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Print a prayer flag

Learn about Buddhist texts and teachings and print a square prayer to share.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Devices with access to the internet (optional)
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils
  • Lino
  • Lino cutters
  • Paint trays
  • Ink rollers
  • Printing ink
  • Fabric
  • Marker pens
  • String
  • Wooden spoons (optional)

Before you begin

  • This is a great opportunity to invite a local faith leader along to your session. You’ll find detailed advice in the Buddhist beliefs You could also try Mindfulness of breathing as part of this session.
  • If you’re not able to arrange a visit from a faith leader as part of the session, we’ve included some brief information about Buddhism below. If everyone has access to the internet, ask the group to do their own research and share what you find out.
  • Cut the lino into squares for everyone. Ideally, you’ll want blue, white, red, green, and yellow fabric, all cut into squares.

 

Print your prayer flag

  1. Everyone should find an image or symbol to print onto their prayer flag.
  1. Everyone should copy their design onto a piece of tracing paper using a pencil.
  2. Place the tracing paper onto the lino with the design face-down. Scribble on the back of the tracing paper to transfer the design to the lino.
  1. Carve out the negative space between the lines of your design. Only the raised, uncarved parts will print onto the fabric. Everyone should be careful to keep their fingers away from the blade – hold the lino away from the direction you’re cutting. Make sure there are enough adults to supervise.
  2. Squeeze a blob of ink about the size of a ten pence piece onto a paint tray. Use a roller to spread the ink out until it’s tacky, and then use the roller to apply the ink to the lino. Cover the whole image in ink.
  3. Place a piece of fabric over the top of the lino. Press it down with your hands or run the back of a wooden spoon over it, applying pressure. Carefully peel back the fabric in one corner to check the ink is transferring. If not, rub it a bit more.
  4. Remove the fabric and leave it to dry. Complete the flag by using a marker pen to add some text or a mantra.
  5. Ink the lino again and print the design onto the other coloured fabrics.
  6. When the prayer flags are dry, use string to hang them up. From left to right, they should be blue, white, red, green, yellow.
  7. Use the flags to decorate your meeting place. Prayer flags are often hung horizontally and tied with one end near the ground and the other high up.

Share your designs

  1. Once everyone has finished printing their prayer flag, everyone should get into pairs or small groups.
  2. Everyone should show their flag and share what their design represents. If they’re comfortable, they could also talk about why they chose it.
  3. Every pair or group should discuss how Buddhists beliefs compare to their own beliefs. Come up with one similarity and one difference between their beliefs or values and what Buddhists believe.

Reflection

This activity was a chance to reflect on and develop beliefs and values. Think about the similarities and differences between Buddhists’ beliefs and others. Ask everyone to think about their own beliefs and values. If they made a prayer flag to show their own values, what symbols, images or words might it include? Ask anyone who’s comfortable to share their thoughts with the group. Think about the values you have in common as a whole group. 

This activity was also about being an international citizen and connecting with people from other faiths and parts of the world. Everybody has learned more about Buddhist practices. Was there anything surprising that they learned about Buddhism, prayer flags or mantras?

Safety

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.