The good old red, white, and blue… while we can fly the American flag any time of year, many of us pull out patriotic decorations as Independence Day draws closer. As much as I love a simple flag or bunting on a porch railing, I wanted a way to get the little gardeners involved in decorating and creating. Enter the 4th of July windsock.
What is a windsock?
I am so glad you asked… even if you didn’t. Maybe you’ve seen a bright orange windsock near an airport runway? The bright, ice cream cone shaped “kite” helps determine which direction the wind is blowing and even how strong the wind is. Most researchers agree that the windsock originated in China and Japan. It would be flown when a child (especially a boy) was born. Many were made out of paper, but wealthier families could afford silk windsocks. (Clearly, we won’t be working with silk, sheesh.)
Windsocks were also known to be carried by soldiers heading out to battle. Can you imagine the Roman army marching along with a rainbow-colored, spinning windsock? Me either. Something tells me their windsocks had a more menacing look to them… maybe some angry eyes. Just an idea.
How to make a windsock
Obviously our windsock is going to be pretty simple to put together, and we don’t want it scaring the neighbors, so no angry eyes. Our usual 4th of July decor is pretty sparse, so this is a great way to add some decoration to the lawn. The 4th of July windsock also puts some extra streamers we’ve had laying around to good use. The other bonus is since we’re using mostly paper materials, you can recycle this after the holiday and not feel guilty. Boom. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Paper canister (an empty oatmeal or grits canister works well)
- Blue felt
- White grosgrain ribbon
- Red and white paper streamers
- Glue gun and sticks
- Scrap cardboard
- Aluminum foil
- Clear tape
4th of July Windsock:
- Take blue felt and place it around paper canister. Mark any overhang/extra with a pen and cut it off. Using the glue gun, stick the blue felt to the outside of the canister. Then cut one length of white ribbon and glue it to the top edge The white ribbon gives a more finished look to your windsock.
- Cut long lengths (whatever length you like) of red and white streamer paper. Tape the ends of the streamers inside the canister, creating an alternating white and red pattern. Try to keep the streamers close together, like the stripes of the flag. Little hands love to help with this step. (We all know it’s because of the tape; my kids are obsessed with tape!)
- Assemble your stars by drawing or stenciling stars onto a piece of cardboard. (Determine the size stars you need based on the size of your container.) If you’re brave, let your kids do this step. (We ended up with a “triangle” star.) Cut out stars and lay each one on a piece of aluminum foil twice as large as the star (this gives you plenty of foil to work with). Wrap the foil around the stars and secure at the back using a dab of glue. Turn stars over and use a Q-tip to smooth the foil if there are any wrinkles or creases. Attach the stars to the windsock using your glue gun.
- The final step is making three small holes just below the white ribbon at the top of your windsock. Use a nail or awl to pierce the fabric and cardboard. Then use twine, yarn, or even fishing line to loop through and give your windsock something to hang by. Choose the perfect tree or hook on a porch and let your windsock billow in the breeze!
I hope you have a fabulous Independence Day with lots of sunshine, blueberry pie, fireworks and thankfulness! I’d love to know what your families do to celebrate the 4th. Our plans seem to vary each year, but we always manage a birthday cake for our Yankee Doodle oldest gardener. Until next time, happy gardening!