4th of July DIYs

Longer days, ice cream melting down a hand and fireworks, bigger than the sky. The 4th of July celebrates a history of independence during the acme of summer, with its small joys and heat expanding under our nails.

Donning red, white, and blue means different things to different people – coming to America, various cultures sharing a meal, harking back to the first settlers or several generations in a link of existence. Whatever the 4th means to you, its colors can be found from shop windows to BBQs.

Here are some DIYs based on this national holiday’s iconic red, white, and blue tricolor from Clothing Shop Online:


A Patriotic 4th of July Tie Dye 

How to Firecracker Tie Dye apply blue dye

A quintessential summer look, tie dye is the perfect 4th of July craft. It requires only basic supplies and some drying time. There are two tie dye techniques: using a pre-made kit or DIY bath. Assuming you’re into doing things the old school, low cost way, here’s how to tie dye using a homemade bath:

Gather materials. You’ll need the following to make your own tie dye:

  • (2) 3-gallon buckets (stainless steel or plastic, if you don’t mind it getting stained)
  • Fiber-reactive dye, such as Jacquard Procion or Dylon Permanent, in Red and Blue
  • Pre-washed, White 100% cotton unisex T-shirt
  • Rubber gloves
  • Steel tongs
  • Glass jar with tight-seal lid
  • Measuring spoon
  • Soda ash fixative

The DIY tie dye bath. Put your gloves on and fill the bucket with 1 gallon of cool water, then fill the jar half with cool water. Measure 2 to 4 teaspoons of dye into the jar; the amount depends on how dark you’d like the colors. Close the lid and shake until the powder dissolves; then add the mix to the bucket and stir. Next, filling the jar halfway with hot water, add 6 teaspoons of soda ash, close the lid, and shake. Pour the mix into the bucket to stir. Repeat for the second color.

Preparing the T-shirt. Tie dying works best with a pre-washed, 100% cotton tee, but will work with a 50/50 cotton poly blend. Tie the shirt tightly with rubber bands in whatever design you’d like and then immerse half of the shirt in the dye bath of lukewarm water mixture, and soak for 30 minutes (or longer for more vibrant color). Do the same to the bottom half of the tee, but with the opposite color in the second bucket of dye mix.

Wash the T-shirt. Removing the tee with tongs, keep your gloves on to remove the rubber bands. Rinse the shirt with warm, then cool water until the water runs clear. Launder the shirt in cold water and then dry it outside on a line or by machine.


Using Your Hands in The Design

These American flag handprint tees are super easy to make and are the perfect DIY shirts for the 4th of July!

Another family favorite, involve your kids in your designs, incorporating their tiny handprints. While not the neatest option, this might be the easiest DIY t-shirt design option since it requires the least supplies. All you need for this one are tees, paper plates, cardboard non-toxic non-washable acrylic fabric paint, newspapers and hangers.

Set the stage by laying out newspapers. Then, create stations for each individual by leaving three feet of space between each shirt. Make sure to insert cardboard inside of each shirt, since the paint will bleed through as paint is pressed down onto the shirt. Each station can either have its own set of paper plates covered in paint or you can share plates of paint; however, it first option might be less chaotic and easier to clean up.

If your child is small, help place their hand in the paint and press onto the fabric in their desired design, making sure to wash hands between paint colors so the paint doesn’t muddy. If recreating the American flag, you can use the handprint in place of stars, and paint stripes on with a paintbrush. You can also sew small, white buttons or sequins in place of stars over the blue square.

Turn your DIY 4th of July t-shirt into a fun holiday activity for the whole family with these patriotic craft ideas.


Creating Your Own Graphics

Get the kids involved and help them hunt around the house for various stencil options. Whether it’s a magic eraser sponge, cardboard, pencil eraser tip, star cookie cutters, or even an apple, there are so many ways to source stencils. Along with your stencil(s), you’ll need a few paper plates, hangers, a flat surface, newspaper, non-toxic non-washable acrylic fabric paint, and pre-washed, cotton tees or tanks, preferably in white, blue or red. If using a blue tee, opt for white and red paint; if a red tee, the inversed colors.

For stencils that you need to cut out, use a guide that you’ve either printed out online or freehanded and trace directly onto your chosen medium. Then, use scissors (or safety scissors if you’ve recruited the littles) to cut out your stencils. With apples, cut them in half and draw your design onto the flat surface. Then, gradually whittle away at the pulp either inside the shape or outside depending on how you want the paint to stencil onto the shirt. However, don’t reuse these between colors. Make sure to dedicate one carved apple per color since you can’t wash the paint off.

For premade stencils, like star-shaped cookie cutters, just make sure you have several. If you don’t, thoroughly wash the stencil with soap and water assuming it can handle washing like items made of rubber.

Next, set out your tees onto a flat surface covered in newspapers and press stencils firmly onto the shirt, making sure not to press the sides of your palms onto the fabric. Then, gently lift or peel off the stencil and continue until you’ve reached your desired design. When done, hang your shirts to dry for at least 24 hours so the paint has time to set.


No-Sew Ribbon or Fabric Designs

Who says you have to know how to sew to adhere to fabric? For this project, gather your favorite ribbon or bandanas in red, white and blue; scissors; an iron; a cotton tee, and no-sew adhesive tape, like Heat n Bond.

Before using no-sew adhesive tape, consider the design you’d like to make and cut your ribbons or bandanas the length of the adhesive tape. Take the adhesive off of one side of the tape, which is double-sided, and iron downwards, so that the tape sticks to the fabric, but not the iron. Then, take the paper off of the top side of the adhesive tape and place your ribbon or bandana strips/cut-out shapes over the tape, ironing the fabric onto it. You can weave the ribbon, cut out stars or stripes from the bandanas – there are many options here.

So have some fun and get creative with your 4th of July apparel. Whether it be repurposing old tees or adding some great touches with fabric paint, these ideas will give you some easy ways to show your patriotic spirit. 

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