I love all of the patriotic pallet flag projects that I've been seeing, but since my job is to be creative and think outside the box, I totally wanted to make one that was a little different from all the rest! And instead of making one.... I decided to make 3!
The biggest challenge is finding and preparing your pallet. The best place I've found to get pallets is at new construction job sites. So, find a friend who is building a home.... they are sure to have them at their new house!
You have to pry all of the boards off of the pallet with a crowbar which is more tedious than it sounds. We took all of the planks off the front of the pallets and many off of the back so you can squeeze them all together and re-nail them onto the front. It's easier if the pallets are wet from rain, so keep that in mind. You could also cut them apart using a Sawzall.
We ended up with these 3 pallets! The wonkier the wood, the better. The variance in color makes no difference. The gaps in the wood make no difference. The split pieces and cracks and crazy planks do not matter.... it will just add to the charm so don't worry about any of that!
Before you paint, tape off the square that will be the blue part first (so that you DON'T paint that section red like I did on the first one. The red under the blue makes it a weird blue color).
Then start at the top and paint all of your red planks first. I used Faux Effects Basic Red which is very similar to Sherwin Williams "Heartthrob". Next, I used tinted primer that was tinted to SW "Navajo White" for the off white. After those dried, I used SW "Commodore" for the navy planks. The colors you use are NOT terribly important, just be sure you use a bold navy and a bold red and a dingy off white! And I prefer to use an eggshell or matte sheen. Nothing too flat and nothing too shiny.
I have a video showing how to DRY BRUSH the paint on the pallet. Do it quickly and without much thought! Overthinking this step will drive you crazy! The more wood you leave showing, the more distressed and old the finished flag will look.
After that dried, I used Old Master gel stain to make the planks look old and weathered and not so perfect. I used the color "Dark Walnut" because I have it on hand. You need to thin it out with paint thinner or it'll go on way too dark because it just soaks right in to all of the exposed wood. The color and brand of stain could be totally different, just be sure to use something that is a good true dark brown without a red tint to it. You don't want a pink flag!
I shot a quick video demonstrating how to stain your paint. THIS is the step that MAKES THE WHOLE PROJECT in my opinion so HAVE FUN WITH THIS!!!! Work that stain onto the edges of the planks for a really distressed look. Add more dark on the edges if you want it to look really worn!
Then you are ready for your embellishments. You could stencil stars on which is very traditional, or you could add a twist by doing something like these paper mache stars. I purchased these at Hobby Lobby. Just pull the gold threads out of the top of them and I dry brushed them with the same off-white color that I used on the planks.
I nailed the paper mache stars onto the pallet. I was afraid glue wouldn't hold up in the Kansas City heat. If your pallet will be getting wet, I'd seal these with a polyacylic spray before nailing them on as well!
My next pallet flag idea is just a cheap grapevine wreath that I spray painted with an off white spray paint and hung on the pallet with a nail! So fast and easy! And I just had the grapevine wreath laying in the garage!
And the last pallet is done with a huge metal star that my neighbor loaned me for this project. This was a dark brown color and I spray painted it off white and stained it a bit so that it would blend with the distressed theme. It's just nailed on also! Super easy!
Hopefully these will give you some ideas for non-traditional ways of decorating a pallet flag. If you end up making one, I'd love to show it off on my Magic Brush Facebook page. You can find me at http://www.facebook.com/themagicbrushinc
Also, please know that I mean no disrespect to the flag by not having the proper number of stripes on these projects. And I am aware that a white stripe SHOULD fall under the blue. However, pallets aren't perfect nor were they designed to be used as a flag. So, I did the best I could with what we had and I love my country!
Have a blessed and safe Independence Day!
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