4th of July Upcycle

I was asked to do this piece back in mid March. I was excited to be asked again and to think about fun 4th of July projects. I usually decorate my house all of summer in patriotic/picnic decor. These decorations cover all 3 patriotic summer holidays and it just makes the house feel fun and bright – like summer!

Then, the whole world came to a screeching halt. My family chose to hunker down. We did everything from home and were cut off from the outside world. Fear of the unknown settled into a daily feeling, and fun stuff like decorating some shelves in our house felt so foreign. As my deadline approached, I was having a bit of anxiety thinking about walking into a store and meandering about. When I walked into Goodwill, I felt immediately at ease! It is mandatory to wear a mask inside the store. Everything was spaced nicely with plenty of room to walk around, arrows were on the floor to let you know that aisles were one way now. They even had large stickers on the floor showing you how far 6 feet apart was. Except for the mask on my face, it felt normal to be out in a store and shopping!

I always search Pinterest for some ideas beforehand but keep an open mind when shopping. You never know what treasures you will find at Goodwill. I looked for everyday items that can be used in other ways or crafted into a fun holiday decoration. I was keeping my eyes open for patriotic colors or rectangle shapes.

After walking the aisles a few times, I picked up:

a wire dish rack
5 paperback books
3 large glossy red frames
a smaller gold frame
some blue and white beads on a wire
some red flower petals

My total was $28.22. I was not planning on buying any frames having done that on my last project, but I couldn’t resist the great frames I found for around $3 a piece!

Paperback books

I had previously seen books stacked together, painted with some words on their spines all over the place and thought that looked like a fun, easy and inexpensive project. Each book was $1 – I tried to find books that were similar in size. I chose paper back books because they were cheaper than the hardbacks, but you can use either.

I ripped off the covers and some of the glue on the spine. I sanded the spine of the book a little to make it smooth, and painted 3 books with white paint, and 2 books red. I stacked 2 of the white ones together, tied some string around them and added some of the beads I found. I had a few flowers laying around in my office and decided to use them as well. I kept the first layout very simple.

With the second one, I stacked the books red, white and red to mimic the American flag. I tied some linen ribbon and string around this stack and also added a blue flower to the top. I have previously seen these done so many different ways – some with stamped letters, vinyl letters, or free hand letters with names or sayings. You could also use scrapbook paper, paint, flowers and greenery, or ribbon to decorate the top. You can use almost anything, and these stacked books look adorable!

Wire Rack

I chose to tackle the wire rack next.

I was not sure what to do with it, but thought it had a great flag shape. I have a small sewing business, so I already had a lot of different fabrics and ribbon laying around. I started to pull ribbons hoping to have a variety of different red and white ribbons, and I was happy with what I found. I cut pieces of ribbon about 2 inches longer than the rack. I then just wrapped the ends around the back, pulled it tight and hot glued the ends to the back of the ribbon.

This was also a very fast project – it took me more time to pick out the ribbon then actually gluing them on! If you don’t have a stash of ribbon at home, you could tie on scarfs, men’s neckties, or even yarn. You could cut up some old clothes or a tee shirt and dye them the color you need. There are so many ways to make this inexpensively.


I searched the web for a fun fireworks image, printed that and put it in one of the red frames. For another holiday I would love to use the 3 frames in a row, but will just use the one for now. I also pulled out the frames I made from my Goodwill finds for Valentines day and incorporated ideas that worked with Independence Day.

I found a coloring page of an eagle online and printed that out to put in the aqua frame. For the red frame, I used some fun glitter stars I had and it pulled everything all together!

I really love how it all looks together! All of these projects were really fast!. The items I ended up using from my shopping trip came to a total of $15.28. I hope you head on out to your local Goodwill Store and upcylce something today as well! I hope this encourages you to try your hand at your own Goodwill upcycle project.