Learn how to make sublimation garden flags!
Spring is coming (or so they say) and I’m getting antsy for warmer weather. The return of sunshine and the first flower blooms can’t come soon enough! It’s one of my favorite times of the year. With so many sublimation blanks out there, I was so excited when I came across blank garden flags for sublimating! So I thought: To welcome Spring a little early, why not make colorful sublimation garden flags for my yard? The process follows a similar technique as my custom doormats, and creates a beautiful tribute to Springtime! Even if you’re new to sublimation, this is a tutorial anyone can try — with the right tools and materials.
See the full step-by-step video tutorial on how to make sublimation garden flags:
With Spring on the brain, I had so much fun creating these bright and cheerful designs. And the best part? They’re customizable! You can add your own message, family name, or anything else you like! I’ll show you how to size your design correctly in Google Drawings (which is free), then add and edit text to make your personalized flag look great. We’ll finish up the design by printing it from Adobe Acrobat Reader (which comes with a free trial).
Sublimating a multi-sheet design requires some patience, but it’s easier than you might think. I’ll walk you through the whole process start to finish so you get it right the first time.
To make sublimation garden flags, first you’ll need a sublimation printer. There are several great sublimation printers on the market, but for this tutorial I’ll be using my converted Epson Eco-Tank printer and Hippoo sublimation ink — my favorite. We’ll print our design on four full page sheets of high quality sublimation paper, then attach them together with heat-resistant tape.
Next, you’ll need a blank garden flag made of 100% polyester, which you’ll find linked in my list of materials below. Not only will I show you how to sublimate a single-sided flag, I’ll walk you through sublimating a double-sided garden flag, too. Because why not have double the color, right?
To sublimate your personalized design onto your yard flag, you’ll need a heat press like my Cricut EasyPress, a pressing mat, and some other supplies you probably already have around the house. A word of warning, though: Don’t try to make this project (or any other sublimation project) with a household iron. It just doesn’t get hot enough, and your project will not turn out the way you expect. Heat presses are the way to go with anything sublimation related.
Anytime you’re sublimating, you’ll need proper ventilation for your safety. I like to open a window, turn on a fan, and try not to breathe in the fumes that escape while I’m pressing my sublimation design.
When your flag is done, it’s time to hang it in your garden with a flag stand, or on your house with a small flag pole. Just one more word of warning, though: Once your neighbors see your custom sublimation garden flag, they’ll probably ask you to make them one, too!
I can’t wait to see how your sublimation garden flags turn out!
Ready to make your own DIY sublimation garden flags? This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials & Tools to Make Sublimation Garden Flags
- Single-sided sublimation garden flag OR double-sided sublimation garden flag – I made 18″ x 20″ versions and will show you how to make both!
- Sublimation printer – I used a converted Epson printer with compatible Hiipoo ink
- Sublimation Printer Paper – 8.5″ x 11″
- Heat Press – I’m using the EasyPress 2 but it can be made with any model as long as it’s 9 x 9″ or larger
- Heat resistant tape
- White Butcher paper
- 12 x 18″ heavy weight cardstock
- Garden flag holder to display your flag in your yard
- Cricut Portable Trimmer
- Ventilation – I used this fan
- Pressing Mat
- Lint Roller to prepare your flag for sublimating
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (get the free trial!)
- Google Account (we’ll use Google Drawings — also free)
- Design #483 (My free PDF/PNG design files are available in my free resource library – get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make Sublimation Garden Flags
- Sublimation Garden Flag
- Double-sided Garden Flags
- Sublimation Printer Paper
- Heat resistant tape
- White Butcher paper
- Heavy weight cardstock 12 x 18 inch
- Garden Flag Holder
- Design #483] (My free PDF/PNG design files are available in my free resource library - get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
STEP 1: GET OR PREPARE A SUBLIMATION DESIGN
You can use either of my Sublimation Garden Flag design files from my resource library, Design #483. You can also make your own design.
Download the files and pick your design. There are four designs - two including text and two left blank so you can personalize the saying.
The Full Bloom one-sided design
The Full Bloom one-sided design for personalization
The Spring Has Sprung double-sided design
The Spring Has Sprung double-sided design for personalization
Today, I’m going to show you how to make the Full Bloom design with personalized text, and how to make the Spring has Sprung double-sided design. You'll be able to use these steps for any of the options in the design collection.
If you would like to personalize one of the blank garden flag designs, follow these steps.
Open Google Drive and in the upper left corner click on New, go to More, and select Google drawings.
Once Google Drawings is open, select Page Setup under the File menu. In the Page Setup dialog box, select custom and input your flag dimensions. My flag is just smaller than 12" x 18", so I'll use 11.5" x 17.5". Click apply.
Next, under the Insert menu, select Image and Upload From Computer. Find your file and click Open.
Here's what my PNG image looks like in Google Drawings. You can move the image anywhere on the page. You will also notice that the image is slightly smaller than the page, so we need to adjust the image size so that it fits.
Click Format Options from the Toolbar.
This will open a panel on the right side of the screen. Expand Size & Rotation, and you will see the image properties.
Make sure the Lock Aspect Ratio box is unchecked and then change the width to 12". The Height will auto-adjust to 18".
I will center my image. A thin red line appears when your image is centered.
Now we need to add text. Go to the Insert menu and select Text Box. Use your curser to draw a rectangle in the upper section of the blank area of the design.
For my flag, I want it to say "Live Life In Full Bloom". Type "LIVE LIFE IN FULL" and select/highlight the text. You can now change the size and font. In the toolbar, look for the Font box. It should say Arial. You can use any of the typefaces listed or select More Fonts and browse Google's collection - these are all free to use. I will select Amatic S.C.
The box just to the right is the Font Size. I found that 115 was a good size for my text; you may find you like yours bigger or smaller.
Repeat the steps above to create a second text box below the first. I will type in "Bloom", select the font Sofia, and change the size to 225.
I'll also change the color of my text. With the text selected, click the Text Color icon from the menu bar and select the color of choice. I will select the darkest green.
You can also center the text by using Align found in the toolbar.
Now I'll rearrange my text boxes until I am happy with the placement.
To save the file to your computer, click “Untitled Drawing” and change the name to something you’ll remember, like “Full Bloom Garden Flag”. Then be sure to download the file as a PDF.
STEP 2: PRINT YOUR SUBLIMATION DESIGN
Download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Open the garden-flag-one-sided-no-text-jennifermaker-PDF.pdf.
Select print from the file menu. In the print dialog box select Poster, set the Overlap to 0.2, and check the Cut Marks box. Using the Poster setting will print multiple 8 1/2 x 11" sheets of paper, for this design it will print out four sheets of paper.
Next, click the Printer button in the lower left corner. This lets you set up for sublimation printing. Under Layout make sure Flip Horizontally is checked. If you have an ICC profile installed, select Color Matching, click ColorSync and select your ICC profile. And lastly, for Print Settings select Premium Presentation Paper Matte and High Quality.
NOTE: Due to variances between printers, computers, and operating systems, your settings might not look exactly like mine. The most important things to keep in mind are mirroring your design and selecting the highest print quality.
Make sure you have sublimation paper loaded correctly into your printer and click Print.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOUR PRINT FOR SUBLIMATION
Tiling your pages
Let's first lay out the pages on a flat surface, face up, and take a look at them. You should notice the Cut Marks, they look like two corners with a straight line in the middle. We are going to trim the middle straight lines. If we start with the upper left page tile we're going to number our pages 1 - 4 going clockwise.
Take panel 1 and trim both the long and short edges of the paper. Repeat this on all four panels. By trimming the edges, you are trimming the printed crop marks so that they don’t transfer when sublimated. The design will still have about a .2” overlap so that it’s easy to align and tape together.
Place a piece of heat-resistant tape under the center corner of the first panel, so the sticky side is face up. This will help tack your panels in place and keep them from shifting as you're aligning them.
Using heat-resistant tape as you go, place panel 2 on top of panel 1, lining up the design. This takes some patience so take your time! Be careful not to tape over any sublimation ink.
Continue this for the remaining panels - placing panel 3 on top of panel 2, then panel 4 on top of panel 3. Again, remember to use patience when lining everything up.
NOTE: Be careful not to tape over any sublimation ink. If you have a full coverage design, you can add small amounts of tape to the back to keep it together without shifting, but be aware that it adds another layer and sometimes leaves an impression mark, so avoid it if possible or only use a little bit. Try to tape in non-ink areas if possible.
For this tutorial, I'll be showing you how to use the EasyPress 2 to sublimate your garden flag.
Place a heat-resistant mat on a flat surface. I used a Cricut Heat resistant mat.
Preheat your EasyPress 2 to 380 degrees Fahrenheit/193 degrees Celsius and preheat the entire flag for 10 seconds to remove moisture.
Take your garden flag blank and go over it with a lint roller to remove any lint or debris.
Place it face down on your tiled design. The design will be just a bit larger than your flag. This is to ensure the design covers the entire surface of the flag. Align the flag blank with the design until you are happy with the placement and secure it with heat-resistant tape. Be generous with the heat-resistant tape to prevent any shifting when transferring it to the pressing mat.
Take a large piece of white heavy-weight cardstock and lay it on the pressing mat. Be sure it's completely covering the mat to protect it from potential blowout.
Carefully turn over your prepared flag blank and design and place it on top of the cardstock on the pressing mat. The print is now face down.
Place a piece of large, clean butcher paper on top of the print. Ensure the butcher paper covers the entire design to protect your heat press from any blowout.
Now it's time to press.
STEP 4: PRESS YOUR SUBLIMATION PRINT
Before you start, open a window or set up a fan to improve your ventilation. Since we’re heating up sublimation dye, you don’t want to breathe in any of the fumes!
Make sure your press is heated to 380 degrees Fahrenheit/193 degrees Celsius.
Referring to how we tiled the design, we are going to press in a similar fashion. Starting with the top left corner, place your Cricut Easy Press on top of the design for 60 seconds.
When the timer goes off, lift the heat press straight up and place it down on the top right corner, and press for another 60 seconds. Repeat this process with the lower right corner, then the lower left corner. After the four corners have been pressed, place the Easy Press in the center of the flag and press for 60 seconds.
You will have pressed the mat five times in total.
Once the last section has been pressed, let it cool before removing the paper. You want to make sure the sublimation process has been completed.
DOUBLE-SIDED GARDEN FLAG DESIGN
Now I'll show you how to sublimate on a double-sided garden flag! For this example, I will be using the Spring Has Sprung double-sided design.
TIP: If you'd like to personalize the front side of the design, use the garden-flag-double-sided-front-no-text-jennifermaker-PNG and follow the one-sided flag steps above.
The steps are very similar to the single-sided design we just made, except we will do everything twice.
Download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Make sure to use Adobe Acrobat to open the garden-flag-double-sided-front-jennifermaker-PDF and the garden-flag-double-sided-back-jennifermaker-PDF files.
Follow the steps above to print and piece together both the front and back designs, and the steps above to sublimate the design onto the front of your flag.
Once pressed, let it cool completely before removing the paper. You want to make sure the sublimation process has been completed.
Now, repeat the steps above, starting with removing any lint from the back of the flag blank and aligning it face down onto the back side of the flag design.
Continue by following the steps above to press the back side of your flag.
TIP: Make sure to use FRESH butcher paper and cardstock for each side to ensure there is no residual ink transfer.
Let the second side cool before removing the butcher paper.
STEP 5: SHOW IT OFF!
Add a garden flag holder and slide your flag onto the top pole. Secure with the side and top clips and/or stoppers to keep it in place. Here are what my one-sided and two-sided flags look like!
Care instructions: Hand Wash in cold water and hang dry or tumble dry low.
Answers to Your Questions About How to Make a DIY Garden Flag
Q.How do you sublimate a garden flag?
A: By following this tutorial! But seriously, it’s easy. I break it down step by step, and it’s a simple project you can do in about an hour. And blank sublimation garden flags are pretty inexpensive, so you can get a few to practice on!
Q: How long to press a sublimation garden flag?
A: Because of the size of our design, and the limited size of even the largest heat press, we’ll press our single-sided garden flag a total of five times, for 60 seconds each time. For the double-sided flag, we’ll simply repeat the steps for a total of ten total presses at 60 seconds a piece. If you’re making smaller flags, you probably can do each one all at once.
Q: What temperature do you heat press garden flags?
A: Sublimation requires pretty hot temperatures! We’ll be pressing our flags at 380° Fahrenheit (or 193° Celsius). If you use heat transfer vinyl, check the recommended settings on the material packaging. If you need to know the temperatures for other sublimation blanks. check out the Sublimation Cookbook with handy one-page “recipes” for over 150+ different sublimation projects.
Q: Can you heat press a polyester flag?
A: Sure can! In fact, 100% polyester flags are the only type I recommend for bright, bold results that stand up to those Springtime rainstorms without fading. Other fabric blends tend to fade much more quickly.
Q: Can you overheat sublimation?
A: It’s possible to overheat your sublimation garden flags and cause ghosting or browning of your design, but highly unlikely if you follow my steps.
Q: Do you peel sublimation hot or cold?
A: Always let your sublimation paper cool completely before removing it from your material. This will ensure a nice, crisp, fully sublimated design without any ghosting.
Get my free PNG files to make sublimation garden flags!
I can’t wait to see the gorgeous sublimation garden flags you all create for your yards! Please share your sublimation projects and ask your questions in my Sublimation Made Easy Facebook group where you’ll find over 100,000 sublimation crafters like you, sharing their tips, projects, and inspiration.