A Homegrown Maryland Flag

Mary and I are transplants to Maryland, but we’ve been here long enough to know how important the flag is to Marylanders. When designing our craft lines, the "Homegrown" concept appealed to both of us, and we knew we wanted to do a flag for our first project. We’re so glad we did: even though it's the most challenging among our current offerings, it’s been our most popular craft so far!
My dear friend, Moss, who is a carpenter and wood worker, made me a gorgeous inlaid wood cheese board for my birthday. That same month, I visited the American Craft Show in Baltimore. Inlaid wood was everywhere: in kitchen tools, furniture, jewelry. I came home and started looking at tutorials and blog posts, interested to find out how these beautiful, seamless pieces are made.
Inlaid wood is an impressive piece of work, and requires a skill beyond my (current) practice to pro level, but both Mary and I love the look and wanted to share it in a craft that would be accessible without a router, joiner, planer, et al. The flag turned out to be the perfect fit for our version of "inlaid wood."
In order to achieve the look, Mary devised a technique using an exacto knife and intricate staining. We tested a few types of boards, looking for an approachable scale, not too big or too small, and for a seamless, fine grain.
At first, we tried an old-fashioned style of stain, but we found that the separation of the product proved too variable to provide consistent results. Using the newer formulation of Varathane proved much easier to work with, while still providing a rich tone. The subdued tones of the stain added a welcome, subtle touch to the finished product.
We know the Maryland flag goes anywhere around here, but the muted tones lend themselves to indoor display, perhaps in an entry, living room, or dining room. Adding a coat of spray-on polyurethane would protect finished flags for outside display on a front door or back porch.
I envision this flag hanging next to a picnic table covered in craft paper for picking crabs!
Happy Making!