Head into any craft store and you will find a dazzling array of wooden crafts, signs, decorations and all matter of things to decorate a patriotic front porch with. Some are simple, others cutesy, and others a bit more complicated.
Now think for a moment about what you may have lurking in your basement or garage. Do you have stars, flags, wood cut outs anywhere? How about simple, plain pieces of wood. Dig through what you have and see, you might be pleasantly surprised at the treasure trove of goodies you already own!
It is also easy to make your own wood crafts and signs. If you have some wood, print a couple of stars, or flags from the internet, blowing up to the size you need. Place them on your wood, trace around them with a pencil, marking lightly into the wood. Remove paper, trace around wood a second time with a pencil, then paint. Easy breezy!
Having been living historians for years, back home in California, we had a ton of patriotic things waiting to be painted, neatly stored in bins in the garage. Dare I admit that if these were bought in CA, then they are at least 6 years old. Talk about perfectionist procrastinating! Dig them out, or grab a few at the store and have a DIY Patriotic Painting Party on the back porch.
Consider Color! What shades of red, white and blue do you want to use? Do you want your reds to be a brilliant red, like the American flag, or will you go with more subtle shades of red? Will a slightly red tinted orange match your home, or a blue based red? Think through the shade of blue, what will work best? A bright, American blue, navy blue, or more of a country subdued tint. Do you want true color, softer country colors and shades, or primitive colors. Do you want bright pops of colors, or more subtle shades and washes? White whites, or creamy colors? Gloss or flat paint, or a combination. These are all things to determine before you start painting.
Preparation is the key to a fun painting party. Start by assembling everything you need up front, so you don’t have to keep stopping to grab the next thing. Grab a drop cloths or old table cloths to protect the table and put it down. Then gather paint, brushes, foam brushes, mixing palettes, water, paper towels, a wet rag is a handy addition to help with clean up little spills. Wipe down your wooden projects and place them on the table. Have the kids wash their hands, and you are ready to begin.
The hardest thing about painting or any other DIY project, for some of us, is getting over a perfectionistic streak. If you have one, and you are doing this with kids, determine to just get over yourself and have fun. Is that harsh? No, it is experience!
Creating crafts with family is not about perfection, it is about having a good time, enjoying one another while painting and making something beautiful for everyone to enjoy. You will find that stories and thoughts, hopes and dreams come bubbling out, while you paint. There is something about the creative process that spurs more creativity. Allow it to be fun and enjoyable!
And if you are outside in the sun, track how long you are outside. We ended up losing ourselves in the project, yet trying to finish before a thunderstorm rolled in. Although dark, cloudy and late afternoon, we managed to burn (had been out earlier, doing yard work as well)
Painting Tips: We found that the new balsam, or whatever wood these new projects are made out of sucks paint and some needed 2 or 3 coats of paint. Start with a base coat in a white or neutral color, or for darker colors, use up an old blue or red. It will add shades of depth to your final color! Don’t be afraid to mix colors – this is our famous trick! Just make sure you have enough for touch ups at the end.
Foam paint brushes can help move color easily on a flat piece of wood. They are versatile and can really help get the undercoat on. Foam paint brushes are easy for kids to handle and they thoroughly enjoy them!
Paint brushes help with detail, getting in and out of raised surfaces, along with more detailed painting. Keep a supply on hand to get into those tough spots.
See that big glob of red in the middle of a white stripe? If you make a mistake, it is okay, the world won’t end. Simply paint over it (it may take several coats) and keep going with the project. Generally, you don’t notice mistakes when the final product is done. If you are a perfectionist and you can’t handle it, glue a raffia or fabric bow on it and decide to just accept it and be thankful the project is done and looks good to everyone else! Don’t let it eat at you every time you walk by, keep the overall picture in mind….can you tell I am a fellow perfectionist procrastinator!
When you are done painting, let each project dry thoroughly. If desired, finish with a top coat of clear spray or varnish, especially if that item will be in direct contact with sun and weather.
Clean up is the final step, clean all brushes well. Remember not to let the brush tips stand in water, it will ruin the edge and potentially soften the glue. Toss foam brushes and clean up all paint messes. Fold the paint cloth, put everything away and wipe down the table.
You are now ready to decorate your patriotic porch with your beautiful, hand painted items.
So there are some easy tips to help you get started on some red, white and blue painting projects for your patriotic porch! Enjoy painting your projects!