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We love holidays around here, but with military service in our families, the Fourth holds a special place in our household. To pass on the love of our country to our kids we took on the task of a U.S. Flag craft this morning.
Despite the age of our kids (1 and 2.5 years old), we whipped this up in no time. From start to finish I’m sure we were done in under an hour.
As with any task, we started by gathering our supplies. We used:
- Crayola washable fingerpaint in red and blue
- 1″ painter’s tape (any masking tape will work)
- 7″ x 9.5″ rectangular white canvases (I bought mine at the local German craft store, but here are some 5″ x 7″s which should also work or some 11″ x 14″ if you want to go big**)
- glue gun (for the stars – I couldn’t find white star stickers)
- box cutter (I like these because the blade is retractable and you can snap off the tip when it dulls giving you a whole new knife!)
We also protected the table with a clear vinyl table cloth cover (like this one), and put Ikea smocks on the kids to protect their clothing. (I used the stovetop because the kids can’t reach the back burners and I was trying to keep the hot glue gun out of reach).
After we got our supplies together, I oriented the canvases like a landscape photo.
I used the painter’s tape to create the stripes. I aligned one strip of tape to the top of our canvas, leaving the ends loose. This will ultimately be the first red stripe.
I aligned a second length of tape even with the first strip. This second length of tape wrapped from the back on the left to the back on the right, covering the edges of the canvas. This will ultimately be the first white stripe.
I aligned the strip of tape from the top of the canvas with the bottom of the stripe we just completed and then added another strip of tape below it to continue the repeating pattern of alternating stripes. I kept leap frogging tape until I reached the bottom of the canvas.
After applying the tape for the stripes, we had (mostly) equally distributed stripes that were fairly even.
**A note about the size of the canvases. You want your first and last stripes to be red with equal-width white stripes evenly distributed. If you use 1″ tape, a canvas with a short side measuring an odd number (3″, 5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, and 13″) will net you the same result with a different number of stripes.
I eyeballed the blue field, cutting the tape with scissors to give nice, even edges. Then we covered any exposed white area in the blue field, including the edges, with additional tape. Before we put the canvases in front the kids, we gently but firmly pressed the tape to the canvas to make sure it was securely in place to prevent bleeding.
To get started with the paint, we dolloped a dose of red fingerpaint onto the canvas and let the kids smear it around until they covered all the exposed white.
After the red dried nominally (with some heavy fanning), we peeled the tape from the blue field. I used the penknife to gently score the strip of tape for the first white stripe, using the edge of the red stripes as guides. (You could also do this with scissors quite easily.)
When all the tape was removed, we had a nice blank canvas for our stars and blue field.
While my husband washed the majority of the red paint from the kids’ hands (to prevent blending), I drew stars onto the white canvas with the hot glue gun. I looked for, but was unable to find, star-shaped stickers. If you wanted a true white star, I imagine that would probably work better. A cursory search on Amazon turns up seven pages of results.
After the glue cooled, and with varying degrees of assistance, the kids filled in the field of stars with blue finger paint. Again, while my husband dunked the kids in the bathroom sink, I peeled off the remaining tape and propped the canvases up (and out of reach) to dry.
This was one of the easiest crafts we’ve done with our small kids. I think part of the reason was because my husband was home to help, and the other part was because we taped the canvas, thereby “controlling their environment”.
In the end, this turned out much better than our Valentine’s Day handprint heart canvases where I had to define the “hearts” with glitter glue. Either way, both projects are things we’ll keep for years to come, using them as seasonal decor, and passing them on when the time comes.
Wishing you an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July!