Hi Dan, Thanks. Two extra bow sprits? oh boy.
Here is a quick step by step of how I am making the flags for Scorpion. Thought I'd use some new Pirate flags as examples.
I'm the type of person that just jumps into things. This is one of them so by no means is it the end all solution to scale flags. Just wanted to have a go at it....so I did.
Create your artwork using your favorite program. For me it's both Illustrator and photoshop. Be sure to leave some edge bleed for when it is folded and sewn. I used 5mm as a general rule. This was determined by how I sewed the Ensigns edge and amount of material I needed after final trimming. More on this later. You will need to create both an "a" side and a "b" side keeping in mind that any letters etc also need to be flipped to read right.
Artwork for a few basic Pirate flags
Side A (front)
Side B (back)
Notice the template I created on which both sides are aligned. This ensures best chance at decent registration. I have created specific templates for the various flags I am making. This piece also acts as a backing to ease printer feed.
Pirate flag template
Pre-treat the material. After doing some quick research, I have found a wealth of information on home printing. Both cotton and silk materials will accept the ink and it gives a endless range of material weights, textures and colors to choose from. In order for the ink to remain as a permanent dye however, the material must first be treated. The large bottle is what I have used and it claims that it will make the color washable and or water proof. (yet to test this claim myself). Will post more on material samples and test later.
Trim the material to fit on the template.
Using a low-tack tape, secure material to the template/backing piece continually smoothing down the material during each edge taping to make sure there are no wrinkles or puckers at the edge. The tape is to keep the material taught and also provide for a smooth feed through the printer.
Print the first side making sure you are feeding it in the correct direction.
gently remove the tape being careful not to destroy backing template. (yes you could just use another one)
Flip the printed material over and lay down the flags printed side down and align with template boxes. Be sure feed direction is correct. ONLY FLIP vertically...not horizontally. Once aligned, Tape edges again being sure to check template alignment the whole time.
Print side B(back)
Gently remove flag material from backing and gently remove tape from flag material.
That's it! they are now ready for trimming and edge sewing and header.
Mine were done on a small, all-in-one HP Printer. I have a large format printer as well and will attempt some things on that too.
Hope this has been helpful.
The larger the material pice, the more distortion as the material moves under the printer head. This might be able to be remedied by some double sick tape underneath. Have yet to try this theory as the distortion isn't really enough to bother me.
Clean you printer heads before you print and after a few printing sessions.
Check you ink levels before wasting material.