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Independence Day crafts with a vintage look for a traditional, razzle-dazzle 4th of July

Independence Day scrap photoTraditionally, Independence Day crafts are all about national pride; in America's independent spirit, its patriotic symbols, and its flag's colors - the star-spangled red, white and blue.

The 4th of July, American Independence Day, commemorates the day in 1776 when the United States claimed independence from Great Britain by written declaration. It was first observed by the Continental Congress in 1777, while the Revolutionary War escalated, with speeches, music, parades, fireworks - and a 13-gun salute.

Through the 19th Century, Americans celebrated on the 4th of July much as we do today, with commemorative ceremonies, family and community gatherings, and fireworks after dark.

Victorian homes were proudly festooned with red, white and blue bunting and flags. Family photographs and keepsakes from the Revolutionary War (just now becoming valuable antiques) were put on display in the parlor. Children would decorate their bicycles with twists of red, white and blue paper and streamers. Men and women decorated their hats with streamers and flowers. And every household with a piano would gather to sing patriotic songs like "Hail, Columbia" (written in 1798 and recognized as the National Anthem until 1931), "The Star-Spangled Banner" (1814), "America the Beautiful" (1895), "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (1831), and "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" (1814).

Making patriotic Independence Day crafts reflects the American traditions of craftsmanship and Yankee ingenuity. Home decorations include wreaths, yard and table displays, swags and garlands, and of course, flags. National symbols are emblazoned on plaques, cushions, tapestries, quilts, boxes, jewelry and clothing - and more. Even recreational items so traditional to the holiday - like sports equipment, picnic baskets and baseball caps - are decorated specially for the day.

Joann.comWe've put together several Independence Day crafts that will get you in the 4th of July spirit - fun and easy ones, we think. All are based on vintage images from America's historic past that still speak to the pride of the holiday.

As always, if you need anything for your crafts, Joann.com is online with fast delivery, and only a click away.

Independence Day Crafts

Independence Day Decoration craft photo Here's an Independence Day Decoration with a real burst of creativity. Victorian fireworks were colorful works of art, even before they were launched into the sky. With simple materials, you can create this vintage skyrocket for the center of your 4th of July table!
Uncle Sam Figure craft photo Our jaunty Uncle Sam Figure stands up for America! You've seen standee figures like these in the store for a pretty penny, but with a few simple materials you can make one for yourself. You'll love the vintage image of Uncle Sam in his formal red, white and blues.
Independence Day Wreath craft This Independence Day Wreath sings America's praises. The basic grapevine wreath is embellished with vintage music scrolls of patriotic songs, glossy stars and tinsel treble clefs. The bow even has a gold "Liberty Bell" to ring out the message.
Patriotic chenille doll craft photo These Patriotic Chenille Dolls will spark up your 4th of July! All it takes are scissors, glue and bump chenille rods, and you can turn out these vintage-look charmers to help you celebrate - or dress up your Independence Day crafts.
4th of July door decoration craft It looks like a million dollars, but this 4th of July Door Decoration goes together from a wire coat hanger and strips of red, white and blue crepe paper. With simple, glittery embellishments and a patriotic vintage image, you have a craft that even kids can proudly make.

The Many Symbols of Independence Day

A nation's symbols, from its National Bird to its National Anthem, represent the ideals and aspirations of its people. In the United States, these symbols are all put on parade during patriotic holidays, never more so than on the 4th of July, Independence Day.

As the printing industry grew during the 19th century, greeting cards, postcards and Independence Day crafts and decorations became very popular. Red, white and blue ink flowed like Niagra Falls. Early patriotic symbols were resurrected - and new ones invented.

First and foremost is the American Flag, with its red and white stripes and field of blue covered with a growing number of white stars. Its guardian and defender since 1782, the American Bald Eagle spreads its wings proudly, often clutching 13 arrows and an olive branch. Washington D.C. landmarks like the White House (1800), the Capital Building (1800) and the Washington Monument (1885) were all proudly rendered in drawings and photographs, as were Philadelphia's Independence Hall (1753) and its "Liberty Bell," and the Old North Church (1723) in Boston.

Many holiday images represent the nation's military and social history. Medals, memorial wreaths, swords and guns often appear with scenes of battle or tributes to the fallen. The Rose and the Lily symbolize the northern and southern states following the Civil War. Harvest bounty, machinery, factories and even bags of money were used to show the prosperity of the country.

Several historic personages make regular appearances. The Founding Fathers, wearing white wigs and bending over the Declaration of Independence, are always on hand. So are the popular Presidents, from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln. Betsy Ross sews her little fingers to the bone, and Paul Revere rides himself saddle-sore. Many Independence Day cards depict soldiers from all branches of service, uniformed for military events from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. Even George Washington's famous white horse shows up now and then.

Symbolic characters are just as important on Independence Day crafts and cards. Lady Liberty, in robes and a laurel wreath, is an incarnation of the Roman goddess Libertas, protector from slavery, oppression and tyranny. Her 305 ft. likeness, The Statue of Liberty, was shiny new in 1886, and appears that way in vintage images from the period. Columbia, looking much like Lady Liberty, was another feminine personification of America, as well as a poetic name for the land (sort of) discovered by Columbus. The 1875 Civil War painting by Archibald MacNeal Willard of the stoic fife and drum trio known as the Spirit of '76 was often reproduced and mimicked. Uncle Sam, the super-patriotic gentleman in the star-spangled swallow-tail suit and top hat, made his first appearance around 1838.

Perhaps most representative of the holiday, though, are illustrations of fireworks of all kinds. Especially rampant were images of children celebrating dangerously - with everything from firecrackers and sparklers to canons. Fireworks depict the birth of the nation, recreating the entire War for Independence in loud explosions, bursts of colored lights, and "oohs" and "ahhhs."

What are your favorite Independence Day crafts? We would enjoy hearing from you with ideas, comments or questions. Please, contact us with a note!

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