Saturday, July 11, 2015

DIY Freedom Flag Clothespin Wreath

This 4th of July I wanted to make something decorative that would become an annual tradition. We haven't really decorated for Independence Day before and I kept coming across various wreaths on pinterest that sort of inspired me.... but none of them enough to get me excited and in action. Then on Thursday before 4th of July I saw this idea for a clothespin wreath on twitter and absolutely loved it and we had to make our own.

Friday was all about getting our supplies for both the Freedom Flag Clothespin Wreath and other fun celebratory items. Can I just tell you how much I hate going to Michaels? As I mentioned before, I'm not really a crafter. I dream about it and then the idea sits long enough to get stale and goes poof. So when I have to go to Michaels to get something for a school project for the kids or to replenish Amberly's art supplies I can get a little.... shall we say overwhelmed?

We were supposed to get in and out of there within 20 minutes.... I mean the supply list was rather short, which is why I took it on. I like simple. But, we were in there for an hour AND A HALF! And this particular day it wasn't even busy. Regardless, I feel like it is never easy to find the specific thing you're looking for. And we go to craft stores generally because we need very specific things. I'm going to have to write a follow up blog post on this because I can feel myself getting worked up over it now!

Back to our Freedom Flag Clothespin Wreath..... which was inspied by Kicking it with Kelly. Oh and she shares an awesome painting hack that we followed and I was pleased with the results, so take a look at her post.


One 12' wire floral wreath
72 wooden clothespins - careful not to get a bag of mixed sizes - we almost did that!
One can white spray paint
One small package of red powdered dye by Rit (we almost bought the big one - don't do that)
One package of of blue powdered dye by Rit (same as above)
Wooden stars (our package had 10 and we used 8)
Ribbon (I used some left over red and blue shoe laces)
3 wooden skewers (these are not available at Michaels so plan to stop at the grocery store)
3 Styrofoam cups
Hot glue gun
1 to 2 glue sticks for glue gun (depending who's operating the glue gun!)
2 buckets (to dye your clothespins in)
plastic bags (to lay your dyed clothespin on to dry)
paper (to protect the surface of where you spray paint the wreath and stars)


One: Check to see what you already have from the supplies list. We did this which I'm glad because it turned out we did not have the right size glue sticks for our tiny hot glue gun, so we needed to buy more. Maybe you already have skewers from your last BBQ or have Styrofoam cups and won't need to go buy them. Always double check before you go to the craft store so you don't buy something that you already have at home. Or worse, assume you have it at home and don't buy it, then find you really are out of that specific thing and have to make a second trip to the craft store!

Two: Head to the dreaded Michaels. Or if you're ahead of the game, shop online. That's what I'll do next time I want to attempt a holiday themed craft.

Three: Set everything out and carefully think about your plan of attack. I did not do this and the project took way longer than it should have. 

Special Note: I wanted to have 13 stripes represented the way the American flag has 7 red stripes and 6 white. So I divided the clothespins to arrange for this. 28 RED, 24 WHITE and 20 BLUE. Each stripe would have 4 of the same color clothespins.

Four: Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Pour the water into the first bucket. Add the red Rit dye to the water. Now add 28 clothespins to the hot red water. Let sit for 20 minutes.  Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot. Pour the water into the second bucket. Add about a quarter of the Rit dye to the water. Now add 20 clothespins to the hot blue water. Let sit for 20 minutes. If I had been thinking ahead I would have boiled 2 pots of water simultaneously to save time! 

When the 20 minutes is up take the colored clothespins out of the bucket with a pair of tongs and lay on a plastic bag to dry. I say to remove them with tongs because the dye is an eye irritant. Both Amberly and I washed our hands as an extra precaution after handling the dye packet and removing the colored clothespins. Safety First!

Five: While your red and blue clothespins are drying set up a station to spray paint the wire flower wreath, wooden stars and remaining 24 clothespins. I recommend doing this outside. Spray paint fumes are toxic and you should not breath them in. If you have a painter's mask it is a good idea to wear it. You don't want kids breathing this stuff in.

Side note: Michaels had the paint locked up and my kids all wanted to know why that was so I explained in an honest matter of fact way that some people use spray paint in a harmful manner and a law passed to try and protect people from making this mistake. Use the white spray paint to completely cover the wire flower wreath, wooden stars and 24 clothespins. Remember there is a cool painting hack shared here for the white clothespins. Spray painting all of these things at once is a huge time saver so set it all up at once instead of doing in stages like we did.

Extra Tips: Be sure to shake your can of paint really good before getting started and have the spout spraying away from you and downwind. I did spray both sides of the wreath but opted not to spray the backside of the wooden stars.

Six: Now it's time to assemble everything! My daughter couldn't wait for this step. It's more of a one person job. I offered to let her be in charge of the glue gun to affix the stars if she would let me work out how to fit all these clips on the wreath. Lucky for me she was excited about using the hot glue gun. The wreath has 6 sections all the way around. I was able to fit 12 in each section, fitting them in really tightly. I alternated one high, one low. I happened to look online for anyone else creating a clothespin wreath and found some with the clothespins all lined up the same with no interesting pattern. I think this alternate high-low method is really what makes it stand out!

Seven: Using a hot glue gun, attach the white stars to the blue section of your wreath being careful that the glue does not dry before you attach it. Again, having a plan of action will help you have a finished product you love.

Now that we have this first run under our belts, I think I'd let Amberly do a good majority of the project herself. Just not the spray painting yet.

I'm half joking when I say that I hate Michaels. It reminds me a little of Costco in the way that you always buy more than what you intend to. That wasn't a totally awful thing as I got a very affordable 4th of July craft for the kids to do on their own. I picked up some glow sticks and silly string which was buy one get one free so that all good. And a bunch more stuff got thrown in the basket that was just too good of a deal to pass up or too cute to say no. There just is so much to look at and the kids kept badgering me to buy this and that. No matter how much of a mission we were on I kept looking at all the distracting items too. We had the worst time finding the wire floral wreath. And what was funny was when we picked up the glue gun sticks, we didn't notice the wire floral wreaths right next to them! I'm pretty sure we had to go up to the front to ask which aisle 3 of the things on our list were at because we had given up! The staff is really nice, but they have their hands full. As I was heading out I saw their promotional sign to sign up for their text alerts and receive a 20% off coupon and I had done that the last time I was there so I turned right around returned everything I had just bought and used that email I found way back from April in my phone. Thank goodness for the search option. I saved nearly $20 so it was worth it.

Let me wrap up with this.... I wanted a simple, quick, cost effective project for the 4th of July. This ended up taking me way more time, steps and money that I planned. But in the end, the final product made me quite happy!

PIN THIS to your 4th of July board!

A few other 4th of July inspired posts you'll enjoy:



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