Everything you always wanted to know about flag making but were afraid to ask

Posted by Tarpaulin on October 29, 2003, 04:15:35 PM

A couple of years ago me and the lads I go the match with decided we would make a flag. As most of you will know LFC fans have a tradition of making great flags, and so we wanted ours to fit in with that. We spent a couple of weeks thinking of different slogans, and quotes, and of thinking of layouts etc. After a while, and a bit of umming and ahhhing, and a couple of disagreements we decided on "Our Flag".

"Talent does what it can;
Genius does what it must"

  flame - liverbird - flame

      Liverpool F.C

Well at least we thought it was pretty good.

We decided the flag would be white letters and logos on a plain red back ground. Perfect. We bought our 4 by 3 metre red cloth, and began to stencil and cut out all the letters, flames and liverbird. This was a long and boring task, but it needed to be done. Three of us worked for about 8 hours on doing all this, and planning the layout perfectly to make sure the flag looked as good as it possibly could do.

When all the cutting was done, we laid it all out on the floor at 1:30am - we were absolutely knackered, but managed a smile as we knew how good it would look. We planned to wonderweb the letters onto the background. Do yer remember wonderweb? No it's not the stuff that Spiderman shoots out of his wrist ... it's that stuff that yer mam used to iron onto the bottom of yer kecks to make them turn up at the beggining of the school year. Then she could let them out at the end of the year when you had got a bit taller!!!

Next day we went to me mums to suss the wonderweb stuff out, and because her living room was big enough for us to work in, just. We set the flag out again on the floor - and got the iron on the ready. Full steam ahead, and full heat ... this is what the wonderweb needs. It needs to get damp and then be heated to enable it to stick the fabrics together!

Off we went ... Bob Dylan blasting away in the background, and cans of Stella being quaffed as me and my mate took 3 hours to iron all the letters onto the background material carefully. When we finished, we stood up, stood back, and smiled ... it looked superb. All it needed now was for the letters to be stitched into place. The wonderweb was good but wouldn't withstand a vigourous Eurorean trip. We decided to lift the flag up and give it a shake to make sure all the letters were fixed in place and wouldn't come off before we got it to the house of the "seamstress" who we had found in the Yellow Pages and had agreed to stitch it up for us perfectly.

As we lifted the flag, me at one end me mate at the other, it didn't lift smoothly and there was a ripping sound. Our eyes both glared at each other ... had be just ripped the fuckin' flag we'd spent so long making? Had we got it trapped under our feet? We both pulled the flag a little more, the noise was made again. This was all in a split second, but seemed like an age. We looked at each other, sort of puzzled at what it could be for that eternal split second.

Then me mate must have had a rush of blood, and an idea came into his tiny little mind - he looked under the corner of the flag he had lifted. He looked at me. He looked back under the flag. And looked back at me [yeah it was like a cartoon!]. He bit his bottom lip and shook his head.

"Fuck" I thought, "this must be bad". I didn't want to look, as I sort of knew what it would be. I slowly looked down and under ... my eyes rolled back and my head looked up to the ceiling. Both at exactly the same time, me and my mate dropped the corners of flag that we were holding and dropped it to the floor and sort of ran into the corner of the room like two little naughty school kids.

The flag was stuck to the floor!

Worse was still to come. Like I said before, I had the iron on full pelt. And what happens when you put a pair of red socks in with a hot white wash? Yes, the bastards run and make all yer whites pink!

The letters were now dyed onto the floor in deep red ink. As we slowly peeled the flag off the floor the ripping noise got louder, and the ink seemed darker and darker on the 6 month old carpet!

"What the fuck are we gonna do 'ere?" me mate said. "How the fuck do I know bellend?" I said. Me mum and dad where in the kitchen preparing a meal. They were having friends round for tea, and we were stood there like a pair of idiots with the flag 4 feet of the floor revealing quite possibly the best piece of carpet in the land.

I went casually into the kitchen and picked up a couple of floor cloths. Me and my mate frantically tried to scrub the flag ink off the floor. No chance, the carpet was wrecked.

To be fair to me folks they took it pretty well, considering that the carpet had only been in place for 6 months, and was the same matching carpet as throughout the whole of the downstairs. The knife wound, and fractured skull healed pretty well - nah, they were sound and seemed to understand as best they could. Well me ma got a new wooden floor out of the insurance.

It didnt stop me and me mate being the victims of a severe piss-taking session from everyone for the next couple of weeks. The evening meal went well that night, as afterwards me mam and her mates danced to 60's music on a Houllier flag background on her living room floor! 

Here is a picture of the flag in its full glory taken about a year later in Basel:

Here is a picture of me ma's carpet about 2 months after, and the day before the wooden floor got put in. Cos its in direct sunlight from the window, the ink faded a fair bit, and the sun on the day of the picture has made it look very faint...but believe me - for 4 weeks, it was a deep, dark red and each letter, flame and liverbird was very clear on the very middle of the floor.

Yer see, her living room just about fitted the flag in - we had to move 2 chairs, and move the settee to the end of the room half way into the doorway to lay teh flag out to work on it - so she lived for 2 months with the flag imprint covering pretty much every visible inch of carpet in that room!!! 

In total the flag cost:

?10  - red background
?5 - white cloth for letters
?1.99 x 3 - wonderweb
?1600 - for the carpet that was ruined
?2300 - for the wooden floor [insurance]

?3920.97 - one Liverpool flag

I think you'll agree that it must be the dearest individual flag in history and I'm being generous with the pricings cos I haven't included, electricity, beer or cleaning products!

Despite the cost, heart attacks and micky taking it had been worthwhile. We had a great flag and I was now an expert flagmaker. Soon time would come around for my second foray into banner making. My second banner would be ready for the Charity Shield against Arsenal in 2002.

Yes I can hear you thinking already "Roper's a master flag maker now, what could possibly go wrong?". This was the banner:

I decided that with my mums new wooden floor in place, that I would ask if it was possible to use one of the function rooms at the sports centre in which she works. Me mum said "No worries" so me and two mates made our way over to the room. For this banner we only had the Thursday and Friday before we set off for Cardiff, so we had to do it in permenant marker pen.

Again we bought a large piece of background cloth [white this time] and then bought 10 red pens, and 4 black pens to enable us to colour in the flag. We decided on a JUSTICE flag, and that we would try to make a caption up that was quite original. After about 30 mins of thought, we put forward our ideas to each other and mine we all agreed was fitting. "96 Candles Burn Bright". We also decided that we would like to have the liverbirds with the 4 European Cup wins shown as stars underneath. I wanted 96 stars across the bottom, but we agreed that time was tight, so we minimalised it as best we could. I think you'll agree that it's not too bad?

Anyway, we lay the material out on the floor and stenciled all our letters and logos on in dark pencil, and then we set off colouring them in and adding black outlines. I went 1st and started to do the "96 Ca". After I got to the end of the letter "A", it hit me ...

"Fuck, I've not put anything underneath ... AGAIN!!!"

We lifted the flag up, and there it was as clear as it was on the flag. A red "96 CA" scrawled over the lino type floor on the fucntion room. I ran to the cleaners' cupboard in the sports centre and picked out the foulest coloured liquid I could find. It was some green shite with loads of warning signs all over it. Three cloths, one rough cloth and a bucket, and we started to scrub at it.

It was coming off, and after about 30 minutes the floor was back to normal - thank god. I went back to the sports centre, put all the kit back, and picked up a fresh cloth to dry it all off with. As I was walking out, me mum saw me and said "What have you done?". I told her and she just looked at me with eyes that said "I'm gonna rip your nuts off and feed them to you!!!"... I explained that all was well, and that it was just a little smudge of pen! Job done, and another near cock up avoided.

So does anyone want me to come round and help them? I charge reasonable rates as a Flag Consultant.

? Roper 2003

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