As you have seen in my other articles, my family is involved in our community.  We spend a great deal of our time supporting the school band programs and also the scouting programs.  A few weeks back, as we were preparing to send the youth to Boy Scout summer camp, we realized that they needed a troop flag.  These flags are carried by their troops to and from the daily flag ceremonies, meals and various competitive events.  As the troop earns awards, ribbons, and medals, they are hung from a couple of leather strips hanging from the bottom. Over time they essentially build-up a history that they carry with them and can talk about around a campfire with new scouts!

I designed this flag according to the design details my son suggested.  He was recently elected Senior Patrol Leader and was asked to design a troop flag. After considering the details on his own, he came over to me for help and we ended up with this design... We wanted to find a way to burn the design onto the leather with a laser cutter/engraving system but there isn't one around here so we did the next best thing.

What we used:
  • A piece of old woodshop leather provided by a youth leader
  • Athletic Jersey Vinyl Iron-on Film (black, red, blue & white)
  • iron set to high-heat, with NO steam
  • ruler (for alignment)
  • Glue and epoxy for strengthening the edges of the leather and sealing the walking stick decals
  • Parachute cord for lashing the leather to a wooden frame
  • a piece of 2x4 lumber ripped in half lengthwise via table saw (and built into square flag frame)
  • a second piece of 2x4 lumber (sculpted into a walking stick & flag staff)
  • random orbital sander for sanding and applying indentations to wooden frame
  • leather laces and remnants from craft store for lashing corners of frame, awards strings & flag handle
  • eyelets and hole punch for securing the threading holes for paracord lashing
  • feathers, beads and copper wire for decorations
  • craft knife

Step 1: Design the Flag Graphics in Your Favorite Vector App; Iron It & Woodburn It!

First we designed the flag and staff. I used Adobe Illustrator for this since I would end up having to export my graphics as postscript files to be cut on my vinyl cutter. My son designed the flag, the staff graphics and determined the necessary colors--I simply did the mechanics of the computer work to save us some time and to assure efficient use of the vinyl film. The eagle was a vector we purchased online a couple of years ago.  We imported it and modified it slightly in order to simplify it and resize it for cutting.

We then cut out the vinyl film and prepared those pieces for ironing.This part is rather easy: cut your graphics, peel away any unwanted vinyl film, flip it over and then iron it!  Using an iron set to high-heat with no steam, the graphics are easily adhered. Remember that it is necessary to cover the vinyl at all times when using an iron or the image will be ruined.  If you will be using multiple colors in your design, be sure to layer them properly. It can be a bit tricky.  After all graphics are adhered, we covered it with paper and applied heat for 40 more seconds to permanently set the image.

►I am including a bunch of photos of the leather flag after the graphics were added.  Note that it is not trimmed yet nor is it lashed to the wooden frame.

That is awesome, I too am a scout leader and this is something I've been toying with doing for the pack and troop. Great idea!
Thank you! <br>
<p>Do you still have the illustrator file? I would love to have our boys make this.</p>
This came out great! Good work!
Thank you very much!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a Nerd and a garage inventor. My dad used to say, "There he goes...off to 'The Lair' to invent something. Try not ... More »
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