Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stars and Stripes: Old Barn Style from a Pallet

This morning I was looking at this pile of wood:

 And by this evening, I was admiring this (in honor of July 4th):

Last week I wandered back to the trash pile at church again, eyeing the remaining pile of pallets left from our recent construction project.  I knew that I could do something with that wood, rather than let it rot and wait for the fall bonfire. I hauled one of them home, not really sure what I was going to do with it.  After browsing around the web and eyeing numerous wood flags, I knew I had to try one, in my own fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style.

I started by taking apart the pallet, which was no easy task.  I don't think the pallet makers mean for those babies to come apart.  After some backbreaking work involving two sawhorses, a hammer, several crowbars, a mallet, and, later that day much Advil, I finally had enough wood to make my flag.

This morning I laid the wood out, deciding which 4 pieces best sat flat against one another.  Next, I flipped them all over, took a piece of wood that split when demoing the pallet, cut it in half with the jig saw, then stapled the two pieces to the back side of the sign.  This was to fasten and hold the pieces all together.

If you are not fortunate enough to have a husband who understands your love language and bought you a pneumatic nail/staple gun last Christmas (thanks, Honey), you could use a drill and some screws to put the supports on the back instead.

Flipping it back over, I then taped off some stripes with painter's tape.  I really just eyed this, not wanting to be too precise.  The whole feel that I was going for with this flag was a "someone once painted a flag on the side of a barn and when, years later, the barn was demolished, this was cut out and saved and now lives at my house" type of feeling. Once taped off, I painted the white stripes with craft paint - the kind that costs about $1 at the craft store - using a cheapo sponge brush.

After that (which took about 5 minutes), I pulled the tape right off and painted the red craft paint in between the white stripes, not even bothering to tape off the white or wait for it to dry.  Again, I did not want this to look too precise.  I even used the same pink paper plate and sponge brush for the red paint, not even bothering to wash the brush first.  I am a rebel like that.

I finished with blue craft paint in the upper left corner, then sat the whole project aside to dry for a bit.  While it dried, I was busy making stars with my Cricut machine.  If you do not have one of these cutting machines, you could just print stars off on your computer and cut them out by hand, or you could buy some white star stickers at the craft store, or just wing-it and do them by hand with white paint right over the (dry) blue paint.

I then used Mod Podge to put them on the flag after the blue paint was dry.  I painted the blue rectangle all over with the Mod Podge, then placed 13 stars in a circle (I wanted to do a colonial version of the flag, as the original U.S. flag only had 13 ), and painted over them with Mod Podge.  Once dry, I put a second layer of MP over the stars just to make sure they would stay put and not be tempted to curl up at the edges.

And that is all there was to it.  For now I have it on my mantle inside the house, but my plan is to sand it a bit once it has dried for several days (to make it look even more aged), then cover it with several layers of clear outdoor polyurethane and hang it by the deck outside.

This would be quite easy and quick to make if you have wood ready to go.  I will try the pallet demo again, but I am thinking I need to purchase or borrow a sawsall for the next go 'round!


  1. Yep, with a sawsall you could cut right through those nails. This year's Christmas list! I'm definitely making one of these. Thanks

  2. I like this too, glad you are such a rebel with your painting syle!