Gather your friends and use these patriotic decorating, entertaining, and recipe ideas for this year's 4th of July celebration. From festive star banners and refreshing watermelon coolers to raveworthy party favors and more, your 4th of July party is bound to be summer's biggest shindig.View Slideshow
Try these creative ideas for decorating around the house with Christmas ornaments.
Turn miscellaneous ornaments into a dazzling Christmas wreath. Spray-paint a foam wreath form with silver paint and let dry. Then, using hot glue, secure the largest ball ornaments to the inside and outside circles of the form, and fill in the rest of the wreath with smaller ornaments. Fill in bare spots with bunched up lengths of bead garland.
Editor's Note: We started with a 24-inch wreath form and needed about 140 ornaments to cover it. The finished wreath was 33 inches in diameter.
Ornaments not only dazzle on the tree, but can also add Christmas cheer to other places throughout your home, such as your staircase. Knot a length of thin ribbon around an ornament hook and wrap the end other end of the ribbon around your banister, securing with a knot. Let ornaments hang down at different lengths for a variegated display. Consider topping an entryway table with a small tree.
Make ornaments an integral part of your holiday table. Roll crisp napkins and tie a wide length of ribbon loosely around a rolled napkin. Slide a narrow length of ribbon through the knot of the wide ribbon, pull the ends of the wide ribbon to tighten the knot. Thread small ornaments onto each end of the narrow ribbon and secure the ornaments with knots.
Go to the next slide to see how to make a matching ornament place card.
Add some shimmer and shine to your holiday decor with candles and sparkly silver-and-white ornaments. Arrange chunky pillar candles (in varying heights) on a round tray and surround with Christmas ornaments, rhinestone jewelry, and baubles (search flea markets and thrift stores for inexpensive pieces).
Editor's Tip: Use acrylic paints and the tip of a small paint brush handle to make polka dot patterns on plain ball ornaments.
Fill French galvanized buckets with seasonal evergreens -- we used 'Blue Star' juniper (center) and 'Rheingold' arborvitae -- to display outside. Trim the buckets with small ornaments strung onto tinsel.
A single ornament and a bow are all it takes to transform an empty frame into Christmas wall art. Thread a glass ball ornament onto a narrow length of ribbon. Tie the ends together and tack to the back of a wooden picture frame so the ball hangs in the middle. Hang the frame on the wall from a pretty ribbon tied in a secure bow.
Editor's Tip: For instant artwork, frame scraps of wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper, as shown in the frames flanking the middle one.
Give dining room chairs a Christmas makeover with a few simple elements. Drape a piece of fabric -- a pretty towel, oversized napkin, or silk scarf -- over the back of a chair and wrap a ribbon around the chair. Secure the ribbon in a knot at the back of the chair. Thread a short piece of wire through an ornament hook and wrap the wire around the ribbon knot.
Editor's Tip: Use different, but coordinating, ensembles of ribbon and fabric for each chair.
Make a striking statement with two Christmas staples -- poinsettias and ball ornaments. Spray-paint small terra cotta pots to match your ball ornaments; let dry. Remove their hanger tops and fill the ornaments with water. Place a cut poinsettia flower in the ornament and nestle the arrangement in the pot. Make several to display en masse on a shelf or your mantel.
Standard Christmas colors -- green and red -- are never boring, because they offer endless possibilities. Consider this arrangement -- a natural theme with a touch of glitzy. A simple square glass vase is filled with juniper sprigs and evergreen branches, along with shiny red ornaments in assorted sizes. The ensemble is finished with a flourish with the addition of dramatic red flowers.
For a more elegant Christmas place setting, stick with a single ornament and a subdued color scheme. Here, gold is showcased against white and elegant black. A gold ribbon and ornament are tied around a classic white napkin, which matches the table runner under the place setting.
Editor's Tip: Place a votive candle at each place setting to cast a soft glow across your tablescape.
Add color and sparkle to your table with an ornament centerpiece guaranteed to wow friends and family. Start by decorating plain ornaments with glitter and glue. Draw designs (stripes, stars, etc.) on the ornaments with crafts glue and sprinkle with glitter. Tap off excess glitter and let dry. Glue the embellished ornaments to mirrored discs (available at crafts stores). Remove the ornament hangers, pour a little water in the ornament and insert flowers and berries.
Draw attention to your holiday table with a tower of ornaments. Stack ornaments in the bowl of a footed compote, securing in place with glue dots. Tuck sprigs of greenery in among the ornaments to fill in gaps. We used red ornaments to give the tablescape a classic Christmas look, but any color would work well, especially if it matches the rest of your table decor. To continue the ornament decoration theme, add assorted candlesticks to your table and top with ornaments that match your centerpiece.
Greet guests with an eye-catching arrangement, displayed in your entry or foyer. Place wet florist's foam into a vase with tall, straight sides. Wrap together three or more amaryllis stems with a ribbon. Insert the arrangement into the foam and surround the base with white carnations or baby roses. Thread string through ornament hangers and tie the lines of ornaments, layer by layer, around the vase, hot-gluing in place to secure.
Start off your stairway garland with an elegant arrangement at the banister. Gather a few large pine branches. Hold the branches together at the base and wrap with floral wire. Use short lengths of wire to attach ornaments to the boughs, creating a cascade effect. Tie several long lengths of ribbons to the wire holding the branches together. Use a final length of wire to attach the arrangement to your banister.
Fill any crystal container with a cluster of holiday ornaments to create a knock-their-socks-off decoration or centerpiece. Mixing the ornament sizes and finishes (matte or shiny) will give the scene even more punch.
Try this decorative vignette on an antique sideboard (as shown here) or on a mantel. Fill footed glass compotes with miniature pinecones. Garnish with matte glass ornaments and satin ribbons, and hang more ornaments on a swag across the front.