DIY Rustic Pallet American Flag
I’ve not yet made anything with pallets. And for a lot of reasons I suppose. I worry about the kinds of chemicals that might be inside of the boards so I’m a bit wary of having something made from pallets inside of my home. I also don’t have a way to get them home the vast majority of the time as I drive a little car. If you can’t transport them you sure can’t craft with them.
But I decided that I really wanted to try my hand at something that I could use as decor in my front yard. I live a good distance from the road (acreage community) so dinky things may as well not be there if you’re looking for curb appeal. But pallets, now those suckers are huge.
So I snapped up 3 and got right on after it!
For this project you will need:
- Pallets – I suggest 3 with similar slats
- Red, white and blue paint
- Trim nails and hammer or nail gun
- Crowbar, pry bar and hammer, or a reciprocating saw
It looks like you only have 2 options when it comes to breaking down pallets… you can use a pry bar, crowbar and hammer to pull the boards away from the frame very carefully. It works most of the time but it takes a good long while. And it’s hard, hard work. Plus there is some breakage because pallets aren’t really built to come apart.
For a super fast, why did I waste time with that friggin’ pry bar option, a reciprocating saw can be run between the slats and the frame to easily cut through the nails and separate. It took between 5 and 10 minutes to disassemble a pallet this way. Wahoo! By the by, I had to ask my dad what that saw was actually called as I call it the swordfish 🙂
Because I wanted lots and lots of stripes for my flag that meant that I needed lots of slats. To do this we took apart 3 pallets and I used 22 boards on my two frames, 11 on each. This left only 4 slats that didn’t get used plus the third frame.
Be sure to use the same width of slats side by side across the two pallets. Try and use similar colors/wear of the wood together for your 3 colors. For instance, my lightest wood became white stripes. You may need to work with it a bit like a puzzle to get the configuration you’re happy with. One color at a time, remove the boards and pile them together. I’d suggest first taking the blue corner slats away and starting that pile. Next, take every other row and start your white slats and the rest will be painted red.
Since we’re going for a rustic look we don’t want super bright and fresh paint. Pallet wood is also kind of rough and splintery so it’s not something you’re going to want to spend tons of time trying to antique by sanding a top coat away to show a bottom and all of that. Instead, take your first color of paint and water it down. There is no exact ratio I found that worked so start with a little bit of paint and a good couple of fingers of water. Test the solution on your scrap wood to test the color. You want it to be the color red, white or blue, but you also want to be able to see the wood beneath.
Paint all of your slats the colors as necessary, don’t forget the ends and edges, and allow them to dry.
Toss them back together in the correct formation and get ready to attach them back to the pallet frames!
A nail gun will make quick work of reattaching the boards. Alternatively, you can use a hammer and nails… no big.
Using full strength white paint draw your stars on your white section if you want them. The flag looks pretty cool without the stars, really, but if going for an Americana type of craft look the stars take it over the top! They don’t have to be perfect by the way, the imperfections add to the appeal.
Set out on my front porch with a pair of cowboy boot planters I made a while back ago and my house is looking quite Fourth of July festive!
What’s more my super talented artist boyfriend thought the whole thing turned out really awesome. Can’t even explain how great that made me feel 🙂
And from the street they are so, so visible… it’s awesome! I expect to see a few more pallet flags up and down my road before long!