When my friend, Sam asked if I would make her an American Flag pallet, I was happy to comply. Not only because she’s been my friend since kindergarten, but also because of what she’s been through personally.
Sam’s son, LCPL Retired Jared Poppe, lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan on June 7, 2011 at the age of 21. He deserves more recognition for his incredible sacrifice than I can possibly give him here, as does Sam for all she went through as a military mom who nearly lost her son. Nonetheless, I would like to dedicate this post to Jared, to Sam and to all of our dedicated troops and their families.
Here’s Jared after recovering from his injuries.
Needless to say, this project is a very special one.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook or Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a host of creative uses for old pallets. I’ll be the first to admit this fabulous idea isn’t mine, but I’d like to share my version of a flag pallet anyway. Here it is…
Fortunately, I have access to an endless supply of pallets that are headed for the dumpster because of my job as a painter. You pallet-loving DIYers may be thinking, “Boy she’s lucky to have super-duper access to all those pallets! She could make tons of flags, sell them and become a millionaire.” Negative.
It’s not easy to find a pallet that has slats running in the right direction for the flag stripes, and many of the pallets are too big to fit in my little 1994 Maxima work-mobile (a.k.a. Maxine). Guess I won’t be rich any time soon.
After days of keeping an eye on the mounting stacks of pallets, I found a nearly-perfect one. Maxine could handle it, and the slats were running the right direction! (Hear angels singing, “Hallelujah”.)
It was a little bit too square for a flag shape, so I decided to cut some slats off the bottom to make it more rectangular. Sam suggested cutting off two of the slats so it would have seven red stripes like an actual flag. Kudos to you, Sam for being politically correct with our flag. Removing two slats was perfect.
I didn’t like the idea of having gaps between the slats, so I recycled the slats I removed from the bottom by cutting them to fit behind the spaces. Since I didn’t have enough wood for all the gaps, I used some baseboard I found curbside.
Here’s where the cut slats were going to be placed. This is the back of the pallet.
Since the flag was going to be heavily distressed, it didn’t require a persnickety paint job, and the edges of the cut up boards didn’t need to be painted because they weren’t going to show.
Next I painted the edges of the slats white.
Then the red paint went on the face only of the pallet slats. Again, I didn’t put the paint on heavily, and left some of the rough areas without paint on them.
Here you can see the white edges of the red slats.
This is what it looked like after removing the tape.
Next came the blue. The colors were bright at first, but I toned them down later with a coating of stain.
I made my own stencil using a star shape I found on the internet (see how to make a custom stencil here).
Next I sanded some of the white paint off the slats that were cut to fit the back of the pallet, and applied stain to age them.
After the white slats were distressed, I flipped the pallet over and screwed them on the back to cover the gaps.
Next, I covered the rest of the flag with a walnut stain to further distress it after removing bits of paint here and there with sandpaper. I also stained the sides of the palette to make it look more finished.
I liked the idea of having both red and white stripes, rather than just red stripes and open spaces.
And there you have it!
The paint colors were all from Sherwin Williams; Agreeable Gray (for the white), Fired Brick (for the red) and Downpour (for the blue).
Once again, a heartfelt thank you to Jared, and to the countless men and women who serve this country.
This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.