- view all thumbnails
Salute Old Glory with star-studded napkin rings. Stamp "USA" into metal tags using a steel stamp set. Thread star-print ribbon through the tags and wrap around striped napkins. For no-sew napkins, cut cotton ticking in 16-inch squares; fray the edges by pulling on the threads. You also can roll silverware into the napkins for guests to grab as they go through the buffet line.
Trace mirror-image pairs of letters, numbers, and stars onto red, white, and blue patterned paper. Cut out the shapes and glue the pairs together with patterned sides facing out. Punch holes in the tops of the shapes and string onto ribbon. Hang the ribbon from a patio umbrella, a porch overhang, or tree branches for a festive decoration.
Turn plain drinking glasses into patriotic ones -- temporarily -- for the holiday. Using pinking shears, cut bands of red-and-white plaid oilcloth to fit around the glasses. Sew or glue a white oilcloth rectangle to the center of the band, then adhere the ends of the band together so it fit around a glass. (The band should easily slip over the narrower bottom of a glass and slide upward until it stays snugly in place.) Provide permanent markers for guests to write their names on the rectangles so they'll know exactly which glass is theirs.
Display famous words from the Declaration of Independence on galvanized tubs. Coat galvanized tubs with white metal primer. Then paint each tub a different shade of blue. (Buy deep blue exterior paint and dilute with white exterior paint to get the two lighter hues). Use letter stickers to spell "life," "liberty," and "happiness" on the tubs. Fill with ice to hold drinks or frozen treats, or use without ice to hold sparklers for some July 4 fun.
Upgrade your picnic basket with a stylish no-sew fabric liner. Drape Independence Day-inspired fabric inside your basket with right side down, fitting to size. Fold the fabric over the edges of the basket, smoothing as you go. With tailor's chalk, mark the fabric at the point where it hangs down three inches over the outside edge. Remove fabric from the basket and cut along chalk line. Hem with iron-on tape, then place fabric in the basket right side up. Tie ribbon around the basket handles for added color.
Mix and match assorted patterns of paper goods to create a patriotic table setting. Don't worry if the blues and reds don't match perfectly -- together they'll create a cohesive look suitable for any patriotic holiday.
Make going through the picnic buffet line a breeze with an all-in-one utensil holder and place mat. Fold the long end of a dish towel up until it becomes the size of a place mat. Stitch or hot-glue the outer edges together. Insert utensils into the pocket, roll up, and tie with a separate ribbon.
Print labels for your picnic dishes to let everyone know what's on the menu. If it's a potluck, make blank labels and let guests fill in the names of their contributions.
Editor's Tip: Tor protect the labels from spills, slip them into small plastic sleeves (name tags or small acrylic frames work well), available at office supply stores.
Use food to decorate the picnic table. Fill white snow cone cups with blue and red berries to create a sweet treat and dazzling display all in one.
Ditch the food packages and line galvanized pails with napkins to serve picnic staples, such as potato chips or buns.
Cut two 3x9-inch strips of double-sided scrapbook paper in patriotic colors; overlap in a cross shape. Use a glue stick to adhere overlapping centers. Punch holes in the corners of each strip. Fold the sides up and thread ribbon or rickrack through the holes to create the box shape, then tie the ends together in a knot. Fill with lightweight snacks (such as popcorn or chips) that won't slip through the open edges.
See our favorite sweet treats for the Fourth of July.