We South Carolinians love our state flag. I mean capital L.O.V.E.
If you’ve visited anywhere in South Carolina, I guarantee you’ve seen it. It’s on everything. Mugs, belts, hats, flip flops, decorative license plates. I’m telling you, people love it.
And how can one not?
A palmetto tree. A crescent moon.
For a state flag, it’s just cool looking.
So this summer, I took on the task of updating our eleven year old’s bedroom, and with that massive project (which I promise I will post soon) came the idea that I’d like to add some art to his room that could reflect his tastes, but not be something he’d outgrow quickly.
I came across two different ideas that sort of inspired my South Carolina flag, both of which I think you’ll enjoy. The first inspiration came from this DIY Planked American Flag by Maison de Pax. I just absolutely love how pretty this stained flag looks against her whitewashed walls. I love a good American flag.
The second inspiration came from Tidbit’s post Horse Silhouette Art. While I knew I would not use horses for my tween’s room decor, I liked the idea of using a stained silhouette. Put those two ideas together, and I began to wonder if I could recreate a rustic version of our state flag.
An idea was born.
And it didn’t take me long to put that idea into action.
Directions (Flag Template Included Below)
Cutting & Staining
The first thing I did was gather random pieces of wood from my wood supply.
I decided that I wanted my flag to be about a height of 30 inches (I knew this would vary some depending on which pieces of wood I chose) and a width of 25 inches.
I used the miter saw to cut each board to the appropriate width.
Then I chose a couple of stains I already had to use for the various boards (I tried to alternate lighter gray stains with darker browns).
I actually really love the look of these different stains together.
Unfortunately, after I stained each initial piece, I swiped the entire thing with one coat of Minwax Special Walnut.
It doesn’t look bad, but in that process, I lost some of the uniqueness of the different stains. I don’t feel like you can see the variety as much in the final flag. There is a part of me that wonders had I left that last step off, would it have been more apparent?
Oh well. Live and learn.
Once the stain had completely dried, I used the Kreg Jig to connect the boards together.
This eliminated me having to glue the boards together.
I have no patience with glue.
I also once Gorilla Glue’d my high heel shoe to my foot (no joke). I didn’t know at the time that Gorilla Glue expanded as it dried. I was looking for a quick fix so I could get out the door to a holiday party–you see, no patience. This did not work out for me in the end. Hubby came home to find me on the floor desperately trying to remove a shoe from my foot, but unable to. Seriously. We finally had to cut the shoe from my foot minus the padding, which remained stuck to my heel for a week.
So I try to limit my contact with glue as much as possible.
Creating a Template
Okay once the boards were all connected, I began to create the template to use for the Palmetto tree and moon. I used photo paper because it was on hand, but card stock paper will work as well. I’m pretty sure that contact paper would work, and it would certainly be easier to peel off later; I just didn’t want to try drawing on curly-rolled contact paper.
Now I simply free-handed the tree and moon, but for those of you who are not artistically inclined, I have provided a template below.
Once I cut my various pieces out, I began to position them together on the stained side of the flag.
I simply moved them around until I got the look I wanted.
Now, because I had created my template earlier with a bunch of photo papers laid one on top of another, when I got the “puzzle pieces” where I wanted them, I sort of had this gap right in the middle. (I am not a template expert, as you can see.)
I just cut a few squares of photo paper and covered the hole.
Once I liked the look, it was time to add the adhesive to the template. I used Aleene’s Tacky Spray, and sprayed the back of each piece one at a time, starting with the base of the trunk and moving up the tree and around clockwise.
Spray Painting & Removing Template
Then I took the entire flag outside and painted it white. Once the paint was dry (I probably did two or three coats to get a nice solid white) I brought it back into the garage, and began to remove the template.
This part is a BIG pain in the rear. Aleene was not messing around when she created her spray of tackiness.
Seriously, I thought I would never get the template off. I finally got the idea to use a wood cleaner to help break down the glue. I knew this was least likely to ruin the stained wood.
I will say it worked, although this was the longest part of the whole project. I just sprayed the wood cleaner, let it soften the glue, then scraped it with an old terry cloth rag or scratched it with my fingernails. Over and over. Until all of the template had been removed.
Touch Up, Sanding, & Hardware
There were a few areas where the spray did get underneath the stencil (mainly in this one spot where my boards were not completely level).
I simply used a very tiny paintbrush and added a little stain to touch it up.
The next day (once the touch up had completely dried) I sanded the entire flag with 220 grit sand paper to give it that rustic look.
Then I added hardware to the back of the flag and hung it up in Version 1.0’s room.
He loved it! The boy is, after all, a true South Carolinian.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. And if you like South Carolina’s flag as much as I do, you’ve now got yourself a little weekend project.
Directions: Download and print on card-stock or photo paper. Stencil starts at the base of the trunk. Place leaves in ABC order clockwise.