Celebrate America's birthday with a decoration that's resplendent in red, white, and blue spirit.

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patriotic fourth of july wreath on red door
Courtesy of Ashley Poskin

Ribbon decorations known as "cockades" have been around for centuries, and they are most commonly associated with the French Revolution or military. Cockades have been worn on hats, used to show political leanings, and have also been used in mourning customs. As shown here, they are used in a front door decoration for the Fourth of July. The designs can be made as simple or as complex as you like by layering various sizes and patterns on top of each other, and adding your preference of vintage buttons, medals, or tails. Rayon grosgrain ribbons are a favorite to use for this project, but polyester, satin, and cotton work as well. (We used ribbons from Michaels, JOANN Fabrics and Crafts, and Vogue Fabrics.)

The best way to work on this project is to take everything one step at a time: Cut and fold all your ribbons first, using a straight pin to hold them in place on a piece of foam board. After each ribbon has been cut and folded, move on to sewing. After the loops and ends are all stitched, move over to the ironing board and begin to arrange and iron each cockade.

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

fourth of july wreath ribbon fold
Step 1

Start by cutting a length of ribbon measuring approximately four feet long. Lay it on a cleared work surface and accordion fold it back and forth five or more times, leaving a tail measuring at least one inch at the beginning and end of each fold. (Tip: If you're making more than one cockade, you can use a straight pin to hold the bundle in place while you create more.)

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fourth of july wreath ribbon stitch
Step 2

Hold the ribbon bundle in your hand and run a stitch from the outer left side of the tail through to the top left corner of the first loop. Backstitch by coming over the top of the ribbon, then stitch the first loop to the second. Repeat this process, backstitching and connecting to the next loop to create a chain of stitches along the top left side of the folded ribbons. Once all the loops have been stitched together, pull the tails together and place a secure stitch.

fourth of july wreath ribbon arranging step
Step 3

Flip the ribbon bundle over so that the non-stitched open edge is facing up, then carefully position the loops by fanning them out. (Tip: We like to work in a clockwise pattern, giving attention to the center folds of the cockade first, rather than the larger loops.) Once you're happy with the arrangement of your cockade, you can pin the ribbons in place or use an iron to set the folds.

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fourth of july wreath arranging ribbons
Step 4

Turn the cockade over to the backside and use a running stitch around the center to secure the cockade's assembly. (Tip: As an added precaution, place a stitch at each of the points where the ribbons meet to keep them from flopping around.)

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fourth of july wreath glue ribbons
Step 5

Brush the wreath ring with gold craft paint, and position the cockades around in an arrangement. For dimension, stack smaller cockades on top of larger ones and place in clusters around the ring. Hot glue the cockades to the wreath wring, and add gold buttons and tails, if desired. (Note: The four-inch satin ribbons like the ones shown in the photo are a beautiful addition and will gently blow in the breeze.)

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