As promised, here is a fun project that can be easily completed in a couple of hours. That is, if you gather all of your materials before starting and if life doesn’t get in the way of your creation time. Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself! All you need is an old window, an old flag, and a few miscellaneous supplies to create your very own Patriotic Flag Project! Let’s get started!
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Patriotic Flag Project Supply List
Backing Material ( I used 1/8″ wood underlayment cut to size)
Staple Gun/Staples or Hammer/Upholstery Tacks
Picture Hanging Wire
Old windows are typically pretty easy to find. Check vintage stores and building salvage stores. Antique stores may also have a selection, but be prepared to pay more for them. I found mine at Restore, the salvage store that benefits Habitat for Humanity. If you have one in your area, keep them in mind for project supplies like windows and doors at great prices. I paid just $2 for this one! Look for the size and shape of window that you want. Anything can be painted, or distressed, or both if need be in order to get the finish you desire. As a lover of the imperfect, I added a little extra distressing to mine by sanding the edges.
If you have a flag of your own that you are ready to retire, this is the perfect way to keep it in service. Because I wanted the flag for this project to look really worn, I opted for finding one at a vintage store. Again, antique stores may charge more for what is basically the same as the item found in vintage situations. I was shooting for a $10 price point for this project. While shopping the last month’s First Friday sale in Kansas City’s West Bottoms district, my cousin and I found the perfect flag for $20. Since I tend to be pretty stubborn about adhering to my pricing goal, I decided that I would look a little further. The wait paid off and I ended up finding one at a shop right across the street for my $10 goal. It was the very same type of flag, just showing its age in different places. Vintage pricing is a bit arbitrary so, if possible, make a decision ahead of time about what you are willing to spend on an item to help you stay on track with the budget. As my cousin pointed out, I now had $10 to spend on something else during our shopping trip, a way of thinking that clearly indicates that we are indeed blood relation!
Patriotic Flag Project–Let’s Put It Together!
Step 1–Determine how you want your flag positioned within the window.
There is no hard and fast rule for positioning your flag. Because of the proportion of my window, I decided that I liked the stars to be fully bordered within the top left hand window pane. If your window is taller you may find that it looks better to have a bigger portion of the star section showing. Take your cue from the size of the window you are using. Spread your flag out on a flat working surface and then simply move the window around on top of the flag until you find a position that you like best.
Step 2–Flip window and flag over and secure left hand side of flag to window frame. (When upside down, this will be on your right.)
Because I don’t want to cut my flags, I simply folded the left hand side under and secured it using my electric staple gun (This is the new version of the one I love!) This step could also be accomplished using a hammer and upholstery tacks. I like the fact that the staples can easily be pried out with a flat head screwdriver if I make a mistake in positioning, which has been known to happen a time or two, or three, or four . . . you get the picture! There is also the fact that putting me in close proximity to a window with a hammer would most definitely bring out my inner clutz! I’m sure of it! I worked on the floor so that I could easily stand the window up to check the placement of the flag periodically as I went.
Step 3–Secure top of flag to window frame, then bottom, and lastly the right side.
This is another step that involves personal preference. I wanted my flag to look like it was waving in the wind, so I pleated the fabric on a diagonal and secured the top of the pleat, and then the bottom to the window frame. The pleats are totally random in size to give the billowing effect. They are also larger at the bottom than at the top to, again, give the feeling of movement. You may desire a more uniform look of pleats that are all the same size or, perhaps, prefer your flag totally flat and smooth. That is one of the reasons that I love this project! It can be carried out so many different ways, random and free flowing, or very staid and structured, to suit your style. Once you have the top and bottom in place, finish by securing the right hand side of flag to the window frame. (When window is upside down this is on your left.)
Step 4–Fold excess material into place.
Once the flag is secured into the position that you desire, it is time to finish off by folding the excess fabric into place. Neatly fold the top down, the bottom up, and then fold the sides over into place. As you can see, because I “billowed” my flag, there is very little left to fold over on the one side.
This is where I ran into a bit of a snag. The Wildman thought we had a piece of backing that would finish my project. But, alas, it wasn’t quite large enough. Since the project was currently strewn across the living room floor and could not be finished immediately, I had to press “pause” on my progress at this point.
This is what happens in my house when I must “pause” in the middle of projects–the “paws” take over making it a prime locale for a catnap!
Step 5–Attach backing then picture hangers and wire.
To secure the flag in place, I used 1/8″ wood underlayment cut to leave about 1/2″ of the window frame exposed. This allows room to attach your picture hangers and prevents the backing from showing when the project is hanging up. The underlayment is available in small sheets at Home Depot in the lumber department. However, it is quite a bit more cost effective to buy a large sheet.
Did you know that Home Depot will actually cut down lumber for you at no charge?
I only recently found out about this free service which makes it so much easier to fit lumber in the car and gives one a lot more bang for your buck! We had the Home Depot guys cut our large sheet into three pieces and then the Wildman cut one of the pieces to the exact measurements I needed when we got home. Screws are used to secure the backing in place on the four corners and in the middle of the top and bottom length of the window frame.
Finally, attach a hanging device of your choice. The window frame is heavier than most picture frames, so I like to use metal picture hanging rings that are available in the hardware department. I prefer to screw these into the window frame itself instead of the backing because it provides more stability. Then cut a length of picture hanging wire approximately 6″ longer than the finished length desired. Thread wire through your rings on each side leaving about 3″ extra on each side. Wrap the wire back around itself several times on one side. Hold the middle of the wire up to the placement needed to hang the picture from, and then repeat the wrapping procedure on the final side.
That’s it! Your finished and the Patriotic Flag Project is ready to hang!
I chose to hang it from an antique iron gate in the dining room.
I love the way it appears to be billowing behind the glass!
I am particularly taken with the worn colors and slight stains that show through that speak many hours of flying proudly aloft.
And now it will “fly” proudly in our home for years to come!
Hope you love yours as much as I love mine!