How to Make Tibetan Prayer Flags

by Culture & Society Editor

Tibetan prayer flags, an ancient tradition in Tibetan culture, ensure good fortune and prosperity. There are 2 basic types of flags. The Dar-ding are several flags hung horizontally between 2 pillars or trees, with 5 different colors kept in sequence. The Darchen are narrow flags hung vertically on a pole. This design is for the Dar-ding.

Pick 5 flag designs from the Tibetan Pray Flag website. This site has prayer flag designs along with their Tibetan and English translations. It also has a breakdown of the colors the flags need to be printed on.

Print the flag designs on the 5 sheets of the dark T-shirt transfer paper. A different design goes on each sheet. You do not need to reverse the image when printing on this type of paper. Remember to practice on a plain sheet of paper first, to make sure the images line up.

Match the prayer flags with the appropriate color material. Iron the image onto the material. Follow the instructions that come with the printer paper.

Mark and cut the material 1 inch from the sides, 1 inch from the bottom and 2 inches across the top of the flag design.

Fold the fabric back 1/2 inch along the sides and bottom. Glue the folds to the fabric. Fold the fabric 1 inch over the top. Glue the edge of the fabric down, leaving the sides open to create a loop. Repeat this process for the remainder of the flags.

Tie a piece of fishing line or invisible thread to a pole or a tree. Slide the flags onto the line, through the loops at the top. Repeat the order sequence if you have more than 5 flags.

Tie the other end of the line to a pole or tree. Allow the line to sway slightly. Space the flags out evenly out on the line. Put glue into the loop of each Tibetan prayer flag and hold it tightly in place while the glue dries.

Items you will need

  • 5 sheets of dark T-shirt transfer paper
  • 1 square piece of red, green, yellow, blue, and white fabric
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Fishing line or invisible thread

Photo Credits

  • Jonathan Fong