Crafty Tutorial: Quick & easy Patriotic Rag Balls celebrate July 4th

Make rag balls for July 4th decorating

Rag balls are an easy July 4th accent.

This heritage craft pays tribute to the hard work and sacrifices of those who first settled our country.   Nothing went to waste in the early days, and women saved every scrap of fabric, winding the scraps into fabric rag balls for later use.  Wrapped in red, white and blue fabrics, and all-American denim, our rag balls add a sense of history to July 4th décor.

Fast forward to 2011, and we’ve created a version that’s seriously easy to make – it took less than an hour to turn out half a dozen rag balls.  It’s a very forgiving process, too, and any imperfections just add to the charm.  You can purchase new fabrics, or channel your inner pioneer and use leftover fabric scraps or repurpose old clothing to make these decorative spheres.

This is a great project for the kids, too, and who knows, maybe you can even slip in a little history lesson.

Here’s what you need to make Patriotic Rag Balls:

  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam: 4” ball (or size of your choice)
  • Fabrics: assorted colors and patterns (new, leftover or repurposed)
  • Tools: Cutting mat and rotary cutter OR scissors; straight pins; low temperature glue gun & glue sticks OR thick white craft glue

To make Patriotic Rag Balls:

1. Roll foam ball on a hard surface, gently compressing it so that it’s slightly uneven in places.  (This step is optional.  When making rag balls, I prefer an imperfect sphere, which is achieved by slightly rolling and compressing the ball.  If you’d rather have a perfectly round sphere, that’s o.k., too, and you can skip this step.)

Heritage craft: patriotic rag balls
Keep wrapping till the ball is covered!

2. Cut fabrics into ½” strips.  (Rag balls are very forgiving, and your fabric strips don’t have to be precisely cut and measured.)

3. Place a dab of glue on end of a fabric strip, adhere to the ball and start wrapping.  When done, glue remaining end to ball.  Repeat, adding more fabric strips till the ball is covered.  If using white craft glue, use pins to hold
strips in place till glue dries.  Once glue dries, you can remove any pins that are visible.

Super easy!

We’ll have more patriotic crafts next week, and don’t forget to check out our new Summer Craft Boredom Buster on Wednesdays.  This week, our Boredome Buster kid’s craft includes a giveaway for a Solar System craft kit!  Check it out, leave a comment, and you might win the Solar System craft kit.  You can also enter our giveaway by posting a photo of your summertime craft project on our Facebook page.

Till next week.  Happy crafting!


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Deco Spheres, Home Decor, Kid's Crafts, Recycle Crafts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Crafty Tutorial: Quick & easy Patriotic Rag Balls celebrate July 4th

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  4. KJ says:

    My father passed a year ago and he had bandana of many colors a lot of them were worn so I cut them up and pressed the edges into the Styrofoam ball and made a calico look with an old cowboy hat that my sister and I used for one of the many memorials that we set up for his Celebration of Life. Now we both have little memento that we have displayed in different ways.

    This is also a great craft for little fingers to help with to keep them busy during the summer. Thanks for all the ideals.

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you so much for stopping in and sharing such special memories. I’m glad you and your sister thought of a creative way to celebrate his life, and remember him. Sharon

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  6. hollybertone says:

    Hi Sharon – I see these kind of balls in all of the catalogs – how wonderful you can make them yourself! Thank you for joining our Patriot’s Palooza party and Happy Memorial Day! Hugs, Holly

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks, Holly. This is an easy one for everybody, and I love that kids can learn a little about history when they make them. Sharon

  7. Organized 31 says:

    So festive and I can see whipping a bunch of these up in the evening while watching my favorite show. Thanks for sharing at the Patriots Palooza Link Party.

  8. Louise says:

    Great idea from the past I had forgotten about. Thanks.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Having made lots of rag balls as a kid, for my mother to crochet in to rugs, I can tell you that these would look much more authentic if the fabric were torn instead of cut. You can also sew the strips together, and use one or two straight pins to start and end your strips in the styrofoam.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for your comment and for your suggestion to rip the fabric strips. I’ll bet your mom’s rugs were beautiful; what a great memory. Sharon

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