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Independence Day Decorating
by Brenda Arnold
Fourth of July Wreath: Make this  simple Independence Day wreath and look like a star this 4th of July. Hang it on your front door to welcome your friends and family to your get together.
fourth of July wreath decoaration you can craft yourselfSupplies:
11 yards 1" wide red-white-and-blue ribbon
20" grapevine wreath
three 4" x 6" American flags
Floral wire
Directions:
Weave 2 1/2 yards of ribbon through the grapevine wreath. Glue the ends of the ribbons together; this is the bottom of the wreath. Arrange three flags at the bottom of the wreath in a fan shape so they slightly overlap; glue the flags in place. Use a small amount of glue to secure the edges of the flags where they overlap. Cut two 36" lengths of ribbon and fashion a small multi-loop bow from each piece; tie with floral wire. Glue a bow to each side of the wreath. Use the remaining ribbon to make one large multi-loop bow. Glue bow to the bottom of the wreath to cover glued sections of ribbon and flags.

Fireworks Coffee Filter Flowers: Use these colorful red, white, and blue Independence Day Flowers to brighten your table on the Fourth of July!
coffe filter flower decorations for the fourth of July decoratingSupplies:
coffee filters
chenille stems (red, white, blue, gold and/or silver)
red and blue watercolor paint
paintbrush
scissors
paper towel
Directions:
Place one of the coffee filters onto the paper plate and flatten out.
Paint the coffee filter with water color paint. Paint some solid red, some solid blue and others a combination of blue and red, leaving some areas unpainted. Move the coffee filter to the towel and lay flat to dry. Repeat with the second coffee filter. Leaving the center of the filter in tact, cut the coffee filter in strips, working you way around the circle. Cut a 1.5" piece off of one end of a chenille stem and set aside. Take the longer piece of chenille and poke it through the center of the coffee filter. There should be about 2" of chenille poked through. Turn the entire thing upside down and grasp the filter with your fingers. Gather it around the chenille and secure it by wrapping the extra piece of chenille stem that you cut off in an earlier step. Twist it around the part you are holding and turn the flower back upright. Manipulate with your finger until strips are spread out and it looks the way you want it to.

Uncle Sam Hats: These small Uncle Sam hats make great party favors for your Independence Day party or picnic!
Uncle Sam foam hat craft for fourth of July party favorsSupplies:
Foam cups
Acrylic paint: red, white and blue
Small and medium paintbrushes
Cookie sheet
Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place foam cups upside down (open end of cup down) on a dark coated cookie sheet, placing them about 1-2" apart. Bake foam cups in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, don't walk away! It will take about one minute before you see any changes to the cups, then the heat will begin to melt and shrink them rather rapidly after that. To get the brims to curl up, simply leave them in a little longer and watch closely. You can bend the brims up right after removing from the oven, but you must work quickly because they cool fast and will harden.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely. If you want the flat brims, DO NOT try to remove the cups from the cookie sheet until they are completely cooled. As they cool, the foam that is stuck to the sheet will relax and release its grip from the sheet, allowing you to remove them easily. Most cups will melt rather well, thought you may end up with one or two that look rather distorted or disfigured. Paint the brims and the top of the hats red. Paint red stripes down the hat from the top, stopping about 2/3 of the way down to allow room for the blue band. When red paint is dry, paint the band of the hat blue and let dry. Paint white stars on to the blue band.
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