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Making cloth flags


Modeler12
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Let us rebuild. But where to start?
Prior to the ‘2013 collapse’ we had a section dealing with making flags. Let me refresh what at least my approach was after receiving input and help from other members of this forum. I am terrible with names, but one fellow in Hilversum, the Netherlands, led the way with his approach. Here is what followed:


A flag printed on one side of a sheet of paper was the start, but not very interesting. See first picture below. Other suggestions on the forum dealt with hand painting and even using crumpled cans. But
the one that I liked best was to use transfer paper. The idea is to print the mirror image of a flag on this special paper and transferring it to a piece of light weight cloth using a hot iron with lots of pressure.  The first pictures below show the paper flag and my first tries using the transfer paper made by the Dharma Trading Co. It took some practice and several rejects. Printing on one side of the cloth did
not transfer well to the back. Our Dutch friend (help me Lou) showed how he had done this process on both sides. That led me to the following approach.


Scale the flag to the size you want and make one real and one mirror image. Print both of these on a sheet of the transfer paper. Take one and with a very hot iron (your wife’s will do) and no steam, press the image onto the cloth. Carefully slide the iron across to make sure the whole area is pressed uniformly. After the recommended time, let the cloth cool and remove the blue backing. You should
have a clear image on the cloth.


Trim the second image part way as shown below. This makes it easier to index and position the second pressing. Lou made four targets which I tried also but did not need. After the second pressing has cooled, peel off the backing and now you should have a nice flag that can be trimmed and folded (wrinkled) or whatever you decide to do with it.


A couple comments about ‘mistakes’. If the flag has printed words, print one image with the mirror image of the words and deleted the words on the second side. It is very difficult to align both sides.
Be sure to align front and back in the same order. The blue admiral flag below was flipped the wrong way and the result did not look like stars.

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Might a make a suggestion for the fabric. Try using "cotton lawn" this is available from http://www.craftycomputerpaper.co.uk and comes in A4 size sheets which due to their paper backing will go into any standard computer printer... all you need now is a scaled image of the flag or ensign you wish to print. The same material can also be used to make sails.Simply copy the plans to a computer art drawing program (I use Photoshop) re-scale if required; change the colours from black lines to a suitable brown shade and all the reef bands and cloth lines are ready to print.

But please be aware the printing is visible on both sides of the material so is no good if you want to show written words etc as above in Modeler12's post

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Might a make a suggestion for the fabric. Try using "cotton lawn" this is available from http://www.craftycomputerpaper.co.uk and comes in A4 size sheets which due to their paper backing will go into any standard computer printer... all you need now is a scaled image of the flag or ensign you wish to print. The same material can also be used to make sails.Simply copy the plans to a computer art drawing program (I use Photoshop) re-scale if required; change the colours from black lines to a suitable brown shade and all the reef bands and cloth lines are ready to print.

But please be aware the printing is visible on both sides of the material so is no good if you want to show written words etc as above in Modeler12's post

Indeed, that is an option. I am not familiar with this particular product, Sarge, but the company I mentioned above makes a similar product. Go to http://www.dharmatrading.com/topnav/transfers/ for details of both types.

 

I have not tried printing on the fabric and am wondering if the image is clear enough to be seen on the back side. The intended use of these products is mostly to show a design on a tee-shirt or other garment. Perhaps you have or have seen this on low cost tee-shirts. I don't like it when the applique becomes stiff, but in the case of making flags it works to an advantage in that the flag can be shaped. The extra thickness did not bother me for these small flags and banners.

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  • 5 months later...

Jay, I am a new to this site and ship modeling and over the years the amount of ships i've seen at model show did not have such realistic looking flags as what you share in your tips here. I found it through another built log and glad you put it up again. This crash I read about I hope it won't happen again because there is a lot of great work here that will help a lot of us new comers for long time. Thanks again for sharing your work.

 

Mike

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  • 1 year later...

Jay you saved me! I tackled the flags on my Connie today. I used thinned PVA and aluminum foil to shape the flags. Unfortunately, the flag material did not fare over the last two decades as well as the wood did. The first two (Ensigns?) cam off without a hitch. However, when I removed the US Flag, it left a number of the white stripes on the foil. So I looked online on how to make flags and found your thread. 

 

So off to Staples and the fabric store. The lady at the fabric store was great. She pointed me toward a really thin cotton fabric. Looking on line for a flag to print I realized that the flag supplied y Mamoli was the 1797 flag. In 1812, it was actually the 15 stars and stripes flag. The Smithsonian had a great copy of this flag whoever it was a short. It looked stocky, especially given the length of the original flag. So I used a combination of DeltaCad and Preview to make the flag longer, sized correctly, mirrored, and duplicated to fill a standard letter size paper.

 

I printed the flags on one o the transfer sheets and started to try the transfer per your great instructions. The first one was a bit off and made my eyes cross sided, but the second and third trued out great. The first one I used the instructions from the transfer and left a bit of white around the flag. On the subsequent attempts I found it was much easier to align the flags when there was no boarder. This made it easy to see if it was aligned or not.

 

So the flag is installed AND I have the perfect flag pattern and process to print the flag for my next ship, the Brig Eagle.

 

Thanks Jay. You are a life saver. Here is a copy of the new flag proudly flying above the ship. The ships boat is temporarily hung, I still need to finish building the remaining two boats and accessorize them.

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Hi,

I use transfer paper to be applied decoration on the sails made of fabric but the flags I print on rice paper because the fabric is in my opinion too thick and stiff for small flags.

 

Tadeusz

 

 

My models:

From kits

Vasa, HMS Victory, Le Solei Royale, Friesland

From scratch

HMS Warrior 1860, Esplanade, Grosse Yacht

Norman’s ship, HMS Speedy, La Royale

Peter von Danzig

Polacca XVII cent.

Current project:

SS Savannah 1818

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I have done something very different for the Jacht Mary and the method comes from a member of a local club and a pro builder by the name of Gus Augustin

 

Equipment needed to make flags.

You make them from plain white printing paper

Fold the paper to the format you want it to be.

Wet the paper to take memory out.

Hang or put on towel to dry.

Paint the paper with acrylic.

Fold the paper and you have a flag.

Add 1 coat of Dullcoat to dull the paint colors.

 

It keeps its form whereas the cloth type lose it even if I starch it or use other methods.

 

Post 51 http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/4294-the-first-royal-dutch-yacht-mary-by-marcus-botanicus-mamoli-1646/page-4

 

Marc

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The original flags in the Mamoli kit were silk screened (I am betting). The feel when cutting that cloth out and the feel when cutting the very light cotton cloth out once it had the transfer done on both sides were equitable. The cloth without printing was actually difficult to cut it was so thin. It required very sharp scissors. Once the transfer was done, it was easier to cut since it had stiffness from the transfers. It took the PVA/water mixture well and I was able to shape it. I think the key is the type of cloth you use. I was lucky I guess. However, the minimum I could by was a ¼ yard. I could make flags for the fleet and still have cloth left!

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As a follow on, I looked at the receipt for the cotton cloth I used and it was listed as Lawn Cotton. I measured it as well as weighing it on an extremely accurate scale and it calculated to be 1.9 oz per sq yard. This is very light, very fine, and somewhat transparent so light will show through the flag once made.

 

I am sure there are many fabrics and papers out there that can work. This was just readily available from the local fabric store.

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