Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day Fun: A Collection of Four Great Ideas!

I found some super ideas for celebrating the 4th of July in blog land this year, check these out!  These crafts can also be made with different colors for different celebrations..

Ribbony Goodness Decoration Idea

Courtney over at A Diamond in the Stuff has beautiful photographs of a Patriotic Ribbon Topiary she put together.  It is so fun to just look at the photos... but the skeptic in me thought it was probably way harder than she described.  Well, mine isn't as gorgeous as hers, but easy?  I finished the whole thing THE NIGHT BEFORE 4th of July.  And it looks even better "in person," according to my kindergartner (aww, shucks!).

I looked up a bunch of ribbon topiaries to get a better idea of how to do it, but it is really as easy as it seems. You need a foam ball (mine was large from JoAnn's), a pot (mine was from Goodwill), a styrofoam block to stick inside the pot (stabilize dowel) and moss to cover it, a wooden dowel (mine was 3/8"), bunches of ribbon in various sizes and textures cut up in 4" (10cm) pieces, and straight pins. 

When they say you need a lot of ribbon, phew, they mean it.  I used 6 rolls!  It was recommended to choose different widths and textures, which I ended up doing but Courtney's is all one width.  Either way seems great, another advantage of this project!  Then you just pin loops of ribbon into the ball, one at a time, until the ball is covered.  Twist the loops so they overlap in different directions.  Fun!  Ok, it gets a little tedious but my mantra was Courtney's "ribbony goodness" and the fun part was watching it come together.  I am darn sure I'll be doing another ribbon topiary soon!

3D Cardstock Wreath Decoration Idea

Here is another gorgeously photographed project that seemed too simple to come out so fantastic looking... a patriotic star wreath made from cardstock, no kidding!  Brandy at Gluesticks has a great tutorial on making these here.  With different seasonal paper, the wreath could work anytime! The catch was that Brandy used a cricut machine to make it. Oh sure, she said we could do it without a machine, but is that really so?

YES!  And I've put the star shape I used as my template below in case there is someone else who wants to try this without a machine... but do go see Brandy's as hers is a TRUE masterpiece.

This was a last minute project (of course) and I didn't have any navy paper for the blue stars, so  pardon the turquoise!  Here is the free clipart "Happy July 4th."

The stars are fun to make in themselves. I had one of our party guests making them last night (she was 9) just for fun.  We stuck hers on bamboo skewers with a coil of masking tape so she could arrange them in a vase when she got home. 

Tri-Colored Drinks

Here's another way-too-cool idea that is super simple!  The secret to making layered drinks is to 1) put the liquid with heaviest sugar content at the bottom, lightening up as you go, 2) making sure there is enough ice so you can pour the new layer on an ice cube rather than into liquid (minimizes mixing).

This recipe, from Family Fun, uses cranberry juice at the bottom, blue gatorade in the middle, and diet 7-up at top.  There was a run on blue gatorade in Willamsburg this year so the only kind we could find was "light."  It still had enough sugar to work as the middle color though, phew!  We served these with fancy star-spangled straws.

Flag Cake

This one you have to link to, really. Glory over at Glorious treats made a tutorial for this flag cake look so easy, it was another thing I had to try.  You use two cake mixes. Dye both rounds of one mix red and one half blue of the other mix.  Split the red and white layers after they're baked, cut a 4" circle from the blue layer (to make a ring), and fill the hole in the blue layer with 4" circles from the red and white layers.   Glory shows you how!  I found a bowl that had a 4" diameter and traced that onto cardboard to use as my circle template.

I hate to put a picture of mine up because it was, well... maybe I can blame it on the hot and humid Virginia weather?  I was too much in a serving hurry to get a good photo (frosting stuck to knife, you know how it goes). And make sure to thicken my lemon buttercream frosting!  Nonetheless, it was a favorite of our 4th of July guests...and there was NONE left.  :)

Watermelon Shark-Monster

You've probably seen photos of the way-cool watermelon carved sharks floating on the web, but I'm here to tell you, it's one of those projects that looks difficult but is EASY and fun.  I didn't get a photo until after the party, so all the candy fish are gone and his fin fell off.  It would have been better with a pointy melon, but this little guy started a lot of conversations!   I tried to find out who the original artist was but didn't have any luck... found this tutorial though.

3d Star Paper Wreath Template


  1. I think you did an awesome job!!! That's what's so fun about the ribbon topiary, changing the ribbon and it has a whole new look! Great job!

  2. Hi Cheryl! We did the layered drinks and shark as well! Our cranberry juice was more of a brown color (next time I'll buy cocktail vs. 100% juice), but it was still fun! So many great ideas out there for the 4th this year! Thank you so much for featuring my cardstock wreath. I am so glad that it turned out great for you and that you've been having fun making even more stars! Have a wonderful week!!!


  3. I love the Watermelon Shark-Monster! Another good free craft for Independence Day is coloring pages like http://www.thecolor.com/Category/Coloring/Fourth%20Of%20July.aspx?holiday