This July 4th craft idea is useful for hand cutting, for hand cutting machines or plotters.
This craft idea is about flowers. Why flowers? Because they work everywhere – they are the perfect gift and decoration. And only by changing the colours – you can change their meaning too. Gentle spring colours will be great for Easter; orange, purple and black – for Halloween; white and gold or silver – for Christmas; orange, red, green and purple – for Thanksgiving…
The thing I really love so much about the holidays is the opportunity they give for families to be together and create precious memories together. These are the priceless moments in our lives – not the big money, not the huge houses, not the huge career leaps. Because, when Life starts to reach its Autumn, these are the ones which give us the warmth and the feeling that we were really Living.
A lesson from my family
When I was young, my Grandmother used to tell me about one of her uncles. One of three brothers, the others being lawyers, he was the black sheep of the family. He lost all the inheritance his father gave him, travelling around the world, loving beautiful women and living a very haphazard life. In his later years, completely broke, he was living with my Grandmother’s family. She remembered how he used to nod off on the veranda or sit for hours just gazing over somewhere over the garden. And when the kids were coming to ask him to come for lunch or dinner, he was startled, saying, “Oh, children, don’t wake me up. I was once again in the ship/the ballroom/the train… kissing princess (whatever-the-name-was) or Lady (whatever-the-name-was)… Don’t forget, kids, our precious memories are the only things we can take with us to the afterlife…”
Also, if you are an empty nester, why not make your home a craft space for your neighbours and their children. Once or twice a year – July 4th and Christmas or Easter – is more than enough. But it will create a great spirit around and you and they will have a great time – time worth remembering.
So, here is my easy July 4th craft idea and the good thing is it can involve a big range of family members of all different ages.
Because it is July 4th, use red, white and blue
White is important to use not only in moderation, but as a full-fledged colour, because it gives brightness and positivity. I suggest using more than one shade of blue with all the associations related to the sky, the sea and the different shades will make your bouquet a lot richer.
As “helpers” you will need scissors, side cutters, PVA glue or universal transparent glue, (florist’s) wire and a needle, which is with the same diameter as the wire or maybe a little bit smaller. The idea of this smaller diameter is for the hole not to be so big that the paper is loose on it – we want it tight.
Also, you will need some crepe paper – for this project you can use green as I did, or red or blue.
How to start with the flowers
Start with the stamens.
In my case I draw my own SVG files to save all the long cutting time.
You can find the SVG and PNG files in my Etsy shop, if you prefer. But if you have a “Big shot” or cutting machine, you can use metal stamens dies – both the round and rolling types.
The little hook you see on the top of the wire is very important, because it stops the paper stamens from sliding off while rolling.
The important thing is to roll the stamens tight and to keep the bottom flat, because later will be glued to the other elements.
Then cut the petals – at least three elements from each colour to guarantee a big diversity of flowers. I decided to make one flower with two big petal shapes and one small on the bottom to make it look more realistic, even if the design is stylized.
I suggest making elements even from different flower sets to increase the possibility of playing with the colours.
Define the central vein of the petals and make a hole in the centre of the element (if this has not been provided by your paper die cutter).
Then start stringing together all the elements you made – first the smaller, then the bigger ones.
Some important suggestions
Play with the colours of the big petals – in one flower you can mix two or three colours. But also leave some flowers only with blue, red or white big petals, otherwise your bouquet will become too “chatty”.
Make at least 6 flowers (as I did), trying not to repeat the way you put the colours and elements together. The bigger the bouquet – the better!
I’d encourage you to involve your family and especially your little ones – kids or grandkids – in the project. As I am always saying all these activities such as piercing, stringing, sewing, cutting, organizing little elements are great for improving fine motor skills which improve how the brain works. Years ago, I interviewed a child psychologist who was very worried about what happens with the fine motor skills of modern kids. Most of them, she said, are working only with their thumbs, but the other fingers are almost “dumb”. So, her suggestion was about family activities at least once a week with “handwork” for children – folding paper ships and airplanes, button sewing, flower planting, beading. The idea is not to make them crafters but give them more tasks for their brains. Which will definitely be seen as improvement of their learning skills, but also improves their relaxation.
Final steps – make the stems and attach the leaves
When all you flower heads have been strung together, it is time to make the stems.
Cut little strips of crepe paper with the “wrinkles” across the strips.
Then start wrapping the wire immediately under the petals, using glue. When you have wrap the first one or two times around at the top of the wire, press it up towards the petal underside to be sure there is no distance, even a very small one, between the petals and the stem.
Cover the whole stem and then, with another strip (or strips) of crepe paper, start adding the colourful leaves. Put glue, wrap while stretching, put glue, add the thin bottom of the leaf, wrap…
I suggest attaching not less than 4 leaves to make the flowers “greenery” nicely dense.
Also, change the colours – if you start adding first the red one, for the next flower start with the blue or the white leaf. This will also assist the density of the “greenery”.
The last step is to open the stamens with your fingers to make them look more realistic.
And that’s it – your 4th of July decoration is ready. As I said above, you can use these steps to make lots of different flowers for different occasions, even, for example, as an office desk decoration you’ll never need to water.
If you are looking for more patriotic flower decoration ideas, check this article: ANZAC tissue paper poppies.
You can also find this easy crepe paper Poppy tutorial in my Etsy shop:
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