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Holiday Gathering




Here's another idea for July 4 party decor. Start with napkins, a runner, and seating cards in bursts of red, white, and blue. Then add a set of paper pom-poms attached to skewers to bring more fireworks to the table. Stick the skewers into sand-filled jars, as we did, or into a cake or a cheese plate.


  • Napkins, a runner, and seating cards in bursts of red, white, and blue
  • Paper pom-poms
  • Skewers
  • Sand-filled jars (optional)
  • Vellum
  • Scissors
  • Kitchen scrub brush
  • White pen


  1. Step 1

    Fold a 3-by-15-inch piece of vellum in half twice lengthwise. Cut slits every 1/8 inch, leaving inch at the top uncut. Unfold the paper, and attach a 1-inch piece of double-sided tape to one uncut corner; adhere to a bamboo skewer, and wrap the paper around several times.

  2. Step 2


    Once you reach the other end, use another piece of double-sided tape to secure. Curl the lower strips with the edge of a scissor blade, as you would a ribbon.

  3. Step 3

    Dip the bristles of a kitchen scrub brush into fabric paint from a crafts store. Press bristles firmly onto fabric.

  4. Step 4


    Use smaller bottle brushes to create patterns on paper place cards; then handwrite names with a white pen.

Martha Stewart Living, July 2007



Reviews (27)

  • Shienqua 10 May, 2013

    Really great idea, but i feel the best place for this paper was from I have always shopped with them and they usually have the best prices anywhere on the internet. Thanks and this is a great idea and can not wait til try!

  • Monkey75 2 Jul, 2012

    job2play- I am actually looking for a raft to do with the residents at our elderly home too! what a coincidence, that must mean this is a good project to do:)

  • bannwalker 1 Jul, 2010

    Where do you buy the red and blue vellum? I checked Joann's and Michael's - neither had it.

  • rock63roll64 29 Jun, 2010


  • job2play 31 May, 2010

    i can't wait to use this in my nursing home. I love to make things they can help with and the sand is a great sensory exercise tool. plus they like to make things that are pretty.

  • jyoung434 30 Jun, 2008

    I am just cracking up at the thought of people getting poked by the skewers. You don't give them to toddlers to play with! I think people are more than capable of showing a tad bit of self restraint and leaving them where they are -- as a DECORATION -- and not snatching them and stabbing other party guests in the eye. I think they're cute, and I plan to make them.

  • mistybleu 28 Jun, 2008

    What a great idea. It will certainly be a big hit with our children, and grandchildren. Thankyou Martha! Happy 4th of July...

  • Alex_Nonna 28 Jun, 2008

    My grandson made the pom poms last year for the Fourth. He put them in old blue bottles. They made quite a statement. Everyone loved them.

  • Anna_Marie 27 Jun, 2008

    So festive and fun! Like having the fireworks show right on your table! Love it!

  • HiMartha 27 Jun, 2008

    Cute cute idea! I can't wait to try it!

  • ColorsOutsideLines 27 Jun, 2008

    I googled "paper drinking straws" and located this manufacturer.
    You could always make your own by wrapping a strip of paper around a pencil and gluing or taping it together. =)

  • tsoave 27 Jun, 2008

    Winterbeach, if you feel this is a silly craft (and I'd have to assume you probably view most handicrating as silly as well?) then what in hades are you doing subscribing to this in the first place? I think you are silly! I also think this is a very cool idea and will use it for my 4th of July get together with joy!

  • willowisp80 27 Jun, 2008

    Rellimroof, what's colored rain? I do a lot of crafts, but I've never heard of this. It sounds interesting, though.

  • metalouise 27 Jun, 2008

    colors outside the lines- do you know where to get paper straws? I have been looking but no luck so far-hate those plastic ones

  • mayacondios 27 Jun, 2008

    if you want the sand to look white, use salt instead of sand. that's what i do. i'd also add a few things to the jars to pep them up a bit. perhaps sea glass or something. great start though. i'm going to have to use this idea.

  • ColorsOutsideLines 27 Jun, 2008

    Goodness gracious winterbeach..... Paper is compostable and the skewers can be reused for quite a few things, just use some imagination. I do like the idea of using soda straws if you are worried about safety. Use paper straws and you can compost those too.

  • gacrafter 27 Jun, 2008

    If you see the skewers as a potential hazard, why not use drinking straws to make the pom poms.

  • kristasuz 27 Jun, 2008

    Vellum is a special kind of paper. It is the transparent paper used on modern wedding invitations where the words are printed on the vellum and a pattern or picture is on the paper beneath. You can see what vellum looks like in the picture of the sunflower if you follow this link.

  • lperlman27 27 Jun, 2008

    What's vellum? Is it that spongy thin foam or is it some kind of special paper? Thanks.

  • Rellimroof 27 Jun, 2008

    These are a quick festive craft. They would perk up any decor. I think that I will make a few and add to my 4th of Jully floral arrangements.
    I was thinking that the colored rain from Christmas would possibly work.
    I am going to give it a try.

  • Giovanna299 27 Jun, 2008

    Then I suppose I shouldn't invite you to my barbecue, I'd hate to see what you could do with a chicken kebab.

  • pauprint 27 Jun, 2008

    I think the sparklers/fireworks are fantastic. A wonderful decoration. I plan on making some for our gathering on the 4th!!!! The cats will love them.

  • lrenfro 27 Jun, 2008

    I don't think anyone in my supper club is going to feel the need to pull out the pom poms to poke themselves or anyone else...

    They are also something I will keep to use from year to year. Love this idea!

  • tackysue 27 Jun, 2008

    Crafts, as art, beautify our surroundings. They do not need to be practical or environmentally sensible. Silly is getting miffed over the perceived uselessness of arts and crafts.

    I think this craft is fun and festive and actually plan to make these with my kids today. They love silly things.

  • winterbeach 27 Jun, 2008

    when I see those skewers with pompoms I see potential eye injuries, poked mouths and more landfill. Silly "craft"

  • kborduin 27 Jun, 2008

    Odd, it didn't post my whole post, not that it was big to start with!

  • kborduin 27 Jun, 2008

    Looks cute