Thursday, April 26, 2012

Union Jack Stool

Last week I mentioned how I normally turn my nose up at trends, and this week I’m going to tell you about one that I’ve totally embraced. I know, I’m such an enigma.

People are painting Union Jacks on everything. A year ago a columnist on Design*Sponge even proclaimed that Union Jack is the new black. I couldn’t help but jump on the train. Not only am I pretty darn British in heritage, the Union Jack is really cool. It’s a bold, graphic, iconic pattern with near symmetry to boot. When painted on unexpected surfaces, it adds a lot of graphic character to a room.

The only thing I don’t quite understand about this trend is that it’s not really the easiest thing to do. I mean yeah, it’s straightforward, but I think free-handing something less precise would be a lot easier. It takes a long time to paint the Union Jack on stuff. If you’re a perfectionist like me, you’re measuring and trying to get your painters tape just right, and then you realize that you have to paint five coats of red to cover the white you’ve already painted, and then you realize that you really set up this pattern on a square instead of a rectangle so it doesn’t look quite like the real thing, but it’s still pretty darn close. Yeah, this was a labor of love.

I wanted to paint something graphic on a stool I picked up on Craigslist, so I decided on the Union Jack. Here's what the stool looked like before:

I was so bogged down in process that I forgot to take pictures of the process itself. I just wanted to get this thing done. Here’s a quick run down of how I tackled this:

  1. Sanded and primed the stool with two coats of Zinsser Cover Stain primer.
  2. Sprayed the stool with blue glossy enamel spray paint. When I realized how long it takes that spray paint to dry (4-6 hours!), I ran to the store and bought some Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X in gloss navy blue, which dries a lot faster.
  3. Sprayed the stool with 3 coats of the new spray paint, flipping it over first and then putting it on its feet to make sure I got every surface.
  4. Let the paint dry for a few days and then measured and taped out the white surfaces.
  5. Used a brush to paint three coats of white satin Benjamin Moore paint that I had on hand.
  6. Let the paint dry a few days and then measured and taped out the red cross.
  7. Sealed the painter’s tape by dipping a small-ish brush in white paint and going along the edges of the painter’s tape.
  8. Used a brush to paint 4-5 coats (I lost track) of red.
  9. Let the paint dry a day and then measured and taped out the diagonal red stripes.
  10. Sealed the painter’s tape by dipping a small-ish brush in white paint and going along the edges of the painter’s tape.
  11. Used a small brush to paint another 4-5 coats of red for the diagonals.
  12. Dipped a very small brush in the white paint and touched up areas where the red had bled through.
  13. Brushed two coats of Minwax PolyCrylic over the seat.

As you can see, this was kind of a long process. But I think the stool looks pretty cool. I wish I had made the flag perfect. I hate not drawing flags correctly because it feels disrespectful. And let’s be honest, I already painted the flag on a place to sit your bum. But if the American Flag can be made into bikinis and Speedos, then this probably isn’t too bad. It could even be used as a small night table next to a bed to hold a book and a glass of water. 


  1. I love this! Actually it's more practical it's a stool, but if you paint a dresser you have to keep that sucker around for awhile LOL! Great job!! Stop by for a blog visit!

  2. Love that stool, and thanks for the short tutorial, I am getting ready to paint a Union Jack on a dresser, and it helps that you wrote down the steps. I was starting to feel a little intimidated.


  3. Thanks for linking up, and... you've been featured!

    1. Thank you so much Carrie! I've been terrible about maintaining this blog lately but I'm going to grab a button and add it right now!

  4. You did a fabulous job! I just finished painting the Union Jack on a tray based on a shield-shaped graphic from Graphics Fairy. You put me to shame! :)

    It is very difficult to paint, and it does take a lot of paint to get good coverage.

    Good job!

  5. This looks great! I did a more subtle take on the union jack stools a couple weeks back, but this one looks amazing!! Now I may just go back and add some red to the top! Thanks for the inspiration and ..great job!!

    Barbara @ Chase the Star

  6. Totally Perfect!!! I'd love to have you share at my JUST opened!!!

    XO, Aimee

    1. Eek! I missed it! But I'm going to link up some projects to your next one!

  7. I think a stool is the perfect place to try out a trend! And this is really cute!


  9. the stool is super cute! and so are the gold shoes. :)

  10. This is fantastic, looks like something from an expensive shop!

  11. Love your union jack stool! sounds like a lot of work, but oh so worth it!


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