Wars are a great time to fly some banners. I helped make a few last year but still didn’t have one myself. In the past few months my household tried out a few different methods in making a batch of banners. Here is how mine turned out:

Darian and Hunter are holding out my banner for my husband's camera work.

The process went something like this:

Like most people, I made up some design elements on the computer, printed them out and taped them down to my paper. I also did a lot of measuring and lining with a ruler and various pieces of string.

I taped down the lightweight silk over the paper and traced the design with a pencil. Then I enlisted the help of friends to get it attached to the frame. These are the PVC frames that Sir Jakob von Groningen made which have a nice peg system for quickly resizing the frame. As usual, I managed to snap my hands at least 6 times with rubber bands.

In this clearly exciting photo, I've brushed on an egg wash over the entire stretched silk. This was dried egg whites, reconstituted with a little bit of egg yolk and whipped. Once that settled, we had the glair for the banner.

Once the egg wash dried, it was time to apply the dye. With the egg wash, the extra protein binds to the dye and keeps it from traveling all over the silk like it normally would. This was my first time using an egg wash and not a gutta resist method. The lines were nice and crisp.

More dye... I liked the green my friend Golda had on her banner, so I mixed up a color similarly- green with an awful lot of extra yellow. The dyes were Jacquard silk dyes from Dharma Trading Company, which must be set with steam.

After some hours, and the help of my friend Icka the Good (aka Yasha the Poisoner), here is the finished banner. We got the nice watercolor-like effect I was hoping for.

The banner dried and was rolled up with everyone else’s and was placed into a steamer. I then washed it out with a little Synthrapol and a lot of water. Very, very little dye came off the banner. Also, for the record, Synthrapol causes me a wicked bad migraine. Awful awful. Will not forget that in the future.

Something about the weight of the silk and the egg wash made my colors quite muted. For instance, the black in the lettering of my motto was 4 or 5 applications of dye. It looks nice with the watercolor effect, but I think was a little washed out looking while flying.