A 4th of July party is just about everything I like in a party:
- You don’t have to throw one, so the pressure is off.
- It’s guaranteed to be bright and colorful.
- You can be sure of apple pie.
What’s not to love?! Despite all that, I wasn’t really planning to host anything this year, until two party friends changed my mind.
I got a wonderful surprise in my email from Zoila at Squared Party Printables. I’d used one of Zoila’s printable Halloween collections for this party and just love her work. She sent me her Stars & Stripes printable collection, which is very big and a steal at just $8 on Etsy. (Read to the bottom, because you could win this collection! UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed.)
Not long after, Ellie from A Felt Affair sent me a red, white and blue felt garland as a thank you for using her green and white garland in my St. Patrick’s Day party. Zoila and Ellie take thank you notes to a whole new level!
These were clearly signs that I needed to have a 4th of July party, I just needed a concept. Then I remembered that Zoila said her collection looked good printed on parchment card stock. And the idea of antique-looking parchment made me realize that the party concept was right there in my living room. There is a famous painting you’ll probably recognize when you see it.
The original hangs in rotunda of Congress and is reproduced on the back of the $2 bill (not that anyone uses $2 bills anymore). It’s “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull. Trivia for you: My maiden name is Trumbull … yep, the same Trumbull. An antique etching of the painting hangs in my living room. There was my theme. (We even had fun posing the girls like the Founding Fathers.)
Independence Day would be the perfect time to shoehorn in a small history lesson, and a little bit of family history for the girls. I decided to take my inspiration from the painting, creating a dessert table that mimicked our founding fathers, gathered to sign the declaration.
Styling the Dessert Table
I held the party in our library, which I use as my office. I liked the idea of the desk as the dessert table because it reminded me of the painting. For the backdrop, I used our flag. (Not the flag of their time, but this was the more practical choice.) Make sure you are displaying the flag with respect by reading the U.S. Flag Code. I placed my etching on an easel in front of the flag, and the two together formed my dessert table backdrop.
I used silver and crystal because I thought that’s what these men would have been accustomed to. Since the founders had books and papers on their table, I used encyclopedias and a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence on my table. (One of the encyclopedias includes the entry for John Trumbull.)
In a silver tea pot, I added some sparklers for fun later. My parents lent me an ink well from my father’s family, and I popped a white feather pen in there (again, like the painting).
4th of July Desserts
To keep with our Revolutionary War era theme, I did a little Google research on desserts of the time and based all our treats on popular sweets of the day. (Come back tomorrow for recipes!) I served:
- All-American Apple Pie
- Hasty Pudding Push-Up Pops
- Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
- Betsy Ross Sugar Cookies
- Revolutionary War Balls
- Orange Raisin Cakes
- Tax-Free Tea
Some of these recipes were loosely interpreted, to say the least! Hasty pudding is actually more of a corn pudding, and mine was chocolate pudding. I’m pretty certain their gingerbread was not in the form of whoopie pies. My Revolutionary War Balls were cinnamon donut holes, but those actually sound just like real thing!
For the pie, I used Squared Party Printables paper to create star bunting for the apple pie and hung the stars on red and blue twine.
For favors, I wrapped up some red Sixlets and blue Jelly Bellies in red and blue candy cups and attached a Squared Party Printables tag.
July 4th is one of those holidays where you can let the kids loose in the backyard until dinner’s ready and then go see the fireworks. But if you want some more activity ideas, you could try these coloring pages. Last year, the girls and I headed outside and painted our nails red, white and blue. We made pony bead necklaces in patriotic colors, too. (No kid is going to be excited about a book on the Fourth, but this is a good option to help them understand what this holiday is actually about.)
And if you’ve never tried an indoor picnic: it’s a must. Our kids have more fun knowing they can eat on the floor! (It also makes for a great family movie night tradition.)
Best yet, because I used what I had and made all the food (except the mini cookies), this party only cost me $107 (plus the cost of food).
- Party styling: The Party Teacher
- Photography: Viridian Images Photography
- Printables: Squared Party Printables
- Felt garland: A Felt Affair
- Mini star cookies: Stephanie J’s Creations
Giveaway – Now Closed
Squared Party Printables is giving away three sets of her Stars and Stripes collection exclusively to Double the Fun Parties readers. That’s right: three winners! You could win one set in time for your own 4th of July celebration. The set includes:
- 1 sheet of 2″ circle or square party logos / labels
- 1 sheet of 2.5″ square party logos / labels
- 1 sheet of folding or flat blank party labels – editable by you
- 1 sheet large blank party labels 5″ x 7″ – editable by you
- 1 sheet of party favor hang tags
- 1 sheet of extra long drink wraps
- 5 patterned pages
- 9″ high ‘HAPPY 4th of JULY’ pennant banner