Summertime in the United States is the most patriotic time of year, bookended by celebrations of American military and workforce with Memorial Day the last Monday in May to Labor Day the first Monday in September. In between, there are even more reasons to celebrate including Flag Day on June 14 and Independence Day on July 4.
There are plenty of comic book heroes who celebrate the American-style spirit, but Captain America is the most blatant–or at least the most literal–patriotic superhero. Best of all, his most recognizable weapon/accessory is just begging to be used for Americana summertime decorating.
The only skill needed is being able to trace, draw, or cut out the design on Cap’s shield on a circle. This design can be used to create an entire patriotic holiday gathering, weekend barbecue, or birthday party from place settings and centerpieces to window decorations and party favors.
Look for a head-on image of Cap’s shield comic or color books, online at free clip art sites for his modern shield, as well as one for his “retro” shield for those who want a little bigger challenge.
Suncatchers. Place a transparent plastic container lid or clear CD/DVD “separator disc” and place it over the same sized image of the shield (or hold it up to a computer screen to save paper). Using a felt tip marker, trace the outline of the pattern. The image can now be removed from the pattern and colored in. Thread clear fishing line or colored string through the hole in the CD to hang it (use a hold punch for the plastic lids).
Old-fashioned bunting. Draw the shield pattern on flattened coffee filters with felt tip marker or craft paint. Using a piece of yarn or rope, fold the filters in half over the cord to make a semi-circle bunting (about five to seven filters). String them over a window, door, or along a patio railing or picnic table.
Place mats. This craft is very straightforward. Use craft or cloth paint on an inexpensive, plain, straw place mat for individual settings, or as a centerpiece base. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as an off-centered or lopsided star will give it a folk art appearance. Can’t find straw mats? These will also work with vinyl place mats, if you can’t find woven mats.
Pie tin centerpiece. Gently cut out the bottom of an aluminum pie tin and paint the shield image on with craft paint. Seal with Mod Podge. This craft is a good opportunity to also try out the “retro” shield design. The pie tins will have sharp edges, so lining the edges with masking tape before painting is a good idea with smaller kids. Using glue or tape (duct tape or masking tape), attach the shield to a chopstick, long twig, or Popsicle stick. Place these in a vase with cut flowers, or accent a jar filled with chocolate candy pieces.
Bottle cap party favors. Use the provided bottle cap image sheet, or print out a ¾” shield image on cardstock. Use a drop of craft glue to hold the image in place on the inside of the bottle cap, and paint a thin layer of Mod Podge or glue/water over it to protect it, making sure the image’s edges are well covered. Clear commercial embellishment fluids or clear school glue can also be used, but they take a few hours to dry properly. Once dry, attach a pin-back or small magnet to the back using strong glue (E-600 or similar adhesive works well).
Fill a clear jar or container with them on a party table, or hand them out to guests at the end of the party. Keep what’s left by the door for other summer visitors. The classic red Coca-cola bottle caps look really cool with this, but any bottle cap will do.
Keep these decorations on hand for any patriotic summer event, or keep them up all summer long, for a celebration worthy of a super soldier.