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Make Your Own Patriotic Gear For July 4th

Fourth of July is one of the most relaxed holidays of the year––there's no pressure to find perfect gifts, to have a date, or to dress up. Celebrate as much or as little as you like with no guilt, and you can do it all in jeans and flip flops! This is a great holiday for creative types and kids to get crafty. Decorate your clothes, your nails, your holiday table and more with these festive projects.

Patriotic Pants

Patriotic Pants
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Add white stars and stripes to an old pair of jeans. Children can make their own, with a little help. You'll need:

  • A pair of old jeans
  • White fabric paint
  • Foam paint applicator and/or paintbrush
  • Star stencils
  • Stencil mount spray
  • Wide masking tape
  • Optional: White fabric paint pen

First, plan your design. Scatter stars on one thigh of the jeans and put a block of stripes horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the other half. Decorate the entire surface, just the legs, or just the front of the thigh area on each side. Trust your artistic instincts!

Stars: Spray the stencil with mount spray and position it. You can trace the outline with a fabric pen first if you like a clean outline. Use the foam applicator and/or brush to fill in. Carefully peel the stencil away and reposition to make the next star.

Stripes: Lay out strips of masking tape, letting the edges almost touch but not overlap. Then peel away every other strip to leave an evenly striped design. Mask off the top and bottom edges of the design, then fill in the stripes with paint. Allow to dry before removing the remaining tape. 

Red, White & Blue Striped Strawberries
Red White and Blue Strawberries
Photo Credit Thinkstock

These cool, tasty treats can be served alone, on top of cupcakes or clustered to decorate a cake! Let kids help with the chocolate dipping part and the sprinkles - this should be fun for them. Here's what you will need:
  • Fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
  • White dipping chocolate
  • Blue sugar sprinkles
  • Wax paper

Melt the dipping chocolate, following the instructions on the package. Pour blue sugar sprinkles in a bowl and have a teaspoon handy. Lay out a sheet of wax paper. Dip each berry in the white chocolate to cover about 2/3 of the berry. Cover the lower 1/3 of the berry with blue sugar (try spooning the sugar onto the berry rather than dipping). Let the berries rest on wax paper until the chocolate has set. Then transfer to a wax-paper lined container and refrigerate.

4th of July Manicure
4th of July Manicure
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Don a red and white striped mani with a blue accent nail. Fun for grownups, but easy enough to do on a child's tiny nails, too! You will need:

  • Nail polish: white, dark blue
  • Nail art pen in bright red
  • Toothpick
  • Optional: Polish remover & cotton swab for cleaning up edges

Paint all your nails except the ring finger with white polish, using two or three coats to get good coverage. While those coats are drying, paint the ring finger nail dark blue.

When the white is thoroughly dry, use the red nail art pen to add stripes to the white nails. Wear magnifying glasses and rest your working wrist on a tabletop to steady your hand. Fit three or four red stripes horizontally across each nail. 

Dip the toothpick in white polish and dab white rows of polka dots (like stars, but so much easier!) onto the blue nail. 

Star Spangled Table
Star Spangled Table
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Here's how to set a fun, casual table for your holiday picnic or buffet. You can find everything you need at your dollar store or party supply store.
  • Red and white checked tablecloth (cloth or vinyl)
  • Blue plastic plates and cups
  • Boxes of sparklers (see if you can find pretty boxes)
  • Red, white and blue plastic cutlery, mixed
  • Red print cotton bandanas (for napkins)
  • Optional: Tablecloth clips, ribbon

Spread the tablecloth. If you will be outdoors, secure it with tablecloth clips. Fold each bandana into a rectangle or triangle. Place a box of sparklers, knife, fork and spoon on top and tie the bandana around them (or tie with ribbon). Set each place with a blue plate (if you have plain white ceramic plates in a larger size, use them as chargers), blue cup, and napkin-wrapped bundle of silverware with sparkler surprise inside!

Bicycle Bedazzling Station
4th of July Bike
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Use leftover craft and decorating supplies to keep the kids busy and creative. See if you have any of the below supplies laying around

  • Leftover streamers, ribbon, cardstock, fabric scraps, plastic cups, construction paper, small flags, etc.
  • Leftover masking, packing or shipping tape
  • Crafting tools (scissors, paper punch, string, clothespins)
  • Kids and bikes!

Cut some of the leftover cardstock, construction, and wrapping paper into star shapes. Cut ribbons and streamers into various lengths. Set out all the supplies and tools and invite the kids to get creative with decorating their bikes. Encourage older kids to help the younger ones, or team them up in advance. If it's a hot day, you can offer a drive-thru bike wash first by setting a sprinkler near the driveway. Set a time for the kids to put on a decorated bike parade, so they can be rewarded with some adult attention and applause.

Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at

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