Introduction: Easy - Scrap 2x4 End Grain Flag

Do you have a bunch of leftover 2x4 scrap pieces from previous projects? Not sure what to do with it? Why not make an End Grain Flag out of them?



  • Scrap 2x4s of various lengths. Must equal about 140"-150" in total
  • Scrap 2x2 or various other pieces
  • 1/8"-1/4" panel backing 24" x 48"
  • Minwax Crimson red stain
  • Minwax Navy Blue stain
  • Minwax Bombay Mahogany
  • Wood glue
  • Rustoleum Satin clear coat
  • 1" brad nails


  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Foam brushes
  • Star template
  • Miter saw
  • Propane torch
  • brad nailer
  • Dremel with flex shaft
  • Dremel carving bits #106 and #107
  • Bar clamps
  • Sander

Step 1: Design

I make a lot of flags in various sizes and styles, but recently I've been wanting to try some new things. While cleaning up my workshop a few weeks ago, I came across a pile of scrap 2x4 pieces that I have held onto from previous projects. I thought and thought about how I could use these pieces to make a new project and I came up with the idea of slicing the end of the boards off and making an end grain flag out of them.

Most flags I make are 37" x 19 1/2" with 1 1/2" stripes. However, because a 2x4s dimensions are 1 1/2" x 3 1/2", 3 1/2 does not divide evenly into 37, so I settled on making this flag 35" long which would require exactly (10) 2x4 pieces for each row. With 13 rows, that's 130 pieces total. I also decided to cut my pieces into 1" "slices" meaning I would need about 140"-150" in total length of scrap 2x4. This is approximately only (1 1/2) 2x4s. I definitely had that laying around my shop.

Step 2: Gather Scrap Material

For this step gather any 2x4 scrap pieces you may have laying around, you need about 140"-150". If you are planning on just purchasing the material, you only need (2) 2x4x8 and a 1/8"-1/4" panel for the backing.

To show that this was truly all scrap material, the longest piece of 2x4 I used was a little over 44" long.

Step 3: Cut the Scrap

For this step, I set my table saw to 1" and began slicing my scrap 2x4s into 1" pieces. If you don't have a table saw, this can also be done with just a miter saw. Keep cutting until all 130 pieces have been cut.

Step 4: Layout Pattern

After all 130 pieces have been cut, layout all 130 pieces in rows of 10 and columns of 13. Begin rearranging the pieces into a pattern if you would like. I used a combination of pressure-treated wood and non-treated which allowed me to come up with a unique pattern.

Note: The pressure-treated wood I used is chemical-free and is safe to use indoors.

The pressure treated wood had an arch-shaped end grain and was darker in color and I used it to create a wave-like pattern alternating the arches. The non-treated wood was brighter in color and had tight circular patterns on them, so I used this as my white stripes and the union portion of the flag.

Step 5: Burn the Wood

For this step, I used a propane torch and lightly hit the red stripe pieces and the union area only. This helps bring out the end grain pattern and gives the flag a unique look. I chose not to burn the pieces of the white stripes.

Step 6: Stain the Wood

For the red stain, I used Minwax crimson red. And for the blue stain, I used Minwax navy blue. To apply the stain, I like to use foam brushes. I find this to be the quickest and cleanest method for applying the stain. You can also use lint-free rags or cloths to apply it as well.

Step 7: Framing

To make the frame, I had some scrap 2x2s laying around, but you could also just use a 2x4 and rip in half if you would like. Start by measuring the width of the pieces all together. It should measure around 35". Because 2x4s aren't always exactly 3 1/2", mine measured out to be 35 1/4". Not bad. This measurement is for your top and bottom frame pieces. Using a miter saw, cut the top and bottom frame pieces to length.

For the side frame pieces, take your newly cut top and bottom pieces and clamp them onto the flag pieces. Clamp everything snugly together and measure the height. Mine came out to be 22 5/8". Using the miter saw, cut your 2 side frame pieces, using the height you just measured. Sand if necessary.

Once all 4 pieces are cut to length, use the propane torch and lightly burn all sides of the frame pieces.

Step 8: Stain the Frame

After all frame pieces have been cut and burned, stain all 4 pieces brown. The stain I used is Minwax Bombay Mahogany if you would like to follow my exact color choice.

To take the scrap challenge a little further, I even had to reuse a foam brush because I didn't realize I was out of them. This wasn't done intentionally. So I took the foam brush I had used for the navy blue stain a day before and cut off the stained portioned and use what was left for the brown. This worked surprisingly well. I plan on doing this in the future from now on.

Step 9: Cut the Back Panel

This was the only piece of wood I had to purchase for this project. Usually, I have several pieces of paneling laying around my shop, but I used the last one up on my previous project.

Take a half sheet (24x48) of 1/8"-1/4" plywood and using the table saw or circular saw, cut it down to the overall dimensions of your flag including the frame. I wrote my measurements down on the panel so I wouldn't forget. It was cut to 38 1/8" x 22 5/8".

Step 10: Assembling and Gluing

To begin assembling and gluing, start with your panel and frame pieces. Begin with the right frame piece and apply wood glue to the underside of it and line it up with the edge of the 1/4" backing panel. Now using 1" brad nails, nail the frame piece in place from the backside of the panel. Then attach the bottom frame piece using the same method. Finally, attach the left frame piece. Do not attach the top frame piece just yet.

Once all 3 of the frame pieces are attached to the panel, begin gluing on the 2x4 flag pieces. Starting with the left side, apply a liberal amount of glue to the panel, and carefully glue on each piece, working left to right, bottom to top, paying close attention to the wave pattern. Work quickly until all (130) 2x4 pieces are in place.

Lastly, apply glue to the bottom of the top frame piece and clamp it onto the rest of the flag. With the clamps in place, brad nail the final frame piece to the panel.

Wipe off any excess glue that may have squeezed out.

Step 11: Carving Stars

For this project, I decided to do a Betsy Ross flag. I felt that it gave it that old-fashion and rustic look I was wanting. The template for it can be found on Amazon, or you can choose to do the traditional 50-star flag which can also be found on Amazon.

Layout the star template in the upper left-hand corner and begin tracing the stars with a pencil. After all the stars have been traced, use a Dremel or rotary tool with a flex shaft, and Dremel bit #106, begin carefully carving out the outline of the stars. I like to start with all of the same lines of the stars first and then move on to the next until the outline is complete.

Finish outlining the stars, then use Dremel bit #107 to carve the inside of the stars blowing off the dust as you go. If you'd like, you can go back with the #106 bit and sharpen up the points of the stars and clean up any rounded points and edges.

Step 12: Final Touches

If you haven't already done so, apply brown stain to the edges of the 1/4" backing. To make the colors more vibrant and give it a nice clear coat finish, I apply 2-3 light coats of Rustoleum Satin Clearcoat and do a light sanding between each coat. This step really brings out the colors. Attach appropriate mounting hardware if you'd like according to the hardware's instructions. Hang on your wall and enjoy your new easy scrap 2x4 end grain flag!

I hope you enjoyed this instructable, and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask me and I will try and respond as quickly as I can.

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