Easy 4th of July Crafts
Independence Day is a quintessential milestone of summer. For my family, it involves getting together outdoors, playing games, enjoying good food and drinks, and celebrating together. In the US, July 4th marks our Independence Day, and the festivities usually wrap up with fireworks in the streets after dark or watching the skies light up with big, loud booms! I love this holiday and enjoy decorating for this occasion with handmade items. This year I made pillow covers and festive vertical porch signs to celebrate 4th of July at home!
I love making custom pillow covers for my home that I can change out depending on the occasion or season. I try to find pillow covers online or in stores that are solid colored or soft prints and that are inexpensive. My favorite place to get great quality zippered pillow covers for my sofa is at IKEA. They have some for as little at $2.99 USD per cover (and sometimes they go on clearance!). They are a great way to change out the color and décor for each season or holiday. We usually refresh the cushions for Halloween, Christmas, and Fourth of July holidays. I use my Cricut Explore Air 2 to cut Siser EasyWeed HTV and heat press with my Cricut Easy Press to create themed designs on the pillow covers. This year, since I subscribe to the Cricut All Access, I decided that I would use 2 of the 3,000+ images for fourth of July to press onto my covers. I wanted to keep it simple and something that would compliment my other decorations, since I usually do not go overboard with decorating for 4th of July on the inside of the house like I do for Christmas. I selected 2 images that spoke to me and cut them to just under 12”x12”. I pressed them at 315 degrees for 30 seconds. This is a warm peel HTV that I used. I always press them again with a Teflon sheet over the top of the image for another 15 seconds to make sure that the image presses deeply into the fibers. Our pillows get a lot of abuse from my kids, and I want to make sure that the images last!
Vertical Porch Sign
I get my vertical porch sign wood from Lowe’s. They sell pre-cut wood in various sizes in the lumber aisle, and that is where you can find wooden rounds as well for a front door hanger that I attempted to make to match my porch sign. There are a few types of wood in different lengths and widths. For my porch, I selected a 10″x48” piece of pine wood that had a nice, smooth surface. I liked that this slab of wood had a nice grain to it, since I was going to be staining the project. Sadly, this was the last piece of wood in this size that my warehouse had to offer, and there were some dings and imperfections. I picked up some MinWax stain in Special Walnut. I was anxious to start my project, so I set up shop in my garage and begun staining my wood. I used an old rag to apply the stain to the wood, though you could also use a brush. I layered 4 thin coats to the wood to achieve the depth that I wanted using motions with the grain and in a circular pattern with my rag to get into the natural movement of the wood. I let the stain dry for 24 hours, but I think it could have used longer as some spots with knots did not seem completely dry yet as I was laying out my vinyl. I think the wet weather we were having may have affected my drying time as well.
In Cricut Design Space, I wanted to create my layout for the vertical porch sign on my canvas. I added a square and resized it to be the size of my wood (10”x48”) and made the square light brown. I changed the zoom to 25% so that I could fit most of my image onto my screen. I used the fonts Dom Casual and DIN 1451 from Cricut Design Space and Frisha, found here: Frisha Font by heypentype · Creative Fabrica. I added a star shape and duplicated 10 times. I rendered them red, white, and blue and changed the size and rotation until the stars fit in with the words I had laid out. I had to duplicate and add a few more stars to achieve the effect that I was going for. Before I cut my permanent vinyl, I deleted the light brown square that I was using as my project template. I do recommend making your letters very large and keeping your design minimal, as you want the sign to be easily read from the street. I laid out the vinyl and assembled my lettering first, and then my stars. I used ModPodge as a sealer over the top since I has some left over from another project. I do not know that this step is necessary, but this wood will be outside, so I figured it could not hurt.
Wooden Round Front Door Hanger
When I made the vertical porch sign for the 4th of July, I also attempted to make a matching front door hanger using a 15” wooden round that I purchased from Lowes. I have never made this before since we usually have a wreath hanging on our front door year-round, but I saw the wooden round at the store and had buffalo checkered wire ribbon I thought would be great for this door hanger. I did 2 coats of MinWax on this and let it dry for a few hours. I got impatient. Mistake #1. I know we have all been there! I used 2 images from Cricut Design Space All Access that were an American flag and an image that said, “Home Sweet Home”. I decided to use HTV instead of vinyl since I wanted to see how the HTV performed on the wood that had been stained. Mistake #2. I weeded and placed my HTV on the wood, and heat pressed it at 15 seconds on 315 degrees. Some parts stuck well, and others did not stick at all. I decided to increase the temperature to 350 degrees for 20 seconds and see if it adhered better. Mistake #3. The temperature was too high, and it wrinkled the HTV and still did not stick! I have never made a project that was a complete failure before. Bummer! I will be attempting to recreate this project again, but I am going to try to salvage this piece of wood and use the backside. I will post an update once I have successfully completed this project.
While the door hanger did not come out as I hoped, I am really pleased with my front porch vertical sign. I love the pop of patriotic color that it gives to our home for less than $15. I would make these again for every holiday! I think you could even use one side for 4th of July and the other side for summer, with some watermelons or sunglasses and a sun! How fun would that be?