Friday, July 3, 2015

Creative 4th of July Decorating Ideas Using Household Items

Tonight, on the eve of the 4th of July, I thought that it would be fun to come up with some easy, creative, "outside-of-the-box" ideas to share with you to help you decorate for the 4th of July--or any patriotic celebration--using 15 different household items.

Need to make your home patriotic in a flash?  Then get ready to raid your house for unexpected decor items!  If you think like a Martian when you're decorating for the Fourth, you'll discover that you'll have much better luck finding items in your home that are red, white, OR blue than items that are red, white, AND blue!

To create the vignette below, I raided the toy box, the kitchen drawers, and the bookcase.

Household Item #1: Cookie Cutters
Dig through your baking drawer to find your star-shaped cookie cutters from Christmas time and incorporate them into your decor.  They're ba-ack!  Bells could work as well (think: Liberty Bell).

Household Item #2: Dish Towels or Cloth Napkins
If you've got dish towels or cloth napkins in red, white, or blue, you can arrange a vignette on top of them on a console table, shelf, or mantel, or you can arrange them down the center of the table as a makeshift patchwork table runner. If you have lots of them, you can hang them on a long ribbon to make a banner.

Household Item #3: Toys and Alphabet Blocks
I was lucky to have some vintage toys on hand when I put together this vignette, but current toys would be equally fun.  Toy trucks and wagons in patriotic colors work great as well.  Building blocks offer versatility. The ones shown here are from my daughter's Uncle Goose Classic ABC Block set that she's had since she was a baby.  You can see the same blocks incorporated into a Valentine's Day post here.
Household Item #4: Books
Raid your bookcase for red, white, or blue books, and use stacks of them around your house to vary the heights of items in your vignettes.

Household Item #5: Chistmas Ornaments
Got any red, silver, or gold stars in your giant, plastic bin full of Christmas decorations?  Let 'em shine again for Christmas in July!  The red stars shown here were actually Christmas ornaments marked down to pennies at Big Lots long after Christmas had passed.

Household Item #6: Postage Stamps
Ok, I know it's unlikely that very many of my readers are philatelists (postage stamp collectors or aficionados), but I'll admit that I still have my childhood stamp collection. (Yes, clearly I was always one of the cool kids.  Why do you ask?)  My collection came in handy here as the source of these American flag postage stamps.

Household Item #7:  Ribbons
Every home needs a big Ziploc bag full of ribbons.  Our home has one, and it seems like we pull ribbons out of that bag multiple times a week to wrap gifts, wind around flower vases, tie back my daughter's hair, or incorporate in some other way into a seasonal display.  If you usually throw ribbons away when you receive gifts, consider hanging onto them.  They don't take up much space at all, and they're a great way to add a pop of seasonal color.  My daughter's friends think that our ribbon bag is the coolest toy in the house, as they can use the ribbons to create "wands".

Household Item #8: Milk Glass Vases
What's not to love about milk glass vases?  They can be found at thrift stores for as little as 50 cents, and they hold more visual space than clear glass.  The milk glass urn above was 99 cents and holds stars and a small stick flag.

Household Item #9: Spools of Red, White, and Blue Thread
If you think that spools of thread aren't thematically-appropriate for the 4th of July, then I think you're forgetting about a nice lady named Betsy Ross.  Remember her?  She sewed the first American flag?  Which, I presume, required...thread! So, go dig through your sewing kit and get some spools, and incorporate them into a vignette.  Above, I've put the thread in one of my Anchor Hawking mini trifle bowls, which I use all of the time, both for decorating and for homemade yogurt parfaits.

Household Item #10: Old Blue Jeans
Worn denim lends itself well to decorating for the Fourth.  Here, I used pinking sheers to cut the cuff off of an old pair of blue jeans, wrapped it around a plant pot, and finished it off with a red and white ribbon.

Household Items #11 and #12: Scrapbook Paper and Paint Swatches
To make this star collage art, I used a small Recollections brand star-shaped punch from Michael's Crafts to cut stars from scapbook paper (blues), printer paper (white), and a paint swatch (red).  This close-up photo makes me smile; I wasn't wearing my glasses when I glued the stars down, and at the time, I congratulated myself for lining them up so straight....

Household Item #13: Tactile Letters
I bought a full set of tactile letters for my daughter when she was first learning the alphabet.  Now that she's devouring chapter books, the letters come in handy for decorating!  Note to self: find the lower case "y"!

Houshold Items #14 and #15: Clothing Items
Cherished baby clothes can be popped into a frame for a unique, seasonal conversation piece.

I wore the little monogrammed sailor dress on the right when I was a baby.  Apparently, this dress was popular with baby girls living in San Francisco in the 1970's, as the identical dress on the left was personalized for my dear childhood friend, Terra, when she was a baby.

Hats add a 3 dimensional element that can be fun to incorporate into your decor.  Hang them on the wall, or hang them on the back of a chair.  The cheerful, red straw hat above is one that my mom brought when she came to visit last year for the 4th of July.

So there you have it: creative ways to decorate for the Fourth--or any patriotic occasion--with ordinary household items!

Have a little more time to plan ahead?  How about creating a flag in your garden with flowers for the 4th next year?  I snapped this photo at Koka Booth Amphitheater when I went to see the fireworks there in 2013.

Happy 4th of July!

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