Thursday, July 3, 2014

United States Flag

This isn't my usual creepy craft, but it was created in the spirit of honoring the dead, so it's not that far off.  I originally did this with my Girl Scout troop to make posters for Memorial Day, but with the 4th coming up it's an easy way to add stars and stripes just about anywhere.
The hardest part is making the stars, which isn't difficult, it's just tedious cutting them out by hand.  I  would think you could use a die cutter or a large star punch, but if I had either of those, I wouldn't be showing how to do it by hand. Here is my star template.   
The stars are different sizes for good reason. I know I could spend an hour just trying to get all the stars lined up to look the real thing and some of our girls are like that too.  This way it's abstract from the get-go, so there's no need to stress about perfection. 
Here's one of their finished posters to give you an idea. The font used was Tootie Patootie. It's easy to see from a distance, nice block shape for coloring and cutting out, especially if you ignore the smaller white spaces
Continuing on with the making of the stars, first you will need a piece of plastic coated freezer paper.  I think parchment paper or wax paper would work as well, but I like the freezer paper for it's slick coating on one side and matte finish on the other. Print out the star sheet and glue it to the matte side, I prefer using a glue stick for this. 
Then flip it over and cover the shiny side with overlapping strips of painters tape. This is optional, but I like to lay another layer of overlapping strips in the opposite direction. The picture shows the second layer half done. I think the added thickness makes it easier to peel the stars off and makes them studier for handling.  They can be used again and again, until they lose their stick.

I don't like cutting things out. I'm left handed and I can't cut with lefty scissors. Sometimes I wonder if others have the same stupid problems I do, or if I'm truly just that "special". I can cut fine with right handed scissors but it isn't comfortable and I find myself having to cut at weird angles to see where I'm cutting. That being said, I found the most efficient way to cut out the stars was to cut from point to point and then cut the triangle that was left.  The stars are lined up so they can be cut into strips and knock out one side on all the stars in one fail swoop. 

After the star is cut, peel it off and stick it onto the shiny side of another piece of freezer. I've got a little tri-fold action going on here with about half the stars.  Folded up it's 5"x8" and easily fits in a folder for later use. 

Now is the best part, lay out the stars and stripes and sponge paint over them. 

Extending the tape over the edges of the paper keeps it secured to the work surface, but isn't necessary.

Use a different sea sponge for each color. They don't have to be very big. Make sure the sponges are thoroughly wet and then squeeze all the excess moisture out before using. Dab the sponge into the paint and dab it a few times on a clean surface (paint tray, paper plate, etc.) to remove the excess.  Then pounce it straight up and down on the surface you want covered.  The straight up and down motion keeps the paint from being pushed under the tape.   

Wait a minute or two for the paint to set and remove the stripes. For the stars wait until the blue paint has completely dried.  Remember you can place the stars back on the freezer paper to use again. 

One more Memorial Day craft while I'm at it.  This is another poster our troop did. We used the instructions from Moms Holiday Craft Ideas to create the poppies, except instead of pipe cleaner stems, we punched out red construction paper 1.5" circles for a base and 1" black circles for the flower centers and glued the tissue flowers in-between the two.  The poem excerpt is from Moina Michael's "We Shall Keep The Faith" which was inspired by John McCrae's poem "We Shall Not Sleep".  Here is a little history on the poppy. The font is called Let Her Go by Kimberly Geswein.