craft: felt flags of the world

July 9, 2012

We made these felt flags together for the Winter Olympics a couple of years ago, but I thought it was worth reposting with the Summer games coming up. We've saved them, so after hunting them down in the garage, we have hung them back up on the bannister! 

I picked up a book called Rand McNally I Know About Flags several months ago thinking it would be good for Juliet in a few years. She surprised me by being really interested in it already.

I Know About Flags

 Ben has been reading it with her in the evenings and we've discovered that she has just absorbed the information--she's started calling out the names of flags whenever she sees them like, 'Hey! There's the Canadian flag!" 

If you look inside, you can see how appealing it is--bright, colorful, and accessible to young children. 

The book is only meant to serve as an introduction to the concept of flags, so it does not contain ALL the flags of the world. (Yours might not be in there!) Some are state flags, some pages are dedicated to sports teams' flags, nautical flags, etc. But the majority of it features country flags. We don't always read the text, mostly we just point out the flags and talk about each. 

(You can make all the flags in the first picture by using just these shapes!)

I wanted to make a set of felt flags for Juliet to play with and to decorate our home with (all the Valentines stuff is packed away!) In my mind, I dreamed of making all the flags of countries we know people living in and ones we have visited or read about.

But then the reality of it hit me and I realized I do not have the time nor the talent to make every flag. My skill level forces me to make only the simplest flags that can be made from these shapes. (above) I came to this sad conclusion after trying unsuccessfully to space out 13 stripes for an American flag--Betsy Ross, I am not. And I did not even want to start with 50 stars...

Here's what I mean. One large rectangle. Two small rectangles. Glue. 


After cutting the basic shapes and glueing them together, I got Juliet involved. She rolled out the black ribbon and helped me glue each flag onto it. (If your child is old enough to cut with sharp scissors, this would be a fun project for him to do on his own. If your child is three...well, you're stuck with the fun.)

If you are more meticulous and less hasty (as my husband would say), then yours will undoubtedly turn out more neat and beautiful than mine. (Sorry for the crooked cross, Switzerland!) One thing I did not think of when gluing the flags onto the ribbon was which way they should be hung. I have a feeling that French flag is upside down...(again, my deepest apologies to anyone's flag I have butchered!)

Oh, I should mention, that I did make one exception and cut out a quasi-maple leaf shape in order to make the Canadian flag. I figured I couldn't leave it out since it is the host country for the winter games this year!

Here are some great resources I used while making this project: 


This site has a nice list of all the flags in alphabetical order. I just clicked through and found ones with rectangles and circles that I could copy. You could print the flags instead of making them out of felt or paper, but I didn't want to use up that much ink. 

This site is awesome! You can print out 3 different sizes for each flag--small, medium, or large. Then you can use them as a coloring sheet or as a pattern if you want to get fancy with your felt flags. If I wanted to make a more complicated one, I could have printed it out and cut it into pieces to use as a template. 

I cannot end this post before mentioning this AMAZING post at Playing by the Book on flags. She and her daughters did the most fun project together with nautical flags. (I think I have mentioned this before, but really, it's awesome and you should check it out.) 

Do you have any good flag books or projects to share?

I'm linking this post up to Feed Me Books Friday!


Kevin and Kristina said...

Impressive! I know I wouldn't have the patience to cut everything out and glue it all together, so I'll just admire your hard work. The flag book also looks great. I love the big pictures and little facts.

Raising a Happy Child said...

I really love this project and might reuse portions of it as we hop around the globe. You must have an inexhaustible supply of felt to make flags with so many colors.

Amber said...

I have always had my own passion for flags and traveling. I bought The World Encyclopedia of Flags from Barnes and Noble when I saw it on the bargain buy table. I love it and have used it when teaching English as a Second Language, but it's rather inaccessible for my little girls. We love the pictures, but it hasn't meant much to them. I love the idea of a book designed just for little ones, and I love Rand McNally. Maybe I can get my three year old to help with the gluing if she's not up for the cutting!

Bobbi said...

WOW! That is really awesome!

I am trying to email you, but the link isn't working for me. :( Can you send me your address at Thank you! :)

Nikki said...

I love your flags. What a great way to decorate and teach.

Katie said...

Hi Vanessa! Thanks for stopping by MiaMoo Designs and for leaving me a comment :) It just makes my day when I hear from people. Also, I'm so glad you did because it brought me to your cute blog. Can't wait to try some of these crafts with my daughter! Hope you stop by again soon...

Phyllis said...

This is so neat! I wish I had thought of it when we were doing our Around the World year. We (sadly now that I think about it) just colored in flags. How boring! You breathed such life into it.
Thanks for sharing this with us!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Very cool project. It would also be fun for the kids to color in printed versions of the flags using the correct colors. The book looks awesome.

vanessa said...

Thanks for all the nice comments about the flags. As I was making them, I felt like quitting, but now I am glad I stuck it through. Ben even says they look nice!

Annie said...

Great job! This would be such a fun craft for Lizzie and her boy cousins to do. I am not watching them 3-4 days a week and I need so many more ideas. On those days I have a 3.5 year old, a 2.5 year old, 15 month old and 10 month old all under my care (that includes my kids) and if I don't get fun crafts to do with them they can get outta hand LOL

I also think we will try that medals craft too. Talk about easy!

Today I featured in you in Spotlight Saturday post! I hope a few other bloggers find your wonderful blog!

Adventure Mom Janna said...

Cool, cool, cool!

I used to teach 5th grade and we did a project with flags and kids would be drawing and studying flags for weeks after the project. I still don't totally get it but it's always exciting to see them get so interested in something.

Thanks for linking up Vanessa!

Zoe @ Playing by the book said...

Oh Vanessa :-) Another fantabulous post - I love it! I'm behind on reading all my favourite posts this week as J has been (and still is poorly), but I was heading over here to tell you about this:
Frog went a-courting: a musical play in six acts by Dominic Catalano - it looks like a fun book (you'll find it on Amazon) for you and Juliet given you current singing favourites :-)

Meghan said...

beautiful project, vanessa! you are so talented!!

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