Painting a Union Jack/British Flag on a dresser tutorial

British flags are on so many things right now! All over Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and others, but at a crazy cost…so make your own! After doing several of these, we have it down to a science….well almost.

1. Find a dresser that is rectangular in shape so that it will fit the flag easily. This is the picture when we found it. Beautiful lamps, eh? jk!

2. We always put on floor protector pads before we do a piece. It obviously protects the floor, but it also raises the piece off the floor so that you can paint the legs all the way down with ease.

3. We use a quilt on the floor, you can use paper or an old blanket, whatever works for you, but drips are a guarantee.

4. Paint the entire dresser blue (in this case – we have also done dressers in different colors as you can see below.)

5. Take out the blue tape or you can use frog tape. You first want to put the horizontal and vertical line on. We eye it, but you want it to be decently wide because you have two white lines and one red within that space. We would give you a measurement but it is different for each dresser because each is a slightly different size, obviously!

6. Then you do both diagonals. Make sure you study the British Flag because despite what I thought the diagonal lines do not go right through the middle. Use below as a guide. Remember too, it does not need to be perfect, nobody will notice except for you!

7. So to this point you have taped off the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. Now you need to get out an exacto knife or a blade so that you can cut the tape. See below for where to cut.

8. Paint inside the lines white and let it completely dry. We do two coats.

9. Now remove the tape and don’t worry if it bled a little bit, you can always go and fix it after you do the next step.

10. Tape off on top of the white lines where you want to paint the red (or whatever color you choose). Once again, study the flag picture a voce for how to place the red stripes. Below is the picture on how we do it.

Going to show you on another dresser shape and color so you can see it too!

11. Then let it dry after a second coat. 

12. Remove the tape and fix any mistakes with a smaller brush.

13. After it has dried, wax the whole piece with clear wax. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then either wipe off with a rag or steel wool it off. We go for the steel wool look. We went for a non-rustic look for this one and just clear waxed it and wiped it off.

14. Then if you want it to look rustic, add dark wax. We use Howard’s Dark Wax. You rub if all over, more where you want it to be stronger. Then you also must go back over it with a cloth or brush or steel wool or it will take forever to dry.

15. Stand back and admire 🙂

Here are some others we have finished. The options are endless! 

Please let me know if you have ANY questions. Would love to help in any way 🙂

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  • i loooove the british flag trend and all of these are so beautiful!! your blog is great and i nominated you for the liebster award – check out my blog to see what to do!

    January 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm
    • oh my gosh! Thank you so much Miss Jackie jade! You’re the best 🙂

      January 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm
  • Well that came out great! I really like all of them.

    January 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm
  • That is awesome! Your painter should be very proud!

    January 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm
    • I will tell the hubs you think so 🙂 Thanks so much!!!

      January 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm
  • VERY well done for getting the diagonals in the right place! I think it is ‘treason’ here in UK to get it wrong 😉 Also appreciate the (almost) correct naming, so many incorrectly call it the Union jack, which is only correct when on a ship, Union Flag is it’s correct name. We don’t mind you using it but get upset if it doesn’t get the respect it deserves xxx

    January 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm
    • Hey Elbey! Thanks so much for the comment. I had no idea 🙂 I guess this dresser was on a ship….just kidding 🙂

      January 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm
  • Found you on Miss Mustard Seed! What an awesome piece! I just love it!

    January 19, 2013 at 6:31 am
  • Ironically I admire your pieces all the time on Craig’s List and I just found this post on Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture Friday. Gorgeous! I live in Downers Grove so hopefully I’ll be able to see your pieces in person some time soon! Your piece inspired me to do a union jack coffee table just this weekend.

    January 21, 2013 at 1:40 am
    • Hi Dawn! Thanks so much. I love MMS. I really don’t participate in a ton of link parties, but just love her’s so much! Glad you found me and YES, would love to hang out ! Way to go on the coffee table, send me a pic 🙂

      January 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm
  • Hi Meg

    Love this tutorial and used it on the weekend to paint a piano bench. I’ve mentioned your posting on my blog today. Hope you don’t mind.

    May 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm
  • fantastic! I too was looking for a tutorial to make a chest of drawers english .. thanks I will follow your advice! Greetings from Italy!

    May 28, 2013 at 10:23 am
  • After wistfully looking at all of the wonderful UJ creations, I have finally struck forth and completed one piece … the Union Jack on canvas. Originally intended to be the chair cover for the seat pad … alas I had no measured it correctly. I never said I was an upholsterer! lol. My first effort was/is a side table .. it must be my OCD but I can’t get the lines as clean as I wish them to be. I will have to allow for artistic licence to intervene and let the “straight” lines be what they will. Beautiful workmanship. I am thankful to have found your blog, blessed to have found a clear instructional on how to properly paint the Union Jack … my next project are 2 canvas paintings of the Union Jack … then a tallboy dresser! I have subscribed to your email and I am looking forward to seeing what you get up to next! ox Care

    September 11, 2013 at 5:46 am
  • Great job on all your dressers!! I have been trying to paint my dresser for about 3 weeks now in the grey scale but I just can’t get my lines to to meet up. I’m at the point I’m just going to paint it all black…
    I’m going to see if I can figure it all out with your help now. Thank you for rescuing my disaster DIY

    October 13, 2013 at 3:54 am

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