So you've decided to throw a barbecue for the Fourth of July. You've planned the menu, picked out the cocktails and invited all your friends. What about the decorations? Sure, you could head to the party supply store to find some Fourth of July décor, but what if you don't want to spend a lot of money on something you'll just use once? There are a lot of different things you can make for your decorations by using items you find around your home, or purchased inexpensively at your local dollar store. Here are a few easy suggestions to spark your Fourth of July creativity.
Bandana Table Runner
There's no need to go out to purchase a new patriotic-themed table cloth for your party, especially if you've got a few of those old bandanas lying around in red, white and blue. You can make a very easy table runner just by neatly arranging your red, white and blue bandanas along the center of your table. Make sure to iron the wrinkles out and place a few center pieces along the runner so the bandanas don't blow away if it gets windy. A few vases with white flowers or some red candles would easily complete the look.
Stars On The Lawn
Here's a super simple decoration idea that your kids will love: Use some cardboard to cut out star shaped stencils - try making a few different sizes for some variation. Then simply lay the stencil on your lawn and spray the grass with a bit of water. Leave the stencil on the lawn and sprinkle some flour over the water (a sifter makes this super easy), then lift the stencil and enjoy. You can make lots of stars all over your lawn for only the cost of a little bit of flour. And it all washes away without a trace when you're done.
Blue Mason Jars
Mason jars are one of the most popular ways to decorate these days, from using them as drinking glasses to planters, vases, candle holders and more. If you've got a few of the blue mason jars lying around, you could easily pair those with an old red and white checked table cloth for an instant Fourth of July tablescape. Add some inexpensive white flowers to the jars and you'll have everything you need for a patriotic look for just a few bucks.
If you've got a bag of old clothespins lying around, you've got nearly everything you need for a great Fourth of July door decoration. Simply spray paint your clothes pins with red, white and blue paint. You can also use little white stickers to add stars to the clothes pins. Arrange the pins on a wire wreath (or make one out of old wire or clothing hangers) for your door. If you think you might get some rain, be sure to coat the whole project with a clear gloss so the paint won't run.
Another very simple decoration for your tablescape: Easily make some patriotic candles for only a few dollars. Use inexpensive white candles (the kind usually found at the dollar store) and those star stickers that every teacher uses in their classrooms (you can find those at most office supply stores.) Then, just cover your white candles with red and blue star stickers for a truly fun and totally Fourth of July-friendly table decoration. If you're using glass votive candles, you can just stick the stars to the glass itself.
Do you have a lot of children coming to your Fourth of July party? Or maybe just a lot of children-at-heart? Simply head to your local candy store and purchase every red, white and blue candy you can find. Then load them up in clear decorative jars for a perfectly sweet tablescape that everyone will love. For the most visual impact, be sure to find jars or vases that are of varying heights. That will give your display a very creative and totally unique look. Plus, you'll be amazed at just how many red, white and blue candies there are out there to enjoy.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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