Monday, December 27, 2010

Creating flags and banners

With two months until the Carolina Challenge Cup, it is the perfect time to create you own banner or flag. As we mentioned in an earlier No Quarter entry, here are a few basic tips to get you started.

The Idea

The age old adage of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) is the best motto. A simple short phrase or logo is the best. I start with an idea and then use Photoshop or hand sketch and then scan the picture to get a basic design laid out. For example, I used the crossed cannons from the Battery logo in a few of my designs. Simple, relevant and easily recognizable. On one design I added a skull above the cannons as a take off the classic Jolly Roger design which has gone on to be used on T-shirts as well as a two-pole banner.


Pretty much any fabric will work. Cotton or cotton blends probably are the best for the paint but tend to get a bit heavy if they get wet. Plastic tarps don't work too well as the paint flakes off and they only come in limited colors. The best paints are cheap acrylic paints. They are waterproof and while will dry a bit "stiff" will still work just fine on banners. When I designed the bar flags, I used 100 foot rolls of plastic table cloth material that I bought at a party supply store for less than $15.00 a roll. I then cut yellow and black pieces about two foot long and taped them together with black duct tape in alternating colors to give a black, yellow, black pattern that is about six foot long and about 4 foot high (that was the width of the roll, no need making more work for myself!)tape that to a five or six foot length of PVC pipe. I have a flag that cost about $2.00 each and took about 5 minutes to create.

The Work

Now comes the tricky part. Putting those great ideas onto the banner. Ideally you would have a large area in a climate controlled area to work, but anywhere will really do. Access to a computer hooked up to a projector will make the transfer of the design a lot simpler. Just trace the design onto the fabric with a pen. An old school overhead projector would work fine as well but you will have to print out your design onto a transparency. If you really want to kick it old school, free hand your design onto the fabric.

Start painting your design using a variety of size brushes. Start on the edge with narrow brushes and use larger brushes or rollers on the bigger areas.  Make sure you put your new banner somewhere where it will have plenty of time to dry before it starts to rain or the where the neighbor's cat won't walk over it.

Finishing It Up

Now that its dry, you need to figure out how to display it come game time. Depending on it size, you might be able to use a two pole design. Make a sleeve on either side by either using liquid stitch or if you can, sewing a seam up the side and leaving it large enough for a pole. I use PVC pipes for poles because they are cheap and easy to find. A larger banner you might add some grommet holes so you can tie it up with zip ties or string. Even duct tape works well if it isn't too wet out. Blackbaud stadium is pretty open to bringing in flags or banners, as long as you don't hit the ticket takers in the head with the poles trying to get through the turnstiles (sorry who ever that was!) and be mindful of waving a flag in front of other fans. Or to be safe, come on over to E10 where flag waving is welcomed.

All this seem to much work? The Battery Proshop sells a a great two-side 3'x5' Charleston Battery flag that has a sleeve ready for a pole.

Here are a couple instructional videos from the good folks in Toronto. You may have seen many of their banners during the last couple Carolina Challenge Cups. In fact if you watch the second video you will see one of them wearing a Battery jersey and showcasing the scarf banner in section E01 at Blackbaud stadium.

Got an idea, but are stuck? Leave a comment and well do our best to help. We also have a tentative plan to have a banner making BBQ one afternoon come closer to March.

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