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4th of July Flare

What do you have planned for the 4th?  My family traditionally has gone to a local parade and then to the lake for the day!   I thought that the boys might like some “Flare” for the parade this year… Something to wave at the passersby.  Something patriotic!  I altered a project I traditionally do around Mother’s Day for the 4th and I think they will work perfectly.  We make “coffee filter” flowers for our mom’s sometimes in Kindergarten.  They are pretty easy once you get the hang of it and you can whip out a bunch of them in no time!  My boys made the ones pictured, but you could also make a bunch to hand out to friends!  You could also just plop them in a vase and use them as a centerpiece, I think they kind of look like fireworks!  I’m sure you’ll think of something creative to do with them!  Here’s the scoop:

MATERIALS:

*white coffee filters (we don’t even drink coffee, but I use them a lot for projects)
*chenille stems/pipe cleaners:  I used Red, White and Blue.  I used the big fuzzy ones, but any will work!
*red and blue watercolor paint:  This was kind of a challenge, having the boys stick to just these colors, but you could cover the colors you don’t want them to use in scotch tape.
*towel  for drying, or just some counter space!

DIRECTIONS

1.  Place one of the coffee filters onto a paper plate or piece of construction paper and flatten out. This is just so the paint doesn’t get on your table!
2.  Paint the coffee filter with water color paint. You can paint them any combination of red & blue you want.  We left some areas white… Mine were totally painted by preschoolers.  You could paint some stripes, solids, dots, etc.. depending on the age of your children.  I had to remind my boys that we were only using red and blue… You might want to cover up your other colors with scotch tape if it is hard for them to remember this 🙂
3.  Move the coffee filter to a towel or counter and lay it flat to dry.
4.  Once the filter is completely dry (it doesn’t take that long) imagine a circle in  the center of the filter. Cut the coffee filter in strips, working you way around the circle. Our strips were triangular in shape because we were cutting in a circle.  I probably left a quarter size circle in the center of each filter and just cut around it.  If you want to “draw” a circle in the center you certainly can and then just cut from the edge of the filter up to your drawn line all the way around.  My 4 and 5 year old did the cutting and did a pretty good job…I held the filter for them and turned it so they could cut.  You can see some of their jagged edges, but that makes it more special!
5.  Cut a 1.5″ piece off of one end of a chenille stem and set aside.
6.  Take the longer piece of chenille and poke it through the center of the coffee filter. There should be about 2″ of chenille poked through.
7.  NOW, turn the entire thing upside down and grasp the filter in one hand.  The long piece of the chenille stem should be pointed up. Gather the filter  around the chenille and secure it by wrapping the extra piece of chenille stem that you cut off in an earlier step. Twist it around the part you are holding and turn the flower back upright.
8.  Manipulate with your finger until strips are spread out and it looks the way you want it to.
9.  It sounds more tricky than it is.  I assure you IT’S NOT… It is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it!    Have fun!
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