Orcas: How to make our reusable banners

XR Scotland Orcas is a water-based group taking actions for a better future for our planet and our communities.

So far, at most of our actions we’ve been using a different type of banner to the more traditional style banner seen on land-based actions. We were taught this method by our lovely friends from Backbone Campaign, an organisation at the forefront of progressive change in the USA.

The banners we use are very adaptable and flexible for different types of land use but there are very good reasons for using the net style banner on the seas.

It’s lightweight, durable and allows the wind through so it doesn’t act as a sail and take the Orcas all the way to Norway. It also saves a lot of plastic and money although it does take time and a bit of investment to set it all up. Once you’ve made all the letters and characters, you can recycle them into different messages for different actions.

Backbone Campaign have published detailed instructions on making these kind of banners so we recommend you download them. However, the instructions use American products that are not available in Britain. We are definitely not experts at this but hopefully these notes supplement Backbone’s instructions. You can always contact us on xrglasgow@gmail.com if you want any help or have any questions.

We bought Deer mesh: TENAX C Flex Select Fencing where you can buy by the metre.

For the permeable membrane material we used Strotex but other brands could work just as well. You could ask your local builder yards if they have any spare ends they don’t want.

We painted the membrane with Regal prime and seal, left it for 24 hrs to cure and then two coats of Regal’s brightest orange outdoor paint (decorative gloss exterior metal paint) we could find as we couldn’t find the paint Backbone Campaign used.

We bought a couple of IGADPole 17 foot (5m) telescopic poles that cost about £65 each. This gives us great flexibility with hoisting banners at different heights. We tie the netting to the poles using bungee toggles.

We used the Backbone Campaign’s character template and got our local printer to print them out on A3 card paper.

We then used the card to trace out the letters on the painted membrane. We cut them out with some heavy scissors, punched holes in them with a normal office hole puncher and then tie the letters to the netting using twist ties which can be reused.

If you save some money, please make a donation to Backbone Campaign to help them do more of their amazing work.