Antique Pallet Wood Americian Flag




Posted in WorkshopWoodworking

Introduction: Antique Pallet Wood Americian Flag

About: US. NAVY Veteran. weekend wood worker, that likes to challenge myself with unique projects.

I would see these types of flags, they would range from $200-$300. Made from pine and painted to look old. So I thought to myself I can do that, and so can you. Only difference is our flags will be real distressed hardwood. So lets get started. Here is what you will need to make you own beautiful Treasure; from Trash.

If you enjoy this instructable, please hit the heart and give it a like and thank you for your vote .


Old shipping pallet try and get the hard wood ones

Painters tape

Sand paper. 80 and 100 grit

Wood glue

Wood Saw (circular, Jigsaw, Table saw)

Tape measure

Screws, nails, or air brad 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)

Trash to Treasure

This is an entry in the
Trash to Treasure

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 and bottom sections. 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 . Don't worry if your boards have cracks or holes, that only makes them look better.

Step 2: Measurments and Cutting / Paint

Official US Proportions used

Now that you have your boards, you will need to cut them into 1.5" strips. You can use a 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).

Measurements for a smaller version of this project are noted in the "Finishing up" step of the instructions

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, but 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.) Also make sure whatever you decide to use to secure the strips to the flag portion that they aren't so long that they punch thru to the other side.

Step 4: Stars, Two Methods.

The stars are1" . 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: Customize

You can add a stencil, as shown here. For this step I cut out this pattern, and used a light brown acrylic paint and a flat top stencil brush. You can get the same results just by using a regular brush and tapping around the stencil. Remember you want that distressed look.

Remember to do this step before applying the finish coat.

You can also add a frame.

Step 6: 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".

Semper Fortis

Step 7: 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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5 Tips


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


1 Questions

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.


Thank you. I think it gives it character

I am working on kitchen cabinets at the moment. BIG project. But I have to do this for the Fourth of July! Your project made me think of the Fort Henry, Frances Scot Key, who wrote our National Anthem in 1812 -- years before we fought against Slavery. You might like this:

Oh yes! I voted and downloaded your instructions too!

I watched this video! It is amazing and took my breath away! Lovetra thank you for sharing it

Are you talking about the build of the Pallet Flag or

the Star Spangled Banner as Never Seen Before? If it is about our National Anthem written during the war of 1812-- yes it is spine shivering. It is too bad more Americans don't really know all that Flag stands for and so many of our Universities do not even teach American History anymore. Maybe we wouldn't have so many protestors. Just my Opinion. I am glad you liked and found it worth sharing. I loved the Pallet Flag and the Video about our National Anthem and found them both worth sharing. Thank you!

The story of the Star Spangled Banner. Thank you for sharing that. It is lovely!

Oh the kitchen cabinet makeover, I remember it well. It sure is a BIG job. I have seen this video a few times, and absolutely love it! Thanks you for sharing it. I love everything American ands especially the revolutionary times ,perhaps that is why I live 3 miles from Valley Forge? Thank you again for the kind words and for your vote.

Semper Fortis

Oh, and thank you for your vote

How can anybody not like your project. Bravo sir, Bravo. Salute!

2 replies

Thank you for your vote

Thanks. What's great is they all turn out looking different because of the inconsistency of the wood.

Thank you for your vote.

Thank you Sir. glad you liked the project. Can I count on your vote?

Thank you

Grazie ! can I get your vote?