Have you ever surfed Pintrest and saw a craft, only to think to yourself… I could never do that? I know I have. One day I decided to jump in with both feet and give it a try. Afterall, I was using reclaimed lumber from a pallet. If I messed up, I could simply get another pallet. Better yet, the pallets are usually free so it wouldn’t cost me anything for “on the job training”.
The first project I attempted was small, simple wood sign, which my wife painted. The next project I attempted was an American Flag. Below are the steps to create the flag.
- Locate a pallet – This is easier than it sounds. Businesses will usually give you pallets for free if you ask.
- “Break Down” the pallet – There are many videos and tutorials on “breaking down” a pallet. I like to get as much wood as possible from a pallet. So, I choose to use a recipricating saw with a demolition blade to cut the nails. See picture –
- After you dismantle your pallet, you are left with wood that will have nails. Decide how you are going to sand the wood. In my case, I have an electric planer. The nails will ruin the blades so I remove the nails by hand. If you are using a hand sander and don’t mind the nail heads showing on your project you can leave them.
- NOTE: THE WOOD DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SANDED PERFECTLY . THIS IS A RUSTIC CRAFT, MADE FROM RECLAIMED PALLET WOOD. SAND TO YOUR LIKING. IT WON’T BE A PERFECT PIECE OF WOOD!
- After you have the wood sanded, layout your boards to see how they will look. Again, remember they will not be perfect. Move the boards around to match up curves, types of wood, knot holes, imperfections, etc. This is your project…There is no wrong way to layout the boards.
- Determine the size of flag you want. Cut your boards to length. Layout again to make sure you’re happy with the layout.
TIP: After determing the layout, put a number on the back of the board so you can easily remember the order after you paint. Example: top board is 1, next board is 2, etc It will come in handy when you assemble the sign.
- Stars -There are many different ways to make the stars.
- If you are really crafty, and have access to a vinyl cutting machine you can make your own stars.
- You can make a template with the vinyl cutting machine and paint the stars.
- You can hand paint the stars.
- My preference is to use wood stars, purchased from a big box craft store. The stars were less than $4.00. They give the flag a 3-D look.
- Apply paint/stain of your liking. I chose to have some boards stained and some painted. You can choose the traditional red and white stripes. Again, this is your project. There is no wrong answer.
- TIP: Most big box, home improvement stores offer sample sizes of paint. You can customize the color and pay less for the customized sample than a can of spray paint.
- TIP: If you use spray paint for the stars, the pressure of the spray will blow the light weight stars. You can use tape to keep the stars in place.
- Layout the stars to determine how they will look. (Yes I know there are not 50 stars. The sign was bigger than I wanted if I made it big enough for 50 stars)
- After the paint/stain has adequate amount of time to dry, layout the sign again. This time turn the boards with the face of the flag down. Now you’re happy you wrote the numbers on the back of the boards!
- I use scraps from the pallets to make the wood I use to assemble the sign. Measure, cut to length. I have a small air powered nail gun, which I use to adhere the wood to the back of the flag. However, you can simply use high strength wood glue; hammer and nails; etc. When using nails just make sure they are not to long, that they will come through the front of the sign.
- To hang the flag, you can use any picture hanging kit. I chose to get a small roll of bailing wire from the home improvement store. The wire is shiny when purchased. To stay with the rustic theme, I cut the wire to length. I used 80 grit sand paper to sand the shine and outer coating off the wire. Place the wire in a container with vinegar and a small amount of salt. Leave the wire in the solution for a day or so and the wire will rust.
- After assembly of the sign is complete, touch up any paint/stain. You can choose to use a verathane sealer to give the sign a bright, glossy look. I chose to leave mine unfinished.