DIY BUNTING CAKE TOPPER

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.

Bunting Cake Topper DIY Tutorial No Sew Bunting Tutorial

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!

Bunting Cake Topper TutorialCake Bunting Topper - DIY Bunting Cake Topper TutorialBunting Cake Topper DIY Tutorial New Sew Cake Topper Bunting

You will need: 

  • Small scraps of fabric
  • Sewing Machine (not needed for no-sew version)
  • Thread
  • Scissors / Rotary Cutter
  • Hot Glue Gun + Hot Glue
  • Bamboo Skewers

Cake Topper - You Will Need - DIY Tutorial

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.

DIY Cake Topper Bunting Tutorial Pennant Cake Topper DIY

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.

DIY Bunting Cake Topper Step 1

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.

DIY Bunting Cake Topper Step 2

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.

DIY Bunting Cake Topper Step 4

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)

DIY Bunting Cake Topper Step 5DIY Bunting Cake Topper Step 6

No-Sew Instructions

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Final Steps

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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.

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Wrap your loose end up around the end of the skewer and trim the excess thread, repeat with the other side of the bunting.

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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!

EASY EMBROIDERED DENIM SHIRT + 5 BEGINNER STITCHES

Hand Embroidered Denim Shirt My Actual BrandLazy Daisy Easy Embroidery My Actual BrandEmbroidery Closeup Beginner Stitches My Actual Brand

I recently fell in love with hand embroidery. It started over Thanksgiving break with a little hoop and a hand drawn mandala (inspired by a class my friend took at a local gallery + DIY shop called Make Room). One night when I was over at her house I saw her working on this beautiful stitched design and it just looked so fun and soothing- I knew I had some floss, needles, and a hoop or two laying around so I decided to start experimenting.

I stitched away at my own mandala design while waiting for flights, sitting on the plane, and relaxing in New Mexico with family over the holiday. I love how mobile this craft is – you can throw your floss, needles, small scissors, and hoop in a ziploc bag/in your purse and bring it anywhere. There’s something so relaxing about focusing on small little stitches and seeing your design come to life!

I was recently given a plain denim shirt and decided it would be the perfect piece to spruce up with some hand embroidery. I hopped on Pinterest for some inspiration and decided to freehand a floral design on the shoulder of the shirt. It was the perfect project to work on while watching Netflix – I even brought it on a weekend trip to a yurt we rented with some friends!

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In order to help inspire you to start experimenting with embroidery I put together a quick little tutorial of some basic stitches. It is amazing what you can accomplish with just a few stitches at your disposal. I’m by no means an expert so I definitely suggest checking out your local library for more in-depth information on embroidery but hopefully this is enough to get you started!

You’ll Need:

  • Embroidery Floss
  • Embroidery Hoop (smaller sizes work great for beginners)
  • Embroidery Needles (bigger eyes make these needles easier to thread with thick floss)
  • Scissors
  • Something to embroider! (start with fabric scraps or jump right into a shirt!)

I usually score most of my craft supplies at thrift stores – hoops are pretty easy to come by secondhand but floss and needles can be harder to find. Keep your eyes peeled while you’re out thrifting and you’ll be shocked at the deals you can score!

Embroidery Tutorial Easy My Actual BrandEmbroidery Hoop Beginner Tutorial My Actual Brand

Back Stitch

The back stitch is the most simple embroidery technique. It’s great for creating bold lines.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A), then choose a spot 1/4″ to the left of your thread (B) and pierce down through the fabric (don’t pull through yet!). Carry your needle 1/4″ under the fabric (on the back) and pierce back through the fabric (C).  Now you can pull your thread all the way through.

Back Stitch Step 1 Basic Embroidery Stitches My Actual Brand

You’ve just created one straight (cute) little line! Now poke your needle in right next to the left end of the little dash you just created (A). Carry your needle behind the fabric and pierce it back out 1/4″ from where your thread is coming out (B). Pull through + repeat for a running back stitch!

Back Stitch Step 2 My Actual Brand Simple Embroidery copy

Back Stitch Finished My Actual Brand Simple Embroidery For Beginners

Stem Stitch

I used the stem stitch for the vines/stems of the flowers on my embroidered shirt. I love how this stitch looks like a little twisted rope.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Choose a spot to the right (B) and pierce down into the fabric. From the back, pierce your needle up through the fabric at the halfway mark (C) of the stitch you just created and pull your thread through.

 

Stemp Stitch Step 1 Beginners Embroidery My Actual Brand copy

Select a spot to the right of the dash you made (A) and pierce through the front of the fabric. Repeat the previous step by piercing through the back of the fabric at the center of the dash you made.

Stemp Stitch Step 2 Easy Embroidery Stitches copy

Repeat this method over and over, creating little dashes that begin in the center of the previous dash over and over again for a rope like stitch.Stem Stitch Final Beginner Embroidery Tutorial

Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is the easiest way to fill in big spaces of embroidery. I used this stitch for the flower petals and leaves on my hand embroidered shirt.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Because this is usually a stitch used to fill in spaces, most of the time you will be following a shape – you can satin stitch as big or as small of an area as you’d like. I chose a spot about 1/2″ from point A and pierced down into the fabric (B) then carried the needle behind the fabric and poked it back out at point C.

Satin Stitch Step 1 Easy Embroidery Tutorial copy

Next, move just about the dash/line you just made and pierce your needle down into the fabric (A), carry the needle behind and back out through the fabric again (B). You will continue in this way until the space you are working on is filled in… think of the satin stitch as a bunch of lines/dashes stacked tightly together to fill a space.

Satin Stitch Step 2 My Actual Brand DIY tutorial copy

Satin Stitch Step 3 Embroidery For Beginners

Split Stitch

The split stitch is a favorite of mine. I like breaking through the little dashes and the finished stitch sort of looks like a little braid. I outlined my roses in the split stitch.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Poke your needle through the fabric from the front at point B and pull through to make a little dash.

Split Stitch Step 1 Beginner Embroidery copy

You’re now going to split this stitch by piercing the needle (from the back) right through the center of the stitch (A) and pulling the thread through.

Split Stitch Step 2 How to do Split Stitch Embroidery copy

Now pierce back down into the material and repeat over and over again for an adorable little split stitch!

Split Stitch Step 3 Embroidery Basics My Actual BrandSplit Stitch Final My Actual Brand DIY tutorials

French Knot

This is a tricky little stitch but it is so much fun. I did my best w/ pictures + descriptions but this might be a stitch best left for video (you really need both hands to show how it works!) and practice! I used the french knot in the center of my little daisies.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

For the french knot you want to keep your thread in front of your needle. You are going to be wrapping the thread around the needle a few times and you want the thread to be in front 🙂

French Knot Step 1 Embroidery Tutorial copy

Now take your thread and wrap it around the needle, near the tip of the needle (not the side that is threaded). I usually wrap two or three times. You want to keep a decent amount of tension,  holding your needle with one hand and wrapping the thread with the other.

French Knot Step 2 My Actual Brand copy

French Knot Step 3 Easy Embroidery

After you have your needle wrapped, choose a spot near where you first pierced through the fabric and poke your needle back down right next to that (A).

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Slowly pull your needle through. I will usually keep a light hold on the little bundle of thread that I created by wrapping as I pull so that it doesn’t unravel. The next few photos show what it looks like as you pull your thread through.

French Knot Step 5 Embroidery TutorialFrench Knot Step Six Embroidery How ToFrench Knot Final Embroidery Tutorial Easy Beginners

You did it! I definitely suggest lots of practice with these stitches. There are a million videos, books, and blogs dedicated to embroidery but I had fun putting together this little tutorial for you!

My biggest advice would be to avoid perfection! Part of what makes hand embroidery so beautiful is that it is often imperfect. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.

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