Creating an Imperfect Flag Tray

This patriotic project started out well,
with a tray, an idea and some paint...

This bead board tray was perfect for the flag project I had in mind.

The spacing was great, the finish was great, and the large size was great too.

I painted the stripes and then the blue field,
everything was perfect...

american flag tray DIY

I was thinking about how I was going to do the stars when my husband, who normally isn't very crafty, had a great idea.

I should make a star stencil with 10 stars in a row since there are 5 rows in the blue field... Wow Jim!  

Great idea!!!

So I did...

star stencils for an american flag

I used Shrinky Dink plastic and cut it the width of the stripes on the tray.

I used a star hole punch to make a star every 1/2", that's 10.

flag tray with DIY star stencil

Using spray adhesive and a stencil brush I stenciled a row, then moved on to the next until I had all 50 beautiful stars.

american flag tray with DIY star stencil

Perfect right?

DIY american flag tray

Yes, until I put on the Polycrylic finish to protect it.

The red came out fine, the white came out fine, the stars came out fine, but the blue....

it came off, it just slid when I brushed on the Polycrylic!

The funny thing is that the stars stayed put.

I don't know why... 
It was dry and it had 2 coats just like the other colors...

Blue paint treatment on Flag tray

What should I do? Start again? 

I decided that it was fine just the way it was and if anyone 
asked I would just say I meant for it to look like this.

Artistic and Rustic right?

American Flag tray for Memorial day and Fourth of July

American Flag tray DIY tutorial

So here's to all the imperfectly perfect projects!
Some of them were just meant to be that way...

After all, nobody's perfect.

I hope you enjoyed this project and you'll take a look at my Amazon Shop for craft supplies I recommend. Also while you're here please sign up for the Homeroad emails on my sidebar so I can send my latest DIY post straight to you. 



I am Susan, the author and creator at Homeroad. I am a wife, mother of 4 daughters, and a grandmother of 5 and counting. I am a retired teacher, a DIY blogger and an artist at heart. .


  1. Susan I love the effect of the blue. I think it is too bad the white and red didn't do the same thing. It ages it nicely.

    It is a beautiful tray!

  2. It's perfectly imperfect! When the spills and scrapes happen, as they inevitably will, they won't make you want to tear your hair out like they would on a "perfect" tray!

  3. I think it looks perfect! The tray looks gorgeous!!

  4. I can imagine how you felt after everything had been perfect but I really like it, looks vintage.

    Great job!

  5. Oh my gosh, how weird is that? I think it looks great, Susan! Sometimes those hubbies have great ideas. : ) I guess you could do any further protective coats with a poly spray. Hope you are enjoying your weekend! I am here in NY visiting family and go back Tuesday. Maybe next trip we can meet up. I figured with the holiday weekend this time, it was probably best to skip meeting up with anyone.

  6. Hi Susan, Its perfectly imperfect...I love the look. I wouldnt change a thing!

  7. I love this! It is absolutely gorgeous and just perfect for every BBQ occasion!
    Amie @ Pinkapotamus

  8. Hi Susan. I LIKE the tray! If you hadn't told-we would have never known! ; ) I tell my "groupies" (aka stamp and scrapbook gals---"There are no mistakes in stamping and scrapbooking-only opportunities for embellishment!" And no one is going to see my sample page...compared to their finished page-so who will know?! Lol! Relax and enjoy it!Blessings, Sharon

    1. I love your answer, sounds so me! LOL.That's what i do, make a mistake, embellish it.

  9. I love your tray exactly as it is! Happy Memorial Day!!

  10. Susan,

    Love it. You did a fantastic've inspired me to attempt this too!

  11. I think it looks great, because really..... after all...... our flag is perfect no matter what.


  12. HI, Happy Memorial Day weekend, I agree with Ellie. It is too bad that the red and white didn't do the same as the blue did.. Your flag/tray is beautiful, couldn't be any nicer.. It's very Americana and patriotic.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Blessings, Charlotte in Va.

  13. I think it looks great just the way it is. I love it, its perfect.

  14. that hubs is pretty smart! great stencil with the punch!

    I love your tray susan, I probably would have sanded it back a little, so I think it looks great with the blue that way. ;)

  15. It is amazing what a little paint and stencil can do! It looks so super great!
    xo Becca

  16. I really like it.. even "imperfect" I am also impressed with your idea to punch out the stars with the hole punch to make the template.. i wouldn't have thought of that.

  17. This is so beautiful! You did a fantastic job. I hope you will link this up to my Patriotic Project Parade!

  18. Oh man... perfection! The tray looks as if it was meant to be this all along from the get go. Beautiful execution!

    Shared on FJI Facebook and pinned for SNS 140. :)


  19. I love it :) I think sometimes an oops turns out perfect!

  20. I love this tray! Great job!!!

  21. What great timing on this post. My hubby made me a flag about 20 yrs ago like this and with a long stick as the pole. I tried to repaint lastsunner. The stars ended up a hot uneven mess. Then we moved and it is still in the shed looking a hot mess. Now I can fix it with your solution. Thanks!

    1. So glad I could help Dana! Hang your flag proudly!


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