Pallet Wood Fence Board American Flag DIY

Pin It

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