A Grandslam Upcycle!

To say that Erin’s dad is a fan of baseball is an understatement.

He. LOVES. Baseball.

In fact, there’s an entire room in their home dedicated to his baseball memorabilia. He even has a pair of stadium seats from the old Arlington Stadium where the Texas Rangers played until 1993. One of his newest additions to the collection is a set of baseball bats – engraved with each name of his granddaughters on the barrel.

Each year when Christmas rolls around, we struggle with what to get our parents. Have you been there? There’s not anything they need, and a new coffee mug just seems redundant. This year we got the bright idea to home-make a gift – and the result was a hit! (like the pun?)

While at a friends house, Erin noticed an American Flag made of bats hanging on the wall she won at a silent auction fundraiser. You could also purchase one on Etsy for about $200, or you can take a swing at making your own! That’s what we did. Since Jim is a Texas Ranger fan, we opted to paint on the Texas Flag.

I think we completed this project for less that $20. You can pick up some bats at your local Hobby Lobby for $2.99, and they are frequently on sale. The only other supplies we used were 3 cans of spray paint, painters tape, and liquid nails.

Here’s the process.

Carefully Cut:

This can be a little tricky since bats aren’t straight. Use a table saw, and take it SLOW. If you are making the American Flag you will need 6.5 bats to paint the 13 stripes.  We only used 6 bats, 12 halves, since the Texas Flag is symmetrical.

 

 

Arrange the Bats:

Once your bats are cut it’s time to lay the bats how you want. We put the flat side down and set them on some spare pieces of wood. The barrels alternated directions to give an even look.

 

 Paint

Spray paint the left side of the bats blue. You’ll want to make sure to cover at least a 1/3 of the bats with paint. You don’t want to have to spray more blue later.  It’s best to get it right the first time, saving you more energy in the long run!

 

Tape:

Now you can prep the bats for taping. Look for your flags specific dimensions online to make sure it looks correct. The Texas Flag is 1/3 blue, so we measured and taped off each bat 6 inches from the left (bat lengths are 18″). HERE’S A TIP: We taped off each bat individually to avoid any overspray from coming back over on the blue.

 

Add Color:

If you’re making a Texas Flag you’ll want to spray paint the top 6 bats white and the bottom 6 bats red. To prevent the blue from overspray we taped it off first and then sprayed the white and red in different locations to keep the colors from mixing.  It took about 15 minutes for the paint to dry. After drying, carefully peel off the painters tape.


Details:

Now it’s detail time. We created a four inch star on the computer, printed it off and cut it out as our template. With a pencil, lightly trace your star over the middle 4 bats (2 whites and 2 reds). Then tape off the inverse sections of the star and carefully spray it white. Let it dry and take of the remaining painters tape…see pic below.

 

Secure:

Now that the paint job is complete, it’s time to secure the bats to a framework. You’ll notice we painted the scrap wood to match the color of the flag. This was to avoid seeing any brown in the space between each bat.

Liquid Nail is a great adhesive for wood. It needs plenty of drying time, but creates a strong bond. After the adhesive dried, I chose to add some staples on the backside for added strength.

You’ll also notice in the pic below a “dull” look. I added a satin clear coat for added protection. If you prefer, you could use a semi-gloss to retain the shine.

 

Finished Product:

And there you have it!  Time to hang it on the wall, and enjoy the many conversations this piece will bring. Here’s the piece hanging in the baseball room of Jim’s house.


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