I've been wanting to make some prayer flags for awhile. So when I was painting this canvas for a different project, I was able to get seven flags from it.
Just a little tip, if you know you'll be using your canvas as fabric (not a painting or art piece in it's own right) it's sometimes easier to start with a theme or large, simple drawing to start getting paint down.
In this instance, I painted very basic flowers. It helped save me from an orderly march of stencils and such across the space.
Next I ripped the canvas into 5x11 inch pieces. Then I folded over the top by about 3 inches making the prayer flag the customary 5x8.
As you can see in the picture, while I was sewing them together I couldn't resist adding a few bits of scrap canvas here and there in the form of tags and ruffles.
In my opinion, cutting apart just about anything makes it much more interesting. Where the whole cloth above was okay - it's certainly bright and cheerful but not terribly inspired - the flags below have all sorts of variety and interest.
Next I started stenciling, painting and decorating each flag. Here are two I have completed:
Here's a little bit about prayer flags from Wikipedia, I think a lot of people have misconceptions about them:
Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all...The prayers of a flag become a permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure to the elements. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside the old. This act symbolizes a welcoming of life's changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle.
I also have a Pinterest board of prayer flags if you are interested in seeing beautiful pictures from Tibet
You can read more about The Prayer Flag Project at this blog, including tutorials.