Monday, May 16, 2011

Tutorial: Americana Flag Decor

Flag 1

I’ve had quite a few emails about this flag and I am thrilled that you like it as much as I do.  Just working on it brought back lots of memories and I am so glad to have it displayed on my wall again!

good quality wood
acrylic craft paints – red, cream, blue
wood stain
wood glaze
slender nails
picture hanger
electric sander or sand paper
wire cutters

Draw a pattern for the flag on large sheets of paper such as butcher paper or newspaper taped together.
This is the basic design (excuse the simplicity of this drawing!) but there should be one change. Because you are going to leave empty space between each stripe, you will want to make the blue field longer and wider than the stripes. I forgot this when I orginally made my flag and would definitely do it if I ever make another one. This way, you will be able to put more space between each stripe and between the blue field and the upper stripes.
Flag Diagram
Cut each piece of the flag out of wood and sand all surfaces smooth.
If you use plywood or another type of cheap wood, the edges won’t be as pretty which is why I wanted a quality wood. My uncle cut these for me and he used a super nice wood that I almost didn’t want to paint! If you are going for a more primitive look, though, the more banged up it is, the better!

Paint each piece.
I added black paint to both the red and the navy blue to get super dark colors.
To make the stars in a circle, I traced a bowl on the blue field. Then I cut my stars out of paper and placed them around the circle so they would be spaced the way I wanted. I traced around each star pattern and filled it in with cream paint.
Flag 4

For the American Crafter Contest, I knew I wanted to get my flag back on my walls, but it needed a major makeover. So this where the antiquing came in. 

Sand the edges and the face of the flag pieces to strip off some paint.
I had completely forgotten that I had done the stars 3 times, but when I started sanding, I uncovered a few of my mistakes and I was so in love with the way they looked for the new project!
Flag 5

The stripes got the same treatment with the sander:
Flag 3Flag 6

Next, add a glaze and stain combo to each piece and then wipe it off a bit.
I tried the premixed glaze first and liked it, but it didn’t have enough color for me, so I added a bit of stain to it. I bought the water-based stain at Lowe’s and they mixed it with a walnut color to make it. I just mixed the glaze with the stain in a cup until it looked about right to me. Who knows what right is, but it worked out perfectly!Flag 9

After doing several of the pieces, I could no longer see the difference between the stained ones and the non stained ones, so I placed them side by side just to be sure it was better with the stain—and it is definitely better!Flag 12

Lay the flag out on the floor the way you would like.
Flag 14

Unless you marked the wood as you cut it (mine wasn’t), you will need to play with it to get it just right. I actually wrote an L for left side because I was getting so confused. I added the number of the stripe from top down and an arrow pointing to the top. Kind of crazy, but I have been really grateful for these markings every time I have hung this flag! It gets really confusing otherwise. Flag 11

Put a picture hanger on the back of the blue field and hang it on the wall.
This is an excellent time to use a large piece of craft paper or newspaper to figure out where to hang the flag before you start hanging each piece. I always start with the blue field and then work on the stripes from the top down. I always end up moving several after I put them up and, frequently, move them again a few days later after walking past it several times and noticing little changes I want to make!Flag 15

Hammer 3 or 4 slender nails into each stripe.
Once they nails are in, use wire cutters to cut the heads off of the nails.

Because the nails are slender, they will be pointy enough to act like tacks and you can push the stripes into the wall easily. I’ve never had a stripe fall off so I think it is a pretty good method. Plus, the holes are tiny in the wall which is especially helpful for me because I have a tendency to move each stripe once or twice before I am completely happy with its placement!Flag 13

Hang the stripes by holding each in the right place and then gently pushing the tacks into the wall. Flag 16

And it is done!Flag 7

The colors, the style, all of it—probably not the trendiest piece of artwork, but I love it even more than I did when I made it way back when. Sometimes, it’s important to surround ourselves with the things we love simply because we love them!

I’m so glad I brought this flag back to life in my home!
Flag 10

This flag has a lot of meaning for me, on several levels, and I get a little surge of delight every time I walk past it.Flag 2

You may find this interesting, though…I took these pictures off of the wall to put my flag up. (And, really, they weren’t big enough for the space, but I like them so they were there.)
Flag 8

I went to bed late the night I finished hanging my flag, but that didn’t stop me from bolting upright, instantly awake, at 3:00 AM when we heard a crash and breaking glass. My husband raced downstairs to see what had happened while I sat with the phone in my hand ready to dial 911. I was sure someone had broken into our home through a window and I was terrified. It turns out one of the baby pictures had fallen off of the wall where I had re-hung them and glass shattered everywhere. Whewww!

I guess I was a bit hasty in putting those pictures up! I never did go back to sleep—I was still petrified. So glad my husband was home that night since he had been out of town for the previous 2 weeks. You know I would have taken anyone down though if I had to. I would have been shaking in my shoes, but would have protected my girls like a Mama Bear! I am pretty relieved it didn’t come to that, though!!

So, yep, that’s the new/old flag!

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La-Dee-da crafter,  said... May 16, 2011 at 10:07 AM  

love this. I love how the stripes are wavy, just adds so much. I wanted to invite you to an event I am having over at my blog to support the troops this month. Even in blog land we can show our support.
Thanks for sharing your flag.

AsylumTanya,  said... May 16, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

I have loved Patriotic decor since I was a little child. Then, my daughter was born on the 4th of July so I REALLY love it. (Plus, she'll always have fireworks!) This is a beautiful project. Thanks for sharing! I am your newest follower. Come over to Greetings From the Asylum and follow me too!

Anonymous,  said... May 16, 2011 at 1:29 PM  

I Love Americana Stuff! It looks good in your hall. I might use that at my July 4th celebration! Thanks!

Anonymous,  said... May 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM  

Dang right!..I love this flag!
I want to try!
It is awesome!

Hey,pop over and see what we made out of some old wood!

Nancy,  said... May 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM  

This is going to fit so perfectly in my parents house. Both their kitchen/dining room and bedroom are Americana decor. Thanks for a great idea- I'to get them to send me a picture when I send it to them :0)

Angie,  said... May 16, 2011 at 10:26 PM  

Ok, so of course I loved the flag... super cute. But what I loved more was picturing you at the ready to call 911!!!! And your mama bear reference. Now that made me laugh! Too funny!

Mindie Hilton,  said... May 17, 2011 at 1:01 AM  

Wonderful and you are so ready for the 4th.

I have an award for you.

Unknown,  said... May 17, 2011 at 2:02 PM  

This is awesome! I swear I am just going to have to devote a page on my blog to your awesomeness since I can't feature you EVERY week! Thanks for sharing.. hoping I can convince the hubby to cut one for me! Thanks for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party too!

Janet,  said... May 17, 2011 at 11:26 PM  

You did a fantastic job designing this flag! I absolutely love it!

Alison @ Oopsey Daisy,  said... May 18, 2011 at 1:02 AM  

Tammy, this is seriously SO amazing! I love Americana decor... and I would definitely keep this up year round! Well done!

Jenn Erickson,  said... May 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM  

Wow! I mean, really...WOW! These days you see a lot of wreaths, burlap, and fabric flowers in the blogosphere -- and no offense to those crafts -- they're great too, but it's fabulously refreshing to see such an original project like yours. Your project hits on so many angles -- woodworking, painting & glazing, wall art, patriotic crafts....

Jenn/Rook No. 17

Bazyk Family,  said... April 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM  

would you mind giving the dimensions of each piece? Field? Average size of each stripe? Total length and height?

Tammy @ she wears flowers,  said... April 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM  

These dimensions are definitely approximate considering the shape of each part of this project.

(All measurements are in inches with length first, then width if it was laying flat--or length by height as seen on the wall.)

overall size: 43.5 x 25
blue field: 18.75 x 13.5
long stripe: 43.5 x 1.25 - 2
short stripe: 24.5 x 1.25 - 2

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