They are made of untreated cotton, block-printed with prayers and images.They weather in the sun and wind so they start out as vivid primary-colored flags and wind up shredded and faded. Here is what they look like, taken at the Field Museum Tibetan exhibit in Chicago yesterday. There are also a bunch of gorgeous shots of them in action on Google Images, cascading down mountaintops and off temples.

 I have always believed that the flags are supposed to be directing good vibes to my home: peace, kindness, strength, and wisdom. Or are they acting to protect my family? There are many interpretations of these Buddhist talismans.The five colors represent the five elements (water, air, fire, earth and wind.) They can be displayed vertically (Darchor) or horizontally. (Lung ta) I urge you to read further on the topic if you want to create your own mini flags, perhaps at The Peace Flag Project.

But I am digressing. If you want to know how to make your own flags please read on.

First you need to download the flag template. It is located at Google Docs. Print it out on fabric transfer paper. You can find this at office supply stores. You print onto the transfer paper then wait a 1/2 hour (yes, you do need to do this. I speak from experience.) You then iron it onto thin cotton. Your second choice is to use the imminently more excellent printable cotton and fabric that you can buy at Dharma Trading Company and possibly other places. I used the fabric transfer paper and it worked well but was pretty stiff. I wish that I had exercised some patience and ordered the softer, printable fabric. Maybe next time!

After you have ironed on the flags you are ready to cut them out.

Now you can glue them onto thread or embroidery floss or onto a toothpick if you want the vertical kind.

I built a simple triangular stand out of balsa wood.  My balsa wood stands were so light I wound up having to glue some sea glass onto them so they could stand up. You can probably think of other stands. you could use twigs or simply tie your flags between two objects. If anyone comes up with a better stand please share it with me.

Now you are ready to display your flags. You can bring some tranquility and prosperity to your desk, situate some in various window sills around the house, make a really long strand and run it up a banister, and so on. Happy New Year!

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  1. What a wonderful idea! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  2. What a great idea!! It is easy to make. You can also use cotton fabric and make printing on cotton fabric whatever you want.