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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pallet Wood Fence Board American Flag DIY

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I always love a project that combines the use of loads of tools with math. Yep, I'm a geek...I do math for a living and I'm the daughter of an engineer. Need I say more?! So when I realized that I could use pallet wood or fence boards to make my own DIY American flag for the 4th of July, I knew that I had to do it!  It all started with THIS adorable mantel. Note the cute "beachy" flag?! 


The original post, by Kevin and Layla at The Lettered Cottage  is from 2009.  Of course, it looks familiar, it's all over Pinterest.

Then I saw the cute flag wall decor from Pottery Barn.

What's a girl to do? I don't want to have to choose just one!   So I did what any girl with her own power tools and a week of vacation would do, I made both.  I took a quick trip to The Home Depot to purchase ten,  four foot cedar fence boards ($1.08 each). These are the same boards that I used for the nursery signs that I made a few days ago. 

Then, on Monday morning, I bought these:

I assembled two flags using the same basic design and five boards each. I cut the "fence top" ends off of the boards,  ripped them in half lengthwise,and ripped one of the half-sections in half again (stay with me here, that's a board that's 4 feet long and 1/4 the width of the original board).  Then, I cut that board in half lengthwise (this yields 2 pieces, 23 1/2 inches long which I used to make the bracing strips that go on the back to hold it together). I screwed the flags together with 1 1/4 inch screws, being careful to make sure that they wouldn't go all the way through the front.

 Then came the math. Height divided by 13 stripes = 1.88 inches for each stripe. Comeon, really!? 

After realizing that I had 1 1/2 and 2 inch blue tape and neither of them would work,  I went to the hardware store to buy Frog Tape which is exactly .90 inches wide. I used two pieces side-by-side and it worked perfectly.  Next came the paint. I used an old trick that I learned in art school: I applied several different colors of red using a plastic spatula. This gave the piece an aged look even before I sanded it.

I did the same thing for the blue ground for the stars. Then, it was on to the math for the stars. You don't really want to go into that, do you!?  Let's just say that it wasn't easy and admit that I just eyeballed the placement...and yes, there really are 50 of them, trust me, I counted.

The piece was sanded and glazed. Then, I added a little Serendipity


Next, I moved on to the "beachy" flag. I used the same basic design but this time, I did fewer, wider, stripes and made them a single color (ASCP Old White mixed 1:2 with Duck Egg). The star ground was two shades of blue, put on with a spatula.

 I was trying to figure out a more "nautical" feel for the "America" that I put in the lower right corner. I thought about rope, considered dipping it in Elmer's Glue, then, in what was either a moment of brilliance or a rush that was likely induced by the three Diet Coke's that I had before eleven  this morning, I figured out that I could "write" on a nylon cutting board with hot glue and stick the rope to the glue. Then, when I allowed it to cool, I simply peeled it from the board and, viola!, the letters held their shape!!!!!

 So, there you have it. One flag, two ways.


Resource list:
Lumber and hemp rope: Home Depot
Paint: Annie Sloan Olde White (for all of the white) and Duck Egg for the beachy stripes
          Various shades of acrylic craft paint for the remainder of the painting
Starfish: Ebay
Star stencil: left from a project that I did when my now 17 year old son was two years old and going through his "spaceman" phase. Yeah, I actually hung onto it for that long...and managed to find it!

Linking to:

AKA Design 
Beyond the Picket Fence 
Coastal Charm 
Common Ground
Embracing Change 
Family and Home Life 
Home Stories A to Z 
House of Hepworth 
Itsy Bitsy Paper 
Not Just A Housewife 


  1. This is beautiful! I hope you will link up to my Patriotic Project Parade.

  2. They both look great! I'm impressed with your skill.

  3. I love these flag projects, they are awesome. I am wondering about how you put america on the Patriotic Flag. Was it just had written. The rope idea was just plain genius. :)

  4. I love both of your flag projects. The america written with rope was just plain genius. Did you just write america on the Patriotic Flag?

    1. Hi Penne, Yes, just written and then painted in dark blue with a bright blue highlight and chocolate glaze shadow.

  5. Hi, I just love how you did the stars on the American flag and the america in the right corner is such a nice touch.

    kindredly, Lynnie

  6. Taking a look around your site, and I found these flags! Very nice!!

  7. And Im a new follower...I gotta see the new name! etc...

  8. What pretty colors in your flag and I adore the starfish idea!
    Thanks for linking up this week!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  9. Stopping over from your feature at Embracing Change. Love your beachy flag and love your blog design.


  10. I agree with Bliss! You new design looks great! Featured you today - great job! I love that Beachy flag and have to make one as well!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    1. Thanks, Stacey! Both your kind words and the feature mean the world to me!I hope that you know that! Hugs, Kimberly

  11. LOVED this post, please link it with me tomorrow at Wow Us Wednesday!

  12. I love both the flags but I especially have a little extra love for the blue one, it looks so amazing in your place on the mantle and even better it can stay there after the 4th of July too.. :) thanks for linking up at Friday fun party.. I am pinning this!

  13. I love the star fish one its beautiful xxx

  14. looks great! love both of them!

    Jenifer @ decorated chaos

  15. This is a fabulous over-the-top tutorial! I love BOTH of the flags! I am re-doing one of my bedrooms in an Americana theme and would LOVE to make the American flag!!!!
    Please stop by and join TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS, my brand new linky party! Your post would be such a hit!

  16. Visiting from Stone Gable TTT party! Loved this post and loved both of the flags!

  17. I love these! Such a great idea. Totally pinning.

  18. love them both--tfs:) awesome beachy flag!

    1. Thanks, Lynn! Im partial to that one myself!

  19. Love them! Thanks for sharing at Creative Things Thursday!

  20. Your flags are awesome -- not sure which one I like more, they're both so great :) Visiting from Tatertots & Jello!

    Charlie @ Match Made On Hudson

  21. oh how I love your adorable blog! Your flags are great! Love the "america" touch....fabulous job!

  22. i absolutely love the beachy flag! fabulous!


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