I like to take my time so that they come out good.Taylor Swint
SPRINGFIELD — Twelve-year-old Taylor Swint is providing patriotic citizens a beautiful way to express their love and concern for their nation.
Swint is building and selling wooden replicas of the American flag. Some feature blue or red lines as a show of support for law enforcement officers and firefighters, respectively.
Profits from the sell of the flags is donated to local first responder agencies.
The flag project emerged from the union of two ideas for a scrap piece of lumber.
“I wanted to paint it red, white and blue but my stepdad (Chris Proctor) said it would look cool stained,” Swint said. “Then I said, ‘Why don’t we make a stained American flag?”
Swint was so impressed with the result of the staining that she decided to make more flags. She soon found out that her family members, friends and neighbors were equally dazzled.
“I made a flyer the night before (to advertise the flags),” Swint said. “I have an app on my phone that makes little pictures and stuff so I made a picture and my mom (Alex MacMillian Proctor) posted it on Facebook,” Swint said. “By 6:30 the next morning, I already had 10 orders. It just started growing.”
The cost of a flag with a painted line is $12. A regular flag costs $10.
Flags — she has constructed nearly 100 of them, including one for the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office — weren’t part of Swint’s repertoire when she started woodworking a couple days after Mother’s Day.
“I made my grandma, my great-grandma, my other grandma and my mom a sign for Mothers Day and it said, ‘Home,’” Swint explained. “Then my aunt saw it when she went to my great-grandma’s house and asked her if I could make her one like that but it would say her last name instead of ‘Home.’ When I made that, she said, ‘I will give you money for it.
“I though, ‘Oh. OK.”
Swint has had an artistic flair for quite some time.
“Ever since I was young, I have loved to draw,” she said. “I wasn’t very good at it but I just loved to do it.”
Swint used to spend hours coloring pictures in adult coloring books.
“In the last year or two, I have been painting a lot,” she said. “If it’s a rainy day, I will go on the back porch and paint a picture of something. I do Disney photos so I have a bunch of them in my room.”
Swift has painted scenes from “Up,” “Monsters, Inc.” and other movies. She also likes to paint Olaf from “Frozen.”
“They don’t look like Bob Ross (painted them) but, I mean, in my book, they are pretty good,” Swint said.
She builds each of her flags with a great sense of anticipation.
“Once it’s taped up, you don’t know what it’s going to come out like,” she said. “They usually come out different.”
Usually, Swint is a one-person assembly line in her stepdad’s “Man Cave,” which is filled with construction equipment. She cuts, sands and stains the 1x6 boards in the steamy metal building by herself except on rare occasions when her mother assists.
“I can make a lot in one day, probably 20 to 25 or maybe a little bit more,” Swint said. “I like to take my time so that they come out good.”
Swint’s business has been boosted by donations that help her maintain her stock of supplies.
“My grandma gave me $100,” she said. “My mom’s friend from Texas gave me $50. My Papa came up all the way from Savannah and took me shopping.”
Swint devotes most of her awake time building flags. Her lone diversion is the Ebenezer Middle School softball team.
“I’ve been doing conditioning, which is kind of like practice,” she said. “We haven’t had tryouts yet because of the whole COVID-19 thing but I am a big softball player. I’ve been playing softball since I was little.”
Occasionally while in the “Man Cave,” Swint diverts from making flags. She built of collage of nuts and bolts for a Father’s Day gift.
“There was something kind of like it on Pinterest but I don’t like to copy stuff,” she said. “I kind of like to make it my own.”
Swint has also made giant pencils that teachers use to decorate the entrances to their classroom.
Swint’s mother is proud that her daughter is devoting her time to constructive pursuits, especially the flags that support first responders.
“It always gives you a warm feeling to know that you brought positivity,” Mrs. Proctor said. “They need it. That’s for sure.”
To order a flag or another one of Swint’s creations, visit https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33022892.