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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!  I hope you’re all enjoying a day with friends and family.  While Matt was cooking up a feast for the holiday weekend, I decided to work on an Independence Day-inspired DIY project to share with all of you.  Back in April I found a whole bunch of sand dollars at the beach.  I knew I wanted to use them for some artwork, but I couldn’t decide what to make.  With the Fourth of July approaching I was inspired to make an American flag with a coastal twist.  Check it out:

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

You all know that I love coastal casual style, which includes a lot of washed out reds, turquoise blues and soft whites.  This American flag was a simple way to marry all of the things I love into a cute little package.  It was pretty easy to make.  What you’ll need:

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

In order to achieve a vintage-casual vibe, I chose a muted red and white for my stripes.  The red is called Love Bird and the white is called Porcelain Doll, both by Martha Stewart.  I picked these up at my local craft store for about $2 a pop.  The blue is called Ocean Slumber by Valspar.  I’ve used this color in several other places throughout our home (the bead board paneling in our office and the dresser we use in our master bedroom).  Although it’s not a washed out, vintage blue, it works well with the other colors and serves as a dramatic backdrop for the “stars” on my flag.  The other bonus is that I was able to use paint that I had left over from prior projects. Hooray for free materials!Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

The first thing I did was paint the entire canvas with Porcelain Doll.  If you’re using a white canvas and want your colors to be bold, rather than subtle, you can skip this step entirely.  The white canvas will serve as the perfect backdrop for your American flag.

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

Since I wanted my white stripes to be a bit softer, this color worked well to tone down the white.  It gave the canvas the aged look I was going for.  Next, I used my painters tape to create a rectangle in the upper left hand corner of the canvas.  I painted two coats of Ocean Slumber inside the tape.  After the paint dried I removed the tape.

Then, using my level, I penciled in lines to create the stripes.  I wanted the red stripes to dominate my flag, so I made the red stripes double the size of the white stripes.

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

As you can tell from the above photo, the blue paint bled underneath the painters’ tape.  This is a pain, but it didn’t ruin the project.  I just opted to free hand the stripes rather than using the painters tape in order to avoid this problem going forward.  Although free hand is not what I’d normally recommend for painting stripes, since I wanted a vintage look the fact that my stripes aren’t entirely crisp doesn’t bother me too much.  One way to avoid the bleeding problem is to paint another coat of the base color over the edges of your painters’ tape.  If you do this, the base coat will bleed through onto the canvas and you should be able to paint your desired color on top with no bleeding.  Of course, wait for your base color to dry before brushing on your top coat.

After painting in the red stripes, I hot glued my sand dollars to the blue area in two rows.  For an even more authentic look, try using starfish rather than sand dollars.  You can likely find such items at your craft store, but I’m not 100% sure of this since my sand dollars are au natural.

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

My coastal casual American flag hangs proudly in our living room as part of the gallery wall above the sofa.  The colors play nicely with the patterns on my pillows as well as the other art pieces in the gallery.  I’m not sure if this will be the permanent home for my flag, but it’s fun to have it here in the living room for the Fourth of July weekend!

I also changed the sentiment on our thrift shop canvas turned chalkboard (for more info on how I made it, go here) into something a bit more patriotic.  My kitty, Des, seems to approve.  On the other hand, he might be mad that I’m taking pictures while he’s trying to nap.  You never can tell.

Embrace My Space: American Flag DIY

I hope I’ve inspired you to try a little Independence Day DIY of your own this holiday weekend!  Relax, stay safe and enjoy this lovely weekend!