NYC event designer David Stark is a longtime fan of American artist Jasper Johns. A while back, the team at David Stark Design took inspiration from Johns’s monochromatic White Flag—a 1955 painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—and created a simple DIY holiday tablecloth for the Fourth of July.
Below are the team’s instructions for creating a flag-inspired tablecloth or picnic blanket using a painter’s drop cloth and white paint (follow the same general steps to make a table runner, placemats, napkins, or even wall art).
Photography by Corrie Hogg of David Stark Design for Remodelista.
- Gesso or white primer
- Spare jar for mixing paint
- Paint brush
- 2-inch masking or painter’s tape
- Iron-on adhesive backing
- Heavy-duty star punch, such as a Fiskars Star Shape Punch ($25.99)
- Lightweight canvas fabric or a canvas painter’s drop cloth (see note)
Note: For the canvas fabric, purchase the amount needed for your tablecloth, plus an extra 18 inches to make the stars. David’s team bought canvas fabric at Artist & Craftsman Supply in Manhattan, which has stores across the country. Canvas also is available from Dick Blick, local fabric stores, or hardware stores that sell drop cloths.
Step 1: Cut the canvas to fit your table, leaving an overhang on all sides.
Step 2: Prep the fabric. Use some of the gesso to mix one-part gesso and one-part water in a jar. Apply a light wash to the entire canvas using loose, painterly strokes. The color you achieve here will be the background for the flag’s white stripes and stars, so your application should not be opaque. Allow to dry completely.
Step 3: After the canvas is dry, use the masking tape to mark off stripes. Press the tape firmly, and paint the stripes using the gesso at full strength (not watered down).
Step 4: To make the stars, paint a large piece of scrap canvas (or several smaller pieces) with full-strength gesso. Allow to dry completely. Once dry, apply the iron-on adhesive to the back of the painted canvas, following the instructions on the adhesive packaging.
Step 5: After the iron-on adhesive has cooled, use the star punch to cut stars from the painted canvas.
Step 6: Lay out the flag’s star pattern. Working one star at a time, remove the paper backing from the iron-on adhesive and iron each star into place, following the instructions on the adhesive packaging.
For more from David Stark, see Short on Floral Inspiration? Start with the Vessel, Says David Stark and Shopper’s Diary: A Garden Pop-Up by Designer David Stark.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on June 30, 2016.