Fourth of July Crafts and Decorations That Show Your Red, White, and Blue Spirit
Who's ready for the Fourth of July? It starts with a pledge of allegiance to our flag and ends in a spectacular firework display across the country. Whether you plan to fire up the grill and have a barbecue, go see the fireworks, or join a parade—it's time to party like it's 1776. So, if you're hosting Independence Day festivities this year, now is the time to brighten your home with American colors, stars, and stripes.
Dress up your front yard with decorations like flag garlands, bunting, medallions, and motifs like bald eagles, Uncle Sam, and the American flag in all of its glory. Box-pleated bunting adds a crowning touch to your outdoor gazebo and miniature flags can be sewn into a garland for the street-facing fence. Stick-on stars become the go-to embellishment for table runners, doormats, and hanging displays. Our printable templates and clip-art can be used for serving summer snacks like potato chips, cupcakes, and ice cream cones. A centerpiece of beeswax star candles and party favor sparklers will light up the night as the day (with our editors' brilliant safety tip) winds down and darkness falls, while your guests wait in anticipation of the spectacular show.
The Fourth of July offers plenty of kid-friendly crafts and activities as well: Pop a balloon bursting with confetti, snack from candy containers that looks like Uncle Sam's top hat, or wave pom-poms while watching as the Fourth of July parade meanders downtown.
Find inspiration in our star-spangled banners, stripes, sparklers, and a patriotic color palette of red, white, and blue—it all adds up to a party truly by and for the people.
A Trés Cheerful Tablescape
Relaxed summer dining is an art you can master in two steps. Start with French cotton toweling. It comes by the yard, doesn't need to be hemmed, and, at 16 inches wide, makes an ideal table runner. Order the length you need, plus more for napkins. We used French General fabric in St. Maxime and St. Tropez (each $12 a yd., frenchgeneral.com); Moda also makes crisp options (left; starting from $6.75 a yd., purlsoho.com). Then set out your spread in shiny vessels. Living style editor at large Naomi deMañana stocks up on food-safe pails from Bucket Outlet by Red Hill General Store, in sizes from beer-cooler big to salt-and-pepper small (starting from $1 each, bucket-outlet.com).
Patriotic Table Settings
You don't need to do a stitch of work to strike up a star-spangled banner of Fourth of July decorations. With grosgrain ribbons, heat-bond adhesive, and an iron, you can give your table some patriotic panache in minutes. First, embellish a length of linen to make a runner: Just cut ribbon and a rip of adhesive to the length you need, put the adhesive under the ribbon at the edge of the fabric, and press with an iron to attach it. To complete the scene, add bands to plain napkins, or wave the flag in red blooms. To make mini flags for arrangements (or drinks), fold wide ribbon in half over skewer, secure the fabric together with double-sided tape, and trim the ends.
Shop Now: Mood Designer Fabrics #104537 (left), $3 yd., 212-730-5003; Ribbon Factory Red, White, Royal Blue Ribbon (#GRWB; right), 1", $6 for 20 yd., ribbonfactory.com.
Channel fireworks by floating a "chandelier" at your party. Two metal wreath forms (one big, one small) and wire make a simple frame for two layers of ribbons trimmed to different lengths.
Hang lanterns in two styles. Paper ribbons inscribed with the words "America the Beautiful" dress up accordion-style lanterns and tucked with LED tea lights inside for a safe glow. Meanwhile, upside-down honeycomb bells become bodies for bald eagles, and looped wings and a drawn head give this flier a little patriotic flourish.
Red, White, and Blue Flowers
Get your flowers into the patriotic spirit, too. We love this robust bunch with fiery anemones, deep-blue alliums, and white phlox, because they say, "America the beautiful"—and they hold up in the heat (especially when you place them in cool water).
Shop Now: West Elm Pure White Ceramic Vase, starting from $13, westelm.com.
Fringed Tote Bags
This fun ribbon flashes charm and good cheer. Use heat-bond adhesive to iron it onto plain canvas tote or clutch, and show your independent streak.
Shop Now: Mood Designer Fabrics Italian Cotton Grosgrain in Fringe, 50mm, in Navy/Natural/Red, $10 yd., 212-730-5003; Imagin8 Natural Canvas Tote Bag, $12 for 3, michaels.com; Imagin8 Natural Canvas Pouch, $6, michaels.com.
Patriotic Door Medallion
Declare your national pride by greeting guests at the door with a fresh spin on this star-spangled icon. Piecing and trimming the bunting yields a bull's-eye pattern.
Tissue Fan Fireworks with Clip-Art Medallions
An array of circular tissue fans, cut to different sizes, creates a fireworks effect. On some of these pendants, the center is snipped flat, making room for a clip-art medallion. (Choose from a large medallion in liberty, eagle, or "4th" or a small medallion in liberty, eagle, or "4th"). If adding a medallion, snip the closed fan along one edge of cardboard, cutting off one staple, and this will create a flat center. Pinch together the loose tissue paper and secure it with a dollop of hot glue; then attach the medallion.
Shop Now: Oh Happy Day Shop Tissue Paper Fan, in Red, White, and Dark Blue, $4 each, shop.ohhappyday.com.
Festive Window Swag
Red, white, and blue receive equal representation at the party's entrance. These traditional window swags recall 19th century whistle-stop campaigns. And this project is easier than it looks: Just join two pieces of fabric side by side, and then pleat the bottom into a half-moon by making 1 1/2-inch accordion folds. When sewing, machine-stitch slowly, using a heavy needle, or hand-stitch. Attach a rectangular dowel in the crease with fusible webbing, iron fabric side up, and then display with pride.
Shop Now: American Flags Express Patriotic Flats, $37.30, flagsexpress.com; Woodpeckers Square Wooden Dowels, 1/4" by 36", $14 for 10, amazon.com; Woodpeckers Round Wooden Dowels, 1/2" by 36", $19 for 10, amazon.com.
Flag-Patterned Fence Swag
Have the most patriotic home in the neighborhood with this festive swag made of flags. Here, we used 8-inch-wide bunting to dress up a plain white picket fence. Start by measuring the desired length of your swag and cut 1 3/4 times this length of bunting. Then, pleat the fabric: First, lay the fabric down, wrong side up. To make a single box pleat, crease both edges of a block of blue, and fold both creases so they meet in the middle, covering the blue; the red and white stripes will line up. It's a good idea to spray with starch and iron the folds as you go; sewing along the top using a straight stitch.
Shop Now: Annin Flagmakers Bunting with Repeating Large U.S. Flag, $17 per 25 ft., amazon.com.
Wave away the heat, and proclaim your allegiance, with these red, white, and blue decorations. With wooden garden markers as handles, our fans make great party favors. Print out one of our two templates—the stars and stripes or patriotic fan—and follow the directions to create the fan.
Give paper lanterns a Fourth of July makeover. Accordion-fold tissue paper several layers high and punch with a star punch. Decoupage them onto the lantern using a store-bought medium or a homemade mixture (combining one part white glue with one part water). To create a cascading star pattern, as shown here, cluster stars close together at the top of the lantern and paste stars farther apart toward the bottom. Hang the lanterns in a group for maximum impact.
Fabric star medallions will brighten up your party like daytime fireworks. Standard cotton prints work best for this project and spraying starch helps the creases to keep their shape. To make one, start by cutting a length of fabric: The width will be the diameter of the medallion; the length should be 1.6 times the width (for example, for a 15 1/2-inch medallion, cut about 25 inches of fabric). Fold the fabric accordion-style in 1 1/2-inch sections, spraying with starch and ironing after each fold. Connect the sides of the rectangle by fanning out fabric from center stitch and adhering together with fusible webbing.
Stars-and-Stripes Gazebo Trim
Box-pleated bunting adds a crowning touch to a gazebo or other outdoor structure. We trimmed the traditional flag design to highlight the blue-and-white part of the pattern. For crisper folds, iron the pleats as you make them. To make it, measure a 12-inch-high roll of flag-pattern bunting that's about two times the desired length and cut. To make a single box pleat, crease both edges of a red-and-white block (where the stripes meet the blue block), and then fold both creases so they meet in the middle, covering the stripes; essentially, you're matching blocks of blue to blocks of blue.
Shop Now: Premier Prints Mini Star Premier Navy Multipurpose Fabric, $12 per yd., patiolane.com.
Paper Wind Streamers
With little more than an empty container and colored paper, you can create a festive decoration that's perfect for any patriotic occasion. To make one, use double-sided tape to affix blue kraft paper to fit inside and outside the container. Use paper punches to create decorative stars and four holes at the north, south, east, and west points of the container's top. Thread a piece of waxed twine through one hole and its opposite hole, and tie it in place (repeating for all remaining holes). Red and white ribbons are glued at the bottom edge as streamers.
Patriotic Clip-Art Paper Cones
Serving up snacks? Filled with a mix of beet and blue-potato chips, this easy-to-make container is something to cheer for. To make these paper cones: print clip-art image (red or blue) and trim. Score along dotted line, and fold back to create a tab. Wrap to form cone, and attach sides with glue stick or double-sided tape. To prevent grease marks, line the inside of the cone with waxed paper if desired.
Beeswax Star Candles
Brighten your table with a centerpiece inspired by two highlights of summer: fireworks and our star-spangled banner. Trim out star shapes with cookie cutters. (Tip: If the wax is hard to handle, soften it using hair dryer on low.) Then craft this celestial centerpiece by pressing two beeswax sheets together, overlapping a skewered wick.
Raffia Pom-Pom Napkin Rings
Bundle utensils in blue-and-white linen with red pom-pom napkin rings. The palette is patriotic, and the style factor is sky-high. To make them, cinch the raffia at the center on one side with floral wire; slide it off and cut the loop in half. Fluff the ends. Fashion the wire into a circle, and twist it closed.
Brass Star Ornaments
A casual backyard barbecue becomes a star-studded event with these oversized ornaments twirling around. Simply bend and glue inexpensive brass strips (each one measuring 1/2 inch wide and 36 inches long) from the hardware store to form celestial shapes. To make one, start by marking seven 5-inch-long sections on one brass strip and use pliers to bend the strip at each mark, forming the top part points of the star. Cut another 17-inch-long strip, narking at 1 inch, then three 5-inch intervals, and then another 1-inch interval; bend at each mark. To complete the star, glue the two strips together using a strong adhesive. Let it dry 24 hours, then hang them from a porch ceiling or even a tree limb. They will withstand the elements and catch the light as they spin in the breeze.
Sailor's Knot Wreath
If you could once make friendship bracelets or macrame pot hangers at summer camp, you can make quick handiwork of this wreath. It's braided using a sailor's knot, and the natural rope ensures that it will withstand any weather displayed on your front door this summer.
Flag Cake-Stand Monument
Pledge allegiance to this festive flag stand. We put it on top of a two-tiered cake stand to create a mini cupcake monument. To make it, start by priming and painting a wooden finial and plaque. Mark three spots on the base of a wooden plaque, and drill holes the diameter of the flag dowels into the base. Attach the finial to the wooden base and insert flag dowels into the drilled holes to snugly fit.
An easy-to-make addition to the front door, this festive doormat is perfect for last-minute Fourth of July decorating. The project calls for little more than a basic doormat, paint, tape, and a stenciling template that you can prepare yourself by tracing onto a manila folder or lightweight cardboard, and cutting out three star shapes. For best results, use a sturdy, coir doormat (available at hardware stores), which will withstand the elements and a lot of foot traffic, so it can be used year after year.
Shop Now: Room Essentials Solid Doormat Beige, $20, target.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Stencil Brush Set, $10, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, in Wild Blueberry and Habanero, $2.49 each, michaels.com.
Honeycomb Tissue Garland Globes
When a honeycomb garland is cut in half, the flat side will sit flush against a serving piece. One long garland yields several bands. Cut each flattened garland on both sides of the center hole, as shown; discard center. Divide garland into lengths that wrap around your serving dishes by peeling apart paper layers. If garland pieces are taller than your serving dishes, trim top and bottom points. Use double-sided tape to secure garland ends.
Shop Now: Oh Happy Day Shop Honeycomb Ball, in Red, White, and Dark Blue $4 each, shop.ohhappyday.com.
Nothing pulls a party together like a motif and a vibrant palette. Set the tone in advance with a summertime lobster bake using claw-shaped invitations, lobster-red and sail-white hues on place cards and these festive flag streamers. To make them, draw our printable template to size on plain paper, and cut out. Trace onto scrapbook or other decorative paper, and cut out the flags. Cut a length of twine as long as you want streamers to be. Apply glue stick to top of a flag, on back. Wrap the glued edge around the twine, folding the resulting flaps forward and securing them on the front of flag.
Tissue Paper Fan Decorations
Opened halfway and layered, these tissue-paper fans make a breezy addition to a porch or a gazebo. Create fans in different sizes by trimming diagonally along the closed fans' unstapled ends. Open each fan halfway; peel off several layers from one side, leaving the staples in place. Use painters' tape to hang the fans.
Shop Now: Oh Happy Day Shop Tissue Paper Fan, in Red, White, and Dark Blue, $4 each, shop.ohhappyday.com.
Firework Place Cards
As daylight fades and twilight descends, it's time for extra sparkle! To end the party on a light note, this fireworks pattern makes this an ideal wrapping paper for a box of sparklers. Write guest names in the label space provided. The wrapped boxes can serve as place cards as well as party favors.