USA USA USA!! That's right folks today I'm going to show you how to convert a 2x4 into a sweet American Flag per official Standards and regulations.
Follow this link to determine what your measurements should be:
For this project our basic flag dimensions will be 18"x34" with 1" dia stars!!
- miter saw
- table saw
- tape measure
- propane torch
- wood chisel and mallet
- wood glue
- 23mm pin nailer/compressor
- spray paint/stencil
- 1/2" plywood for backer
You could always use other tools to complete this project but these will speed things up greatly.
Alright lets do this!!
Step 1: Making the Stencil
So this part isn't so glamorous and comes in as the second to worst part of the project right behind chiseling out the stars but we'll get to that later.
First thing first. print out the diagram from the link and do all your calculations. This will allow you to make a grid work for your stars placement, do this on a manila folder or poster board. I went to Walmart and found a pack of foam star stickers that happened to have exactly 1"dia stars and laid them out onto the grid work.
After doing this, trace around them with a fine tip pen or pencil and remove the stickers. (TIP- you don't need to do all 50 stars just enough to start the pattern and then you can overlap the stencil to keep the pattern going)
Once traced its time to bust out the handy dandy X-acto knife and cut those little stars out. Take your time and be careful not to cut your fingers.
Congrats your done. Not to bad right!
Step 2: And Then There Was Sawdust!
So its time to start cutting. I started with a rough cut 2X4 and cut it down on the miter saw the length of my short stripes, long stripes and the length of my union(area where the stars are).
Once you have done that its time to rip the 2x4 in to slats on the table saw. I moved the fence to roughly 3/8" of an inch and using multiple passes ripped the 2x4( you will be ripping this board so that the 2' side is on the table. it will yield slats that are 3/8' x 4" wide)
Once you have all your slats it is time to rip those into slats for your stripes. Determine the size of your stripe using your calculations and adjust your fence and start cutting.
You can see in the pictures the process of how the 2x4 is broke down. I did not show it being milled.
You should end up with 7 short strips and 6 long as well as some pieces for the union.
To make the union take your slats and edge glue them together( this is optional as you will be mounting them to a piece of plywood anyway)
Step 3: Lets Build
ok so you have made your stencil and cut out all you pieces time to make this look like a flag.
First thing you will need to do is play with fire(adult supervision recommended). Take 4 short stripes and 3 long and burn one side of them with the torch. You can really get them burnt or just a little depending on your preference. Dont be alarmed if this causes the wood to warp a little it will be fine.
Ok, the wood has cooled down and no longer smoking. Take a piece of plywood and cut it to your flags dimensions. Once complete start in the top left corner and using wood glue and your pin nailer(wood glue alone may work but you will need to apply downward force to hold everything in place while it dries) attach the union to the plywood. From there its simple start with the top stripe and work your way down until it is all attached.
If you would like you can choose to wrap the edges with trim. You will see this later on.
Step 4: Time to Carve!
So here is the hardest and most time consuming part. As seen earlier use your stencil to spray paint the stars onto the union.
STOP!!!! if you don't have chisels or just don't want to to the work you can always just leave the stars painted!!
For all those ready for more, slowly carve out each star using a chisel. This is not all the way through the wood but just a relief. I recommend outlining the star with the chisel first to prevent tear out.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
You made it to the end CONGRATS!
I finished my flag off by staining the entire piece and wiping off certain areas more than other to achieve some contrast. You can choose to finish yours however you would like.
If You plan to hang on the wall i recommend using a french cleat(google it) to hang it. Make some trim the thickness of the flag plus the french cleat. This will provide you with a clean look once hung with no way to see how it was hung.
Step 6: But What About the Table!!
Glad you asked.
If you would like, grab some of your favorite coffee table legs, I used some hairpin legs i had laying around and temporarily clamp them on to check it out. Add a piece of glass to the top and boom crazy awesome coffee table. Great for anyone. Hope you liked the project!!! Cheers!!!