This tutorial will take you through the steps to make a Recycled Wood Flag. The one pictured is the 1863 flag used in the middle of the Civil War, but you can arrange the stars however you wish to. I made this flag because it was a Christmas gift to a friend who participates in Civil War re-enactments, and just purchased a new home.
This would make a great porch decoration, fence decoration, or even an accent inside your home.
All materials, save for some hardware for assembly, are recycled from demolition projects.
The size of the flag can be altered if need be, depending on the type of wood you can locate.
Step 1: Materials
For this project I used 1x6 planks and 1x2 planks that I ripped off the wall during a wood-shop renovation project.
I cut 5 of the 1x6 planks to equal length (picture 1), and 2 of the 1x2 planks (picture 2) to be used as fasteners to hold the 1x6 planks together.
The 1x2 planks should be equal to the height of the 1x6 planks together (picture 3).
Step 2: Board Preparation
For this step, I sanded down the side that will be painted, making it a smooth surface. I didn't worry about the backs of the boards, as I just coated the back of the flag in a thin layer of white spray paint to clean it up.
You can sand down the sides of the boards if you would like it, but that all comes down to personal preference and what condition the reclaimed boards are in.
Step 3: Flag Assembly
Picture 1: Using a long clamp, place all the boards together on a smooth, level surface (I used my table saw with the blade retracted) and clamp them together. If you fasten the clamp too tight, the boards will buckle, so use just enough tension so that everything is flush and pressed together.
Take your first 1x2 board and place it across the 1x6 planks. Because the total depth of the wood is 2 inches, I used 1 5/8 wood screws to fasten down the 1x2 board. Repeat this step for the other side. You may also add a third fastening board in the middle if you would like to.
Picture 2 is what everything should look like at the end of this step (middle fastening board not included)
Step 4: Hanger
Using old wire I found somewhere, electrical connectors, and wood screws, I fashioned a 100% completely free hanger. Just pinch the electrical connectors over the wire, and drive a screw through the middle of the electrical connector (not tight, so there is slack for the wire to move). Boom, done!
Step 5: Base Coat
Take the flag to a well ventilated area to apply the first coat of white spray paint.
**Note: I like to use spray paint because you can still see the wood grain. Depending on the look you're going for, brushed on paints will also work.
Don't go too thick, because there will be additional colors to spray on top of the base coat.
Step 6: Flag Dimensions
To create as accurate of a flag as possible, pull up an image of the flag you plan to make, measure the length and width of your wooden flag, and decide how much area each portion will need to take up.
For instance, if you pull up an image of any US flag that uses 13 stripes, you will notice that the blue square area takes up about 1/3 of the length of the flag.
Additionally, the blue square borders 4 red stripes and 3 white stripes, with the first full length stripe (just below the blue square) being white. So the blue square measures 7 stripes in height. This is the standard for flags from 1818 to present.
Keep all of these things in mind when proceeding through the next steps, as I will not give exact measurements.
Step 7: The Blue Square
After you have drawn out the dimensions of the flag you wish to replicate, the first step is to create the blue square in the left corner of the flag.
I measured the desired area for the blue square and layered the rest of the flag with card stock.
Step 8: The White Stars
This is the most time intensive part of the project.
Cut up and tape together card stock so you have a sheet the exact same dimensions as the blue square you just painted (picture 1). Then using your measuring skills, figure out how big the stars need to be for whatever arrangement you have. Again, this is the flag used in 1863 (Civil War), so unless you want to make this exact flag, you will need to figure out the arrangement appropriate for the flag you're making.
I cut out one star and then traced the rest onto the assembled card stock (picture 2), then cut out each star with an Exact-o Knife (picture 3).
Take the card stock sheet of cut out stars and place it over the blue area of the flag. Take white spray paint and lightly go over the stars a few time (to prevent bleeding). When satisfied with the amount of paint, let everything dry for a few minutes before removing the card stock (picture 4).
Step 9: Red Stripes
After you've figured out how thick the stripes will be (make them all equal!!), cut strips of card stock according to those measurements and place them on the flag. Cover up the blue area with card stock as well. I put pieces of tape over the strips of card stock at the ends to secure them.
Take your red spray paint and lightly go over everything that is exposed. Again, lightly is the key word because you don't want anything to bleed.
Let everything dry for a few minutes before removing the strips of card stock.
The finished product should be allowed to dry and air out for a couple days before bringing it indoors.