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How to Make Easy 4th of July Table Decorations

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First, let me say if you want really easy 4th of July table decorations, go buy out the Dollar Store’s patriotic section. It’s there, trust me. ¬†I do acknowledge that pre-made things already exist. But, like I talked about last week with simple red, white and blue foods, sometimes you want to participate in all the crafting fun the world has to offer. In this case, we’re going to go red, white and blue again, but instead of using twenty-five million tiny American flags, we’re going to look at the fastest ways to get junk on your table and make people think you’re creative.

The first rule of easy 4th of July table decorations is to keep it really simple. Why are you decorating your table at all? Probably because it’s going to have food on it, right? That,¬†or you’ll be eating on it. Either way, if you cover the entire thing with decorations, you’re going to run out of room. I love looking at those beautiful tables from professional party planners, but they’re always so crowded. We don’t need a whole garden or miniature Revolutionary Battle field to feel festive. The second rule? Don’t stress too much. My Easter brunch table took me literally five minutes, without thinking, and it got lots of compliments. Sometimes I think busy people get graded on a curve, and I am totally okay with that.

Ideas for Easy 4th of July Table Decorations

The Tablecloth

Real frenzied hostesses don’t care about smoothing it out. ūüôā

I’m not really a fan of the flag tablecloths, if I’m being honest. Too busy. You can probably find really nice reusable ones with less busy patterns, and maybe I’ll add that to my future goals, but right now my toddler likes to sit on the table and make a mess after everyone leaves. I’d rather throw said mess away. So, to start your easy 4th of July table decorations, you might as well start with some plastic tablecloths. That’s right, plural. Instead of picking one color and running with it, grab yourself one red, one white, and one blue. This will add a little patriotic splash without going overboard, and then you can use only one color of plates and silverware (or all patriotic ones) without feeling like you’re missing something.

The only issue here might be positioning. In theory, you should be fine to spread the three colors out evenly. That’s the easiest way, of course, and it’ll give you a nice balanced look. But, it is going to look a little like France’s flag if you go with blue, white, red. Okay, not a little. It’s going to look exactly like France’s flag. If your friends no nothing about foreign countries, that won’t matter. If they’re the type to call you out on it, you can point out France was our ally during the Revolutionary War. Or, you could simply put the colors in a different order. You can see from the picture that I did the red and white horizontally and the blue vertically. It took zero extra work. If you’re worried about overhang, just don’t unfold them all the way. Even easier.

Flowers

Fanciest flower arrangement ever, probably.

If I had time and energy, I would scour supermarket flowers until I found red, white and blue bouquets. That might be easy when it’s actually the 4th of July, I don’t know. I’ve never tried it before. I can tell you it’s definitely not easy in the beginning of June. You don’t necessarily need to get only red, white and blue. I mean, you can get a few different bouquets and pull out the ones you want, or just use colors that are close. Red is going to be easy. It’s the other two that are the problem. ¬†There are probably plenty of blue and white flowers at a florist, but I can’t be¬†bothered to go to a florist.

Luckily, there is always another option for flowers. That is, of course, fake flowers. Fake, fake, fake. I don’t even try looking for ones that seem realistic.¬†They’re easy 4th of July tablecloth decorations, not your wedding centerpieces. You can buy a set of white, a set of blue, and a set of red, or you can find those specially made patriotic bunches. Then stuff them in a vase. You don’t need anything in the vase, even if it’s clear glass. But, if you’re scared of people seeing the fake stems, I’ve got one more idea for you.

Red, White and Blue Anything

No need to buy frosted glass vases when you have a paper bag to the rescue!

Great idea, am I right? ¬†You can go to the dollar store and buy some of those balloon weights. They’re fancy. You can get yourself a cupcake stand and put the patriotic cupcakes you made in there, then stand it up like the beautiful centerpiece it deserves to be. Got some red, white and blue socks lying around? Get really crazy (and a little unsanitary) and throw those on there too. Who cares? What’s really important is what food you’re putting on the table, not what you’re decorating it with.

For the record, I don’t actually recommend socks as your easy 4th of July table decorations. I’m going with paper bags, no joke. They’re the kind I’m sure less busy people turn into luminaries or something, but they’ll just be hanging out on my table… with vases of fake flowers in them. Simple, right? It hides the fakeness of the stems while adding¬†a little festiveness. You could also put the bags by themselves, or line them up. I tried all those ideas, but you are going to have to excuse my photography¬†this week. I’m getting ready for maternity leave, so I’m extra swamped right now.¬†I had about five minutes to get good shots, and it turns out I couldn’t do it. But hey, I could get the stuff on the table, so now you know they really are easy 4th of July table decorations.

Final Thoughts

You can wave your flag inside if you want – but please don’t serve food on it.

I know I’m a very busy person, but even if you’re not, don’t feel like you have to design a party¬†people will talk¬†about for years. Let’s face it, the only way you’re going to pull that off is if someone accidentally sets himself on fire. While that is pretty common, it shouldn’t be our goal. Out of my 31 4th of July holidays, I can only remember the decor from one of them, and that is because it was the first time I hosted the barbecue myself. ¬†That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to make a party look good. It just means you don’t have to stress about it. And finally, if you only have time for one¬†decoration, skip the whole table and wave your¬†American flag.¬†Yes, of course they’re¬†available on Amazon. ¬†Plus, it comes with a bonus: You can use it all year!

CASTLE

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Vs. Streamers

There are some amazing plastic tablecloth decorations out there. Seriously, look at this and this. Who has time to come up with this stuff? Not me! But, I don’t really have time for anything (starting a blog may have been a terrible idea), so maybe I don’t count. Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned this once or twice, but I’m not really a fan of decorating for parties. That’s a terrible thing for a hostess to say, isn’t it? Yet I say it all the time. I decided maybe I need to stop all those traditional decorating ideas, like using streamers at all, ever, and switch it up a little. Honestly, I don’t have time for the fancy stuff, so my mind turned to plastic tablecloth decorations. I could probably do something with those, right?

Well, if you looked at those amazing decorations I pointed out, you might as well just use streamers. It would take just as long to rip up a whole bunch of paper and tape it to your wall as it would to make those tablecloth things. I don’t want to have to cut and snip and tie and then still tape things. I want something that takes twenty seconds and miraculously looks cute. Impossible? Probably.¬†I decided to test out three different types of decorations using both plastic tablecloths and streamers to see which one was more time consuming, which one was more frustrating, and how much I’d need of each.

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations vs. Streamers

Round #1: Photo Backdrop

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth
Time to Complete in Real Time: 5 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 minutes
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: Low
Overall Look: Eh. I could probably smooth it out add some other decorations, but it takes up a good amount of space so you could have multiple people there.

Streamers

Need: At least one roll, but probably two.
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 8 days
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: High
Overall Look: I only made it through one roll before giving it up. I would definitely want a second roll to both make it wider and help fill in any gaps. The tape is ugly too, so a balloon row on top or something is probably necessary.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

Hands down, no questions on this one. I don’t have a lot of time. If I need a photo backdrop for something, I’m absolutely going this way. If you have help you can probably get yours up a lot smoother and even faster. By the way,¬†the reason it even took five whole minutes was because it took me forever to get the tablecloth unfolded and I accidentally tacked it unevenly the first time. The streamers went faster than I thought they would, but I still had to deal with all that tape (I tacked the tablecloth) and ripping. Then it still didn’t look that nice. Tablecloths, 1, streamers, 0.

Round #2: Doorway Draping

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1-2 tablecloths depending on your doorway
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 hours
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: moderate
Overall Look: I’m not actually having a party, so I didn’t put a lot of effort into this, but the unevenness still bothered me. If you only have a small doorway, this would be an absolute cinch.

Streamers

Need: Depends on the size of your doorway, mine would be about 4
Time to Complete in Real Time: 40 minutes
How Long it Felt:¬†——-
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: Highest
Overall Look:¬†Okay, I have to confess here. I couldn’t even make myself do this one. Don’t judge me. I’m seven months pregant, I don’t need to be climbing up and down chairs or stools or ladders or a party I’m not having. What I did instead was measure the photo backdrop space and my door opening to see how much I’d need, then figured out the time it’d take per roll. As you can see, my frustration level was off the roof, since I couldn’t be bothered to do it. Would I bother if I was actually throwing a party? Survey says: No.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

I know it’s not the fanciest of decorations, and for some reason my Dollar Tree purchase makes me look like a Packers fan, but I kind of like this. It gives a little bit of a festive vibe and it really doesn’t require that much work, unless you’re a perfectionist. Perfectionists, you should probably find another blog. I can feel your stress looking at my pictures from here. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 0.

Round #3: Ceiling Decor

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth (and one hula hoop)
Time to Complete in Real Time: 45 minutes
How Long it Felt: 300 years
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: high, but mostly from toddler, not tablecloth
Overall Look:¬†Hahahaha, this would not be a feature at any party of mine. I went with the hula hoop idea instead of streaming from one side to the other because I didn’t have help. I’d have to say nothing is better than this though.

Streamers

Need: Minimum 1.5 rolls
Time to Complete in Real Time: 30 minutes
How Long it Felt: A week
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: Highest -both from the streamers and the toddler. Did you know toddlers like hula hoops? I started tying the streamers, but they kept ripping, so I moved to staples, which actually looked smoother and took less time.
Overall Look: Eh, I’d still probably skip it, but I could see someone with more time on their hands making something out of this. Oh, and I wouldn’t hang it on the chandelier I already have. I just didn’t have time to rig something else up.

The Winner: Streamers

I’m not positive I’d bother with this one. Well, that’s not accurate. I’m positive I wouldn’t bother with this one. ¬†It was frustrating either way, my son just wanted to play with it, and in the end it didn’t look great. If I was basing this on traditional ceiling decorations, though, I still think streamers would win. They’re easier to twist up, you don’t have to worry about folding them or cutting them the right way, and the look is pretty much the same. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 1.

Conclusion: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Win

If I’m going to decorate, I want it to be as fast as possible so I don’t waste any time. For the most part, using plastic tablecloths was so much less work than putting up streamer after streamer after streamer. Oh, and if price is a consideration for you, ¬†tablecloths are $1 at the dollar store and about $3.50 at Target. Getting them at the dollar store is obviously cheaper, but you can get more decorative ones at other stores. Two rolls of streamers are $1 at the dollar store and ¬†between $1 and $3.50 for one roll at Target. I’m probably not going to start enjoying decorating, but at least now I know I have another option besides streamers. The next time you throw a party, think about that and spend more time enjoying and less time decorating!

 

MORGANS

Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

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I’ve been working on an idea for interchangeable holiday charger plates. Charger plates in general are kind of weird, aren’t they? They’re plates, but you don’t use them for food. Sometimes they just sit underneath other plates, being mostly useless. Yet, for some reason, my eye is still drawn to them. I will admit I like a nicely set table. It brings out the food. I was thinking about buying some for Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t really find any I liked. I did love some of the Christmas plates on Etsy, but I didn’t feel like spending the money. Then I really thought about it, and I didn’t want to store a whole bunch of holiday plates anyway. This is where the interchangeable part came in.

My mom used to do a lot of tole painting when I was younger. That’s basically painting on wood, if you aren’t familiar. She doesn’t anymore, but a good portion of her holiday decorations are homemade. She has one that stays out all year. It’s a bear that hangs on the wall, and he changes his clothes for the holidays and different seasons. That’s my inspiration. A plate that changes clothes. This is not necessarily related, but my neighbor does this with pallets. Where does she put them?! Anyway, these plates are still a prototype, because I don’t have time to make them perfect, but so far¬†I’m liking the idea.

How to Make Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

What You Need

Gathering supplies for interchangeable holiday charger plates

Charger Plates (As many as you want for your table, or just one for decor)
Fabric Quarters for Whatever Holidays you choose
Scissors
A marker (try to keep it lighter than the fabric so it doesn’t bleed)
Magnet Tape or Velcro
Super Glue and/or Fabric glue

For the charger plates, I went gold, but obviously you can pick whatever you want. I got a set of 4 from Amazon around $16. I know you can get them at Target or The Dollar store cheaper. But readers, I’m not worried about $10. I’m worried about 10 minutes, which is what it will take me to drive to one of those places, plus shopping, plus driving back. So choose your battles I guess. ¬†As for the fabric, I again went with a time saving option. I’d originally planned on picking holiday-themed fabric, but when I got to JoAnn’s (yes, I actually went there) there was a huge line to get things cut. So I just picked up the right colors and went home.

What to Do

This project takes about the same amount of time as watching a quarter of football. That is give or take another quarter, because my son and dogs kept stealing my materials so I couldn’t properly time myself. Do you see why I’m always in a frenzy? Anyway, it could take longer if you are going for perfection. I was not. If I wanted perfection, I’d have to move out.

Step 1

Choose some shapes for each holiday. I did three: a leaf for Thanksgiving, a tree for Christmas, and a heart for Valentine’s Day. You can find some images on your computer or pick up die-cuts or something. I free-handed them though, because, you know, time.

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All you have to do is fold up your fabric quarter into quarters and draw the shape on. What was really cool about the plates I got is they had a little square outlined in the middle, so I had a pretty good idea of what size to make them so each holiday was similar. Staple your folded quarters together around the drawing if you want more control. Then cut all of them at once.

Step 2

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Now you have a whole bunch of little shapes, right? From here it’s time to figure out what size magnet or Velcro you need. I went with magnets because I thought they’d be thinner, but after putting a plate on top of the finished charger, I think Velcro would be fine too. Or, you know, whatever you have around the house. ¬†You’re going to want to have two strips of magnet, one for the top and one for the bottom of each cutout. Now, your cutouts aren’t going to be the same size, so you can’t just measure one and call it good. I wound up having a little tiny piece and one longer piece, but that longer piece is the bottom for the tree and the top for the other two. Luckily plates are round so it really doesn’t matter.

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Step 3

Magnet tape is sticky on one side (as is Velcro), but the sticky part isn’t really meant for fabric, so I’d consider some fabric or super glue to keep the plates and fabric in place. It’s just easier than having to be careful every single time you switch out one of your cutouts. It should go without saying, but don’t glue the magnet side. Just slap those nicely glued magnets on there and you’re good to go! Interchangeable holiday charger plates in no time at all! Of course, if you’re less frenzied than I am, you can take your time and make them much nicer. But, I showed mine to a few people and they all agreed they were cute. ¬†That’s really all we need, right?

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