Our Colonial Farmhouse dates back to the 1780s. The small barn on our property isn’t quite that old, but we know it is over 100 years old. On the side of our barn hung a wood flag.
Well, what was left of it. The American flag was only recognizable on that strip of wood because that symbol is imprinted on our subconscious.
I didn’t hang the wood flag there.
I don’t know how long it had been hanging there.
Suffice to say, that poor wood flag had seen a storm or two.
We actually didn’t realize the American flag was on a wood door until we took the flag down. It was hung by the door hinges and when we flipped it over it looked exactly like the other tongue and groove doors we have in our house.
It makes me wonder where this door was originally hung?
I am just as much a fan of a chippy sign as the next person, but this chippy wood flag was beyond saving. Instead, I decided to start fresh and late nature have its way with it once again.
I sanded the door smooth-ish and started applying the stripes using exterior paint. Luckily, the door was almost exactly 26-inches wide, so that made the math on 13 stripes easy.
The math on arranging 50 stars inside a small rectangle wasn’t quite as simple. In fact, painting the stars on the flag is where this project went off the rails.
I created a star stencil out of painter’s tape, but stenciling in a small area with a homemade tape stencil is tricky.
It seems to require a level of patience that I do not possess.
Here’s the thing about DIY projects. You have to know when to pivot! It also helps if you don’t take yourself and your mistakes too seriously.
It was time to start over with a new technique for applying the stars to the flag. I painted the blue rectangle back to white and decided to create the stars in reverse.
That meant I used a paper stencil and penciled the stars on and then painted the negative space blue.
It was a bit tedious, but only took two podcasts or 90 minutes to put two coats of blue paint on the wood flag using a small paintbrush.
Since I was already using exterior paint, I didn’t feel the need to further seal the flag to protect it from the elements.
The whole point is that the wood flag will weather over time.
Think about this – that wood door is probably close to 200 years old. It has hung out in the elements as a wood flag for decades. It has survived wind, rain, snow, ice, heat, cold, snow, and pests. The paint and the barn have protected it and I have added to its lifespan by sanding off the rough edges and giving it a fresh coat of paint.
This wood flag reminds me a lot of a democracy. It has to be sturdy enough from the beginning to withstand the test of time. It has to be resilient enough to survive the countless challenges that will come its way. Even tired and worn it has to be recognizable to anyone who gazes upon it. Above all, it has to embrace and encourage continual improvement because it wasn’t perfect to begin with.
My husband and I are not veterans, but many of the people who lived in our Colonial Farmhouse dating back to the late 1700s did serve in the military and some paid the ultimate price. That’s why it felt right to give this wood flag a fresh coat of paint as an acknowledgement of their service and sacrifice.
I’m not sure happy is the right word to use in this context, but I do want to wish you an enjoyable weekend as we approach the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
P.S. After the flag was rehung on the barn, I did do some touch up painting on the barn siding using basic barn paint from Ace. This was a little bit like applying lipstick on a pig. The siding has seen better days, but from a distance with a little lipstick, I mean, paint, it does look better.
Thank you for being here today! I love sharing projects and stories with you. Here are some other posts you might enjoy.
A New Old Closet Door (The match to the door in this wood flag story.)
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