Introduction: Antique Pallet Wood Americian Flag
old shipping pallet try and get the hard wood ones
sand paper. 80 and 100 grit
screws, nails, or air nailer
2 long clamps (optional) but recommended that open at least 24"
paint Brushes, Red ,White ,Blue acrylic paint
your favorite finish
Pry bar ( or similar) to dismantle the pallet.( There are many instructables on how to do this step)
Step 1: Prep the Wood
This is a very simple way to use an old shipping pallet and transform trash into a beautiful wall decoration and heirloom. They also make great gifts. First take an old pallet (the older the better). They are easily found almost anywhere. If you ask the store owner they will gladly give them to you. The next step is to take them apart. Your mainly going to be concerned with the top section. Carefully use a pry bar and hammer to remove the nails.( This step takes some patience ,but you can do it). After removing the boards, inspect and make sure that there are no nails or staples left in any of the boards. At this point you can do a very light sanding to remove any dirt. 80grit paper .
Step 2: Measurments and Cutting / Paint
Now that you have your boards, you will need to cut them into 1.5" strips. You can use an table saw, a hand saw , or even a jig saw. Remember this is a rustic flag and perfection is an option. (before cutting with a power saw inspect the boards again to make sure that you have removed all the nails).
So now that we have 13 - 1.5" strips now we need to cut them to length. They should be 37" long. To make the assembly a bit easier, I created a 90 deg "L" shaped jig with some scrap and screw it to my workbench.( You can see the jig in the photo below)
The next step is to paint the sections. I measured over from the top left corner 13.5" for the star field. You will need to do this on 7 pieces. I then used painters tape on that line to make painting easier. Paint 7 of the stripes red (I uses an acrylic craft paint called Scarlet red) and 6 white stripes (same type of paint in an antique white. This dries really fast and cleans easily with water. Next remove the tape and place painters tape over the sections you just painted to move onto painting the star field. (I used Navy blue).
Step 3: Assembly
Here is where the 90 deg jig comes in handy. Now you have all the painted pieces, time to assemble. Place the sections face down on a flat surface.( Make sure that the blue star field is to your bottom left). I find that numbering the backs makes it easier when doing this step. Cut three strips any width long enough to cover all the strips. Place some wood glue on one side of the strips and secure with nails or screws, making sure the sections are pushed together tightly. ( this is where some long clamps will help.)
Step 4: Stars, Two Methods.
The stars at 1" . You can do this anyway you want. I have included two methods. The first way is to go to a craft store or online and you can buy a bag of 1" wood stars and paint them and secure with wood glue.
The second way is the way I do mine. Cover the blue star field with painters tape. Using a stencil ( which can also be found online, or by making one on your computer) cut out the stars with a sharp xacto knife. This can be time consuming, but the payoff will be worth the time. Once they are cut out, paint the cut out sections. Two light coats works better than one heavy coat. It will give your stars nice crisp edges.
Step 5: Finishing Things Up
Okay this is where you can have fun. Now that you have your flag assembled you need to make it look old. Take some sandpaper 100 grit and sand away the strip sections that you have painted, to give it that worn out look. How much is up to you. You can add some blue paint to a small brush and run it thru the red strips and visa versa. If you have access to a torch, you can run the flame over the piece to give it even more depth.(This step will really give the flag another dimension, especially on the bare wood sections and edges) For the finish I use Mini Wax Antique oil finish, Usually about two Heavy coats, but you can use your favorite finish. Spar urethane is recommended for use outdoors.
If you would like to make a smaller version , 22.5" X 13" just cut the sections at 1" wide and a length of 22.5" the stars will be 3/4".
Step 6: Hanging Your Project
I use these picture frame hangers I picked up in the big box store. The kit contains the wire hanger cable which supports 40lbs, plenty strong. I drilled pilot holes in the slats that hold all the pieces together aprox. 4.5 inches from the top. (quick note): when you measure down. measure from the top of the flag and not the support. This way if you supports aren't even across the top, your sure the hangers will be at the same location.
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Hanging your project.
I use these picture frame hangers I picked up in the big box store. The kit contains the wire hanger cable which supports 40lbs, plenty strong. I drilled pilot holes in the slats that hold all the pieces together aprox. 4.5 inches from the top. (quick note): when you measure down. measure from the top of the flag and make the support. This way if you supports aren't even across the top, your sure the hangers will be at the same location.
I'm adding materials left out on the initial list.
Pry bar or similar to pull apart the pallet boards
If you like this project please take a moment to give it your vote.
This kinda defeats the trash to treasure option, but you can always get pre-cut 1.5" boards form the local big box store and use them in place of pallet wood, if you want the NEW look. Another FYI, Lowes sells stain in OG (Old Glory) red ,white and blue that you could also use. Have fun experimenting. That's what make them all so different.
when attaching the slats together, make sure you nail or screw thru each slat to the back supports to hold it all together.
You can also add a frame or a stencil
did you prepare it for hanging? I love flags and would like to make one or more.
Thanks you for your interest in this project. I have added a "TIP" to show the process for hanging the project, and thank you for your vote in trash to treasure contest. If you have any other questions I would be happy to help you out.