We love to decorate our flowerbeds and gardens with things that we make. Wood ornaments or yard stakes are a great way to do that all year round or for certain holidays and occasions. The American Flag Yard Stake is something that we had wanted to make for some time now to place in our front flowerbeds for the summer and the upcoming 4th of July holiday.
It is an extremely simple project and one that can be made in a decently short amount of time. It only requires a few items to make it and can often be made out of reclaimed materials.
What we used to make it:
- 1/4" Plywood (for the star)
- Star pattern (download on our website)
- Pine board or other (for stake)
- Tools - band saw, table saw, sander, screwdriver, drill or drill press, paint brushes
- Other materials - various paints, clear finish, sandpaper
Step 1: Check Out the Video
Often times a step is more easily understood when you can see the whole process. Take a couple of minutes and check out the short build video that we have included. It shows a lot more of the entire build.
Step 2: Creating the Star
If you would like to make the star identical to ours, you are more than welcome to download our free star pattern. Either way this step is pretty straightforward and really simple. Apply the pattern to the plywood (we used 1/4") and then cut it out with your saw of choice. We used the band saw for all of the cuts.
We also used full page shipping labels for the pattern.
Step 3: More Stars and Adding the Paint Lines
We decided to make multiple stars for this project. Two of them were made for our front flower beds and the other four we listed for sale on our Etsy store.
We marked all of the paint lines during this step. This will allow us to see where we need to paint in the following steps. It may seem like a ridiculous concept considering what do in the next step, but it actually worked pretty well.
The line layout is to resemble the bottom corner of the blue swath on the American flag and its bordering stripes. The lines can be laid out however you like. We just used the width of the square to make the lines.
Step 4: Paint, Paint, Paint...
There are multiple steps to the painting process... at least how we did it.
The first thing we did after drawing all the lines onto the wood, was to spray the face with white spray paint. This allowed the lines to still show through, but gave us a decent base coat to get started.
We then trimmed the edges of the stars with black acrylic paint and then coated the back of the stars with black spray paint.
Filling in the stripes and the blue swath was incredibly easy, time consuming, but easy. The presence of the lines we had placed earlier made it... not so bad. We used a piece of wood as a straight edge. When placed on the pre-existing lines it works out really well. It also covered the pencil lines.
We used regular acrylic craft paint that you can get at just about any big box or craft store.
Step 5: Weathering or Wearing the Stars
We wanted to give the stars an older, rustic feel. To do this, we just scratched up the front, edges, sides and back with 80-grit sandpaper. You can have fun with this part and make it unique. After it was worn to our liking we also went over it gently with some finer grit sandpaper.
The last thing to do is spray on some clear finish. We used semi-gloss.
Step 6: The Stake
We bought a short 3' section of pine board at out local home improvement store. We ripped this down into 2" strips on the table saw to create what will become the stake that the star attaches to.
We cut the strips into 12" sections and then crudely drew on a point. We cut it to a point on the band saw and then smoothed it and shaped it on the belt sander. The size and shape of the stake doesn't really matter. It just needs to be wide enough so that you can screw the star to it.
The stake also gets a coat of clear finish to help resist weathering a bit.
Step 7: Attaching the Star to the Stake
To attach the star to the stake, we drilled two holes; one at the corner of the blue and one in the middle of the lower red stripe. The star was then positioned near the top of the stake and screws were added to fasten it to the stake.
We opted for screws, rather than glue or nails, so that the star could be removed if we ever wanted to change the length of the stake or if the stake would ever break. This makes for super easy removal.
Depending on the screws that you use, you may want to add another coat of clear finish as well to help prevent the screws from rusting. A stainless steel screw would be best, but a zinc plated screw, if you clear coat it, should last quite a while.
Step 8: All Done!
Now that it is complete all that is left is placing it where it needs to go. We placed both of these in out front flower bed on either side of our concrete steps. With a little persuasion from a hammer they went in no problem. They look great and will fit well with all of the future projects we have planned for the flowerbed.
We hope you enjoyed this DIY project and the video that goes along with it. If you have any questions or comments please let us know, we'd be more than happy to help you out. Thanks for checking out this Instructable.