When I was thinking of a DIY project that could be used for the 4th of July and other patriotic holidays, I was torn between making something with the traditional Red, White and Blue colors or making a diy flag that looked gray and weathered, that’s when I came up with this idea of using both as a reversible tray! But then I made things even more complicated for myself (I have a knack for doing that lol)! I wanted something that could be used both vertical or horizontal.
For those who may not know this, the proper way to hang the US flag is to have the Union on the left. The Union is the stars. Since I wanted a serving tray that could also work as a piece of art on a wall and knowing the correct way to hang the flag it left me spinning the wheels in my brain… I wanted a color flag on one side and a gray weathered flag on the opposite side but I also wanted to be able to hang the flag horizontal and vertical….. The obvious solution to me was to create a flag using slats of wood that I could take out and rearrange like a puzzle!
In the photo below you can see the Red, White and Blue side on the left, in the middle is the transition from color to gray (the gray slats are just the reverse of the color slats). To change the color side that you want facing out just flip the slats over, if you want to go from horizontal to vertical, take group 2 slats out, slide group 1 slats to the right then put group 2 slats in on the left then rotate the tray now your flag is horizontal!
Now that you understand the concept behind this tray / wall art here is how I made this!
Supplies you will need:
Strapping or other slats of wood (13 pieces cut to 24″ each, 2 pieces cut to 11″)
1 x 4 (I used two pieces cut to 25.5″ long and two pieces cut to 12.3/4″ long)
Hardboard (not in photo)
To start determine how big you want your tray. Mine is 25.5″ x 12.3/4″ for the frame, the slats are 24″ long. Once I had my pieces cut I started painting the wood. For the gray side I used white wall paint mixed with some brown craft paint and water, three different shades using more or less brown paint. I wanted the grain to still show through so I watered this down some. Paint one side of the slats in two tones of gray, you will want 7 slats in the medium gray color and 6 slats in the lightest gray color. I started out by painting ALL 13 slats in the medium gray color. Once these have dried you want to tape 7 slats together, I taped a block off about 10″ in from the left side. Paint inside that block in your darkest gray color, remove the tape then paint every other slat in the lightest gray (more white washed) color. Let the slats dry.
Once the slats have dried turn them over and repeat the process using your Red, White and Blue paints. You may want to paint the inside of your block first on this side or prime this side first before adding the other colors I painted the slats first then ended up with the Union blue in different shades of blue but I don’t mind it like that. Once your slats are painted you will want to paint your pieces of wood that will be used for the frame, I used the watered down gray color for my frame. Paint your stars on, I like the circle of 13 but you could use the traditional 50 stars inside the Union if you prefer. I used my silhouette to make a template for this.
Once everything is dry, take your two 12.3/4″ of 1×4 and attach a 11″ piece of strapping on the inside of these pieces of wood (centered), this forms a lip inside the sides of your frame.
Put your frame together using wood screws, two screws in each corner.
Now that your frame is put together, put a piece of hardboard inside resting on the lip. If you don’t plan on using this as a tray and just want to use it as art work then you don’t need to use the hardboard. Test your slats inside the frame to be sure they fit snug, you don’t want them too long that they bow nor do you want them too short so they fall out. If your slats are not snug you can use two pieces of strapping to hold them in place (the same way you made the lip). My slats are snug so I don’t have to use anything else to secure these slats in place. Your tray is done! Super easy, inexpensive and fast. I’m not sure on the total cost of this as I already had the supplies in my house but I can’t imagine this project costing that much!
Want more patriotic projects? Be sure to stop by my fellow bloggers below and check out the amazing projects they did! Links will be live on each day at the bottom of this post.