Fourth of July is a time-honored American tradition. It marks the midpoint of Summer and is a celebration of freedom. Fourth of July makes me think of picnics, small town parades, BBQ’s, baseball games, and fireworks! All of these fun activities can really cut into your budget. Here are some crafty ways to save.
Decorate with flags on a stick. Place them along your walkway to the front door, in flower pots, or as a centerpiece on your kitchen table. They are inexpensive and easy to store when the holidays are over. I have found them in the dollar bins packaged 3 for $1.00 and at the thrift store for 20 cents each.
Because these little flags are so inexpensive, I found them to be a perfect home decor garland . Remove the staples where the flag is attached to the stick. Long-nose pliers come in handy for this task. You will need to measure the area where your garland is going to be hung. A small garland (4 flags) can be made to hang over a mirror, a medium-sized garland (8-12 flags) works well for a fireplace, and a long garland (15-20 or more) ties nicely onto a railing on your stairs.
Lay your flags out and find large buttons that will help attach the flags together to create your garland. Buttons can be found in thrift stores, in large bags at craft stores, or even at garage sales or estate sales. Don’t blow your budget on buttons -- when purchased individually, they can really add up!
* A button storage tip: Store extra buttons in Mason jars. I find these jars for $1.00 or less at thrift stores. They are perfect to see what buttons you have and affordable so you can buy one jar for each color of button without spending a small fortune on storage.
With your buttons and flags arranged in a pattern you like, it is time to sew part of the button to one corner of a flag and the other part of the button to the other side of the next flag. If you are using different colors of embroidery floss to match the different colored buttons, then it is easiest to sew all the red buttons with the red embroidery floss, the blue buttons with the blue embroidery floss, etc. instead of sewing the buttons in their order and having to change the needle’s embroidery floss each time. If you are a non-sewer, don’t panic. You can tie floss through the holes of your buttons and then carefully hot glue the button so it holds the flags together.
Finish the flag garland by tying bows to attach to each end. Ribbon can be another expense. Look in the dollar bins for ribbon to match your garland. Make sure of the number of yards on the dollar spool. Don’t get home and realize that you don’t have enough ribbon to make a bow. A basic bow takes 1 1/2 yards (looks like your shoestrings tied in your tennis shoes) and a more elaborate bow takes 3 yards or more. Instead of ribbon, tulle works well and is less expensive, or fabric sold in small bundles and torn into strips can make a cute bow. Behind the bow, I made a loop with my embroidery floss so I would have a hanger for the garland. You can also tie it with string to a railing. I decided to add the word “America” to my garland. I used rubber stamps to stamp the word, and then I went over the stamped image with brown embroidery floss. You can personalize your garland with words or sayings like “Home of the Brave”.
Another use for the flags on a stick is to use the flag on a T-shirt . Every Fourth of July, I buy T-shirts for the entire family. This year I decided I could make them. I bought inexpensive T-shirts on clearance. Craft stores have them for $2.50 or less when on sale. I used fusible web (found in the fabric department) to iron the flag to my shirt. Most fusible web is temporary. It is designed to hold your item, so it doesn’t move while you sew it. Once the flag is attached to the shirt, then you can sew the flag using a sewing machine or hand-stitch it with embroidery floss. Embellish the flag with spare buttons, and in the dollar bins, I found metal pins for 4th of July. Five pins came on a package for $1.00. I could make five T-shirts with one pin used for each shirt.
I purchased clear candle holders at a craft store at half price. I fill the little candle holders each holiday with M & M’s. During Christmas, they have red and green M & M’s, Valentine’s Day they are pink and red, and during Easter they are in pastel colors. For 4th of July, they are red, white, and blue. I set my tea-lite candles in the holders, and they make a nice centerpiece for my kitchen table. You could add rub-on’s to the outside of the jars, and instead of candles, you could use Flags on a Stick. If you have trouble finding M & M’s, look in the dollar section of candy and you may find something else that works well -- red cherry candies, Red Hots, or Skittles in summery colors. If the clear candle holders are pricey, then head to the thrift store and pick up a few there…they don’t have to match as long as they are all the same color.
Wave your flag and celebrate our American heritage this Fourth of July with these fun budget saving tips! Happy Fourth of July!
~ Kara (Studio Pink)