Survivor buffs and tribe flags
Survivor is one of my favorite TV shows and Jo and I have watched every season. We’ve both always thought it would be so fun to get to participate in the show’s challenges, as long as we didn’t have to go through the days of near starvation and heat the the castaways usually do! We decided to host our own Survivor-like event this summer during our yearly beach vacation in Sanibel, Florida. Since the Amazing Race we put on last year was so much fun, we knew we wanted to do something similar this year, and Survivor was just the ticket.
There were lots of projects involved in hosting our own version of Survivor, and you can read about them in our main Survivor party post. For now, I’m going to focus on a two elements regarding tribe identity — the buffs and the tribe flags.
For both of these items, we used a Survivor logo from a set of Survivor party printables we found on Etsy. The set included several print-ready logo sizes, and a high-res JPG version we could use for anything.
You simply can’t play Survivor without having iconic Survivor buffs for your tribe members. They were really easy to make, too. Start off with some stretch jersey knit fabric in your tribe colors. We used red jersey knit and blue jersey knit.
Before you start working with the fabric, take note of which direction it stretches in. One way will stretch far better than the other, and you want that stretching direction to go left to right on your workspace.
Now you need to cut a rectangle out of your fabric, and the size will depend on how stretchy your fabric is. I cut mine to 20″ wide and 18″ tall. You need it to be big enough to stretch around a person’s head comfortably, so do some experimenting to get the right size for your particular fabric.
Once you’ve cut the fabric, fold it in half and pin the sides together.
Use the sewing machine to sew the side seam with a row of zigzag stitches. Using zigzag instead of straight stitches will allow the seam to stretch after it’s sewn.
You might want to trim any excess from your seam to clean it up.
Then just flip it inside out and that’s it! Because the jersey knit doesn’t unravel, you don’t need to hem up the other edges.
Aren’t these just fantastic? They can be worn as headbands, as wristbands, around the neck, or just about anywhere you want. Be sure to make enough for each member of each tribe!
The Tribe Flags
The other thing we needed for the tribes to show their identities was a pair of tribe flags. While the flags on the TV show are usually horizontal and hung between two poles, we felt that would not be easy to move around. We opted to follow tradition from some of the earlier seasons and make a vertical flag on a single pole so that a member of each tribe could carry it to challenges and stab it into the sand.
First, the hardware: to make two flags, you’ll need four 3/4″ wooden dowel rods that are about 30″ long, two 1″x2″ wooden stakes that are 6′ long, and two 3″ machine screws with wingnuts. Use a saw to cut the ends of the stakes at a sharp angle so that they’ll be easier to stick into the sand/dirt.
Then drill a hole into the square end of each stake that’s big enough for the screw to fit through. Drill a similar hole into the middle of two of the dowel rods.
Then it’s back inside to the craft room to work on the flag. You can use any material you have handy in your tribe colors, but for durability and weather-resistance, we opted to use red rip stop nylon and blue rip stop nylon. Cut a piece of each color that’s 24″ wide and about 52″ long.
Fold over one of the short ends of the fabric to form a pocket, pinning it in place. Make sure the pocket is big enough for your dowel rod to fit through.
Sew the pocket in place. (Forgive my red thread… I didn’t have any blue!) Do this on both ends of each flag piece.
On only ONE end of each flag, fold the sewn pocket in half sideways…
…and use a pair of scissors to cut a notch in the pocket.
Feed one of the dowel rods with the hole in it through this pocket and you can see that the notch you cut allows the hole to be exposed. This will allow us to attach it to the stake later.
With the flag fabric ready, it’s now time to decorate it! I started by customizing the high-res version of the logo from the Survivor party printables set with “Sanibel”, then I printed it extra large onto four sheets of paper (using the “poster printing” function of my printer).
Then I cut the pieces out and hot-glued them together, forming a giant logo.
I also used my Silhouette SD to cut out letters that spell our tribe names. I positioned all the pieces on the flag and then used a hot glue gun to glue them in place.
Don’t you wish you could be a part of the Chicaroo and Jokomo tribes? I may be a little biased, but I happen to think those are the best Survivor tribe names ever.
For the final assembly, start by putting the long wooden stake on a table and lay the flag on top, lining up the hole in the dowel with the hole in the stake.
Put the screw through both holes…
…and secure it on the back with the wingnut. The reason I used a wingnut here is so that it would be easy to assemble and disassemble the flag by hand (no tools needed) when we’re out on the beach doing out challenges. It will also make it a lot easier to transport the flags down to Florida!
Slip the remaining dowel rod into the pocket on the bottom of the flag, which will give the flag some weight and allow it to hang straight, even in a breeze. The finished flags are easy to carry and can be stuck into the ground or sand easily, too.
Be sure to check out our How to Host a Survivor Party post for more details about the rest of the elements of our DIY Survivor event, including Tribal Council, immunity idols, and challenges!