Flag Banners canvas pennants alphabet nautical canvas corp home decor

Nautical Alphabet – Initial Flag Banners

Hello, my crafty friends! Carolyn Hasenfratz here! My upcoming wedding reception is being held at a lake where lots of different kinds of boating take place. Inspired by Canvas Corp Brands nautical themed paper and canvas products, I decided to use a nautical theme for the wedding reception decor. I was inspired by the coral, white and navy shades in the Canvas Corp papers and I added my favorite color lime green to the color scheme which sets off the coral, white and navy colors very nicely. Here are some canvas banners I prepared for us.
One of the decor pieces I’ve made are canvas flags with the initials of my fiance and I rendered in nautical flag symbols. I used blank canvas flags from Canvas Corp which I dyed to the background color of my choice, lime green. Then I used applique techniques to hand sew fabric and felt pieces of coral, navy and white, some solid and some prints, to make the nautical versions of our initial letters.

Materials used to make the flag banners:
Canvas Corp blank canvas flags – Canvas Banner – Shield – 11″x15″

Procion MX dye (Turquoise and Yellow)
Soda Ash Dye Fixer (used in dyeing process)
Salt (used in dyeing process)
Assorted felt and fabric pieces
Paper and Fabric scissors
Pins, Ruler, Pencil
Embroidery thread, Embroidery needle, Rope
Computer and printer

Prepare a dye bath for the blank canvas flags according to the directions for the dye you are using. In my example I used Procion MX dye by Jacquard Products. Here are links to the resources I used for dye directions and dye color mixing recipes – https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/craft-ideas/fabric-dyeing/. The color I wanted for the flags, lime green, was not ready-mixed so I followed a recipe and put the dye powders in a glass jar to mix up the colors. I wore a dust mask to avoid breathing dye particles and disposable gloves so I wouldn’t stain my hands with dye while measuring and handling the powders. Follow the dye brand instructions for rinsing and treating your fabric after it’s reached the color that you want in the dye bath, let dry and iron so the flags are nice and flat. The canvas takes dye really well and the resulting color is exactly what I wanted!

My next step was to make paper patterns for the designs I wanted on the flags. I measured the flags (it’s best to measure them AFTER dyeing because they will shrink some) and used computer graphics software to draw and print a paper template for each color block. I cut out the paper shapes and placed them on the flags to double check that they were the right size and shape to make the designs I wanted. Then I laid the paper templates on the back sides of the fabric and drew around them with pencil. I used a ruler and the pencil to draw a 1/2 inch seam allowance around each shape, then I cut the fabric pieces out. I folded the seams toward the back side and pinned the fabric pieces in place with the “good” side facing up on the flags. I used a variety of fabric types from my stash, some felt and some woven that need a folded seam so they won’t unravel. To keep the look consistent I gave the felt pieces seams as well though felt does not need a folded over seam to prevent unraveling since it has a different structure. See my “reception decor” Pinterest board for links to nautical flag symbols and samples of the Canvas Corp papers that inspired me: https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/wedding/reception-decor/

Here are my initials “CMH” rendered in nautical symbols, pinned and ready to sew. I refined the edges of the blocks on the “C” flag more before sewing them down permanently, but I was not trying to be too “perfect” because I wanted a casual homemade look.

Here are my fiance Tom’s initials. In this picture I have started sewing the fabric pieces to the canvas backing on the “T” flag. I chose to use embroidery weight thread in contrasting colors so that the stitches would show and be part of the design. If you do not want the stitches to be prominent in your design, you can use thinner thread and match the color to the design. I used a simple running stitch all the way around each fabric shape.

Here is a close up picture so you can see the stitches better.

Next cut a piece of rope of your choice that is long enough to go through all the channels at the top of the flags plus extra for tying to something for display. I used clothesline rope, I thought it was the right thickness and color to complement my flags. How much rope you need will depend on how and where you want to display it. Take a piece of scrap wire that is longer than the flags are wide, and secure one end of the wire to one end of your rope by wrapping it around a time or two and squeezing the wire loop together. Use the other end of the wire to draw the rope through the channels at the top of the flags, then disconnect the wire.

You are done!

I wanted my flags to be able to be tied, moved and retied more than one time so I didn’t do anything fancy with the rope ends. You could tie knots, make loops, add macrame beads or do other things to the ends of your rope if you choose.

Have an amazing crafty day!!!

Carolyn Hasenfratz
blog and Instagram


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.