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Project: Prayer Flags


If you think you don’t have the time, the space, or the materials to do a creative project, try these simple instructions to make a strand of prayer flags for your garden. The first 2 steps take the most time…

Step 1. Decide to do it.

Step 2. Now.

Step 3. Gather possible materials. Don’t go to the store. Just look around. I quickly assemble enough materials for 1000 or more tiny prayer flags. My assortment includes thread, yarn, fiber, paper and beads, bits and pieces, and iced coffee.


Step 4. Set up a workspace. It doesn’t need to be grand. I’m using my trusty 2′ x 4′ cardboard folding table, set up outside, behind my house, where I can enjoy the summer sun.

Step 5. Clarify what you know about the project. For me, I know it’s a tiny string of prayer flags. I know I want it to be about 18″ long. I know I want to use materials I have on hand, bits which have a sense of history for me, and that means leftovers. I know I want it to be pretty, but not fancy.

Keeping these ideas in my mind, I search for something about 18″ long to use as a base. I choose an interesting piece of tightly twisted, painted paper I made some time ago. I will tie or attach the prayer flags to this.

As I start to make choices, I clear away the things I know I won’t use, making it easier for me to concentrate on my work.

As I work, I feel happy that I’ve chosen to work outside. As I work, I realize that what’s most important to me about this project is my involvement – the way I feel as I handle the materials. I find that what I most want to do is infuse these fabric scraps and tissue paper scraps with prayer.

I had thought I would make it more complicated, more show-y. I had thought I would write little prayers and poems. I had thought I would add beads. But, as I’m working on it, it feels better to pray the prayers – to pray the prayers into the bits of fabric and then tie them on. It’s the praying and the touching and the focus that matters.

finished parayer flag

In a little while, it’s done, and I’m happy.

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