The Union Jack Coffee Table: Part 2

As promised from yesterday’s post, here’s more detailed information on how I did this Union Jack design on an old coffee table. I did make some mistakes and I will point them out to you, so you will sail through this easily!

First, a little history of the Union Jack. It’s actually called the Union Flag (made up of the Saltires – heraldic symbols –  of the Cross of St. George for England, the Cross of St. Patrick for Ireland and the Cross of St. Andrew for Scotland). The correct use of the phrase “Union Jack” is only for when it’s on a ship. Didn’t know that til this morning!

Union Jack coffee table

Instead of the usual red, white and blue, I used more neutral colors – Annie Sloan Chalk Paints in French Linen, Paris Grey, and Old White. For the legs of the table I used Old White and Paris Grey for the accents. Here’s the table I started with…

a before pic of the drop leaf coffee table


1) First, paint the table top in French Linen. Let dry – really (or else your tape may pull off to easily).

2) Mark off/pencil the horizontal and vertical, diagonal Xs. Your dimensions may vary but this is how I plotted it out: the vertical, horizontal and diagonal x crosses were 3 inches wide.

3) Tape out your design. You can use regular blue painters’ tape but make sure you burnish the edges so there’s no seepage. Or you can use Frog Tape for cleaner edges! Take a razor blade and score/cut where you need to, to complete the “X” designs. Keep a picture of the Union Jack in front of you so that you don’t make any cutting mistakes. Tip – lightly score, but enough to go through the tape layers – and then place a metal ruler against the scored edge and the pull the tape against the ruler, diagonally to remove. 

Union Jack table with taped design

I actually had started removing some tape here


Taping off the Union Jack design on furniture
Removing tape to make the white crosses


4) Paint the Xs in Old White (or whatever color you would like to use). I did 2 layers. Remove all tape.

 White crosses painted on the Union Jack

5) When dry, pencil in and tape out the rest of the design on top of the Old White where you will paint the Paris Grey or whatever you want to use! Look at your visual of the flag for where to place the stripes. Remove tape where necessary.

how to draw the Union Flag video on Youtube

This pic from a YouTube video on how to draw the flag was very helpful

The dimensions I used: Interior crosses (where I painted Paris Grey) were approximately 2 inches wide; the smaller Old White stripes were 1/2 inches. Initially I made the small diagonal stripes 1/2 inches, but it looked too small, so I had to re-do!! I made them 3/4 inches wide and that looked so much better.

6) Paint two layers of your chosen color….remove tape. Let dry.

Union Jack design with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

7) Distress, if you would like a more aged look. Wax – I first used Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax.  Let dry for about 20 minutes – then buffed with a clean, lint-free cloth.  Then I used MMS Antiquing Wax to age further.  Let dry 20 minutes.  Buff…done!

Mistakes I made:  Well, I said earlier that I made the Paris Grey smaller diagonal stripes too small, so I rectified that.  But, one classic mistake that I made was not looking at my Flag Visual more closely when I was doing the penciling and taping.  

Union Jack taping disaster

The was OK, but the measurement of the stripes were too thin

When I first taped the Paris Grey parts of the design, I didn’t pay attention to where I was stopping the upper right and lower left stripes.  Plus, my angle was a bit off.  I was hasty (as I always am) and I just taped it and painted it.  So, in addition to the stripes being too narrow…there was too much white in those sections.  Maybe most people wouldn’t notice it – but it bothered me so much when I took off the tape. I had to repaint and retape!  

Chalk Paint on Union Jack table

Painting the Paris Grey sections of the table

wrong way to paint the Union Jack

Too much Old White, narrow stripes of Paris Grey. Needed to re-do!

 retaping the Union Jack design on the table

Union Jack design with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

 Much better…Here are some other pics.

close up of distressed legs on a coffee table painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Leg close up!


table top with Union Jack painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

drop leaf table with Union Jack painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

As this was a drop leaf table, when the sides are down the design still needed to make sense

Union Jack coffee table

a before and after pic of a painted Union Jack table with Annie Sloan Chalk Paints

Before and After

Here are some other helpful resources…

 The YouTube Video of How to Draw the Union Flag

And…Meg Made Designs tutorial on how to paint the Union Jack on a dresser.

Sharing this project with…Between Naps on the Porch; Funky Junk Interiors, DIY Showoff, Dwellings

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6 Responses to The Union Jack Coffee Table: Part 2

  1. Jann Newton says:

    Your table looks great Linda!

    Donna’s party starts Friday at 9:00 pm central. I just got lucky on that one!

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Jann! I will make sure that I write that info down. I am always way way down at the bottom of the link lists by the time I remember to link!

  2. I am loving this table…great design! Come link up your post at my party Centerpiece Wednesday

  3. Wow, Linda…you’re right, this is gorgeous! I just happen to have another drop leaf table in the garage very similar to this! Now you’ve got me thinking! 🙂

    • Linda says:

      Hi Christy! Thanks for writing. I can’t wait to see your drop leaf table that you have in your garage! I have some gems in mine as well…plus some in a storage unit. Have to get busy!

  4. Kelly says:

    Hi! I was just looking for ideas to do this on my own table! I noticed on the legs it looks like graphite under the distressed bit, did you paint it first before the white and gray? I may have totally blown over that part!

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