Cakes + Bunting = Pure Cuteness. Just watch a single episode of The Great British Baking Show (or binge watch an entire season in three days) and you’ll understand why these two make a perfect pair.
Something about the simplicity of bunting makes it a perfect cake topper – it’s festive, it’s fun, and it won’t interfere with your cake decorations (or lack thereof). I came up with this easy DIY design a few years ago to top a birthday cake and have made a ton of them in different color schemes for various celebrations. I even had a little DIY bunting on our wedding cake! They use very little fabric, sewing skills, or supplies and can be whipped up in a jiffy!
I always use my sewing machine to make my bunting but I know that not everyone has access to one so I adjusted the design to offer a no-sew version as well, enjoy!
You will need:
- Small scraps of fabric
- Sewing Machine (not needed for no-sew version)
- Scissors / Rotary Cutter
- Hot Glue Gun + Hot Glue
- Bamboo Skewers
This DIY is perfect for using up little scraps of fabric leftover from other projects. I have enough fabric scraps to last a lifetime from running my bow tie business so I used some scraps of button down shirt material for my bunting. Any cotton fabric will do the trick! I like to make each pennant out of a different fabric but you can make them to match!
Start by cutting out your triangles for your pennants. I like to stack my fabrics up and cut a strip of fabric as wide as I’d like the pennants to be tall. Most of the time that’s about 2″ but you can make your flags smaller or larger if you wish.
I use a rotary cutter to make angled cuts in my 2″ strip of fabric until I have a few nicely shaped triangles. You realistically only need to cut four triangles to make one bunting but I usually cut up a bunch and then pick my favorites.
Once you have your triangles cut out arrange them in the order you’d like. Hop onto your sewing machine and pull out a tail of thread about 8″ long – this will be the thread that you attach to one side of your bamboo skewer.
Line the top edge of your first pennant up with the edge of your presser foot and make sure that the far corner goes a little past the opening on the needle plate (the little opening that your bobbin thread comes out of).
Hold on to the 8″ tail of the thread in the back and pull as you sew your first pennant to keep that tiny little corner from getting caught and sucked into the needle plate. It’s always a good idea to put your needle down into your fabric before you start running your machine. Getting the stitch started can sometimes be a pain so it might take one or two tries of lining up your fabric to see what alignment works best.
Sew a straight stitch across the top of your first triangle and line up the second triangle to meet up with the edge of your first, leaving up to 1/4″ of space between the triangles if desired or letting the corners touch. Continue to sew your triangles along the top edge until you have sewn together the desired number of pennants for your bunting. I usually go with four or five.
At the end of your very last triangle, lift your presser foot (making sure your needle is no longer down in the fabric) and pull another tail of thread about 8″ long. Trim your thread to remove from the machine + go heat up your hot glue gun! (Oh, and scroll past the no-sew instructions to get to the final steps)
If you are opting for the no-sew version of the bunting you will need a just a little more fabric than the sewn version. The reason? You’re going to be sandwiching a thread between two matching triangles instead of sewing along the top edge of one.
To start, heat up your glue gun and cut out 4 pairs of matching triangles. The easiest way to do this is to double two layers of fabric, that way, when you cut into the material you are cutting two of the same shape!
Cut a piece of thread about 15″ long (I’m the genius who used white thread on a white background for this tutorial… oops) and prepare to get sticky.
Using your glue gun, apply a nice thin line of glue along the top side of your first triangle and gently press your thread down into it. If your glue gun has a high + low setting, use the low setting so that you don’t burn off your fingerprints. If your glue gun only has one setting… be gentle. You can let the glue cool for about 5 seconds after applying and then press down.
Repeat along the top of each triangle. Once the triangles are all strung together, attach the matching triangle with a few dots of hot glue in each corner of each triangle.
The trick with hot glue is to not over apply it! Too much hot glue makes for a stiff, stringy mess. You can use just about any other no-sew approach you might prefer (fabric glue or stitch witchery are also great options).
Trim up the raw edges (and bastard little strings of hot glue) off your triangles and prepare the attach to the skewers!
Trim your bamboo skewers down by 4.5″ or 5″. Now that your hot glue gun is ready to rock and roll, apply a small amount to the flat/cut end of one of the skewers and be prepared to quickly wrap one of the tail ends of thread while the glue is still hot.
Wrap your loose end up around the end of the skewer and trim the excess thread, repeat with the other side of the bunting.
Guess what? You did it! It was pretty easy, right?
Have fun playing around with your fabric scraps and designing different toppers for different occasions. Here are some of my favorite ideas for color + fabric combos:
- Baby Shower: Use mixed pastels or blue/pink/yellow for a specific gender.
- Wedding: Use your wedding colors or fabric that is special to you.
- Fourth of July: Red, White, and Blue, duh.
- Monochrome: Go for a minimal look with all solid colors. White or gold are great!
- Lace: Although sewing with lace is a pain in the rear, lace bunting is adorable.
- Different shapes: Try little square pennants or scallops.
And as always, if you’ve got any questions, comment below!