The Best Homemade 4th of July Patriotic Decorations

I love the 4th of July, and I wanted more patriotic decorations for our home. So I made this pillow with stars and machine embroidery!

What’s more American than the 4th of July? A day filled with family, friends, picnics, and fireworks! If you want to add some extra patriotic flair to your celebrations this year, try making some of your decorations. This project was easy and could be made on a pillow cover, napkin, or tablecloth.

The Best Homemade 4th of July Patriotic Decor
You Made that?

How to Make Your Own Patriotic Decorations

4th of July Homemade Pillow

The 4th of July will be here in a few weeks! It’s time to start thinking about patriotic decor, so I thought I would share one of my favorite patriotic decorations. This free-stitch embroidery pillow was simple and very fun to make.

What is Free-Motion embroidery?

Free-motion machine embroidery is a type of sewing that you do on a regular sewing machine. You can move the material in any direction while sewing it on your machine. Normally, when you sew, the machine automatically moves the fabric forward.

When you sew free-motion embroidery, you can move the fabric to determine precisely where you want to sew. You can move sideways, forward, backward, and create any shape you want. Like a star! All you need is a quilting foot.

The Best Homemade 4th of July Decorations

The free-motion quilting foot, sometimes called a darning foot, is designed so that the sewing machine needle passes through a small ring on the foot. Instead of hopping, these feet float over the fabric without providing pressure.  The Foot releases the fabric when the needle is up, allowing you to move the fabric freely.

All you need is the free motion foot for your machine. This foot may vary depending on the type of machine, but I linked a “universal” one.

I read a lot about lowering the “feed dogs” on your machine when stitching free-motion embroidery. Feed dogs are the little teeth on your sewing machine that feed your fabric evenly through the machine. These teeth are essential because they help us produce perfectly spaced, even stitches whenever we sew garments, piece quilts, or applique shapes on our machine. Most people recommend that you lower the feed dogs for free-motion embroidery.

I lowered the feed dogs using a lever on my machine for this pillow. It worked perfectly.

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How to Make a Patriotic Decorations Pillow

Free Motion Embroidery 4th of July Pillow

What You Need to Make a Free Motion Embroidery Pillow

20×20 Pillow Cover

Acrylic paints and brush

Star Cookie Cutter or Star Cookie Cutter Set (I used a 3″ cutter.)

Dark Embroidery thread spool (navy or black)

Parchment paper or cardboard to fit inside the pillow while painting (so the paint won’t seep through)

Free motion quilting foot for your machine (varies by sewing machine brand)

The Best Homemade 4th of July Patriotic Decorations Materials List

How to Make a Free Motion Embroidery Stitch Pillow

Place a piece of parchment paper or cardboard inside the pillow to prevent the paint from leaking.

Choose your color palette and place the paints on paper plates. Feel free to mix the colors, creating a more cohesive color palette.

Mixing Paint for the 4th of July Craft

Measure the star and determine how to pay out the stars on the pillow. I use a mat with 1″ squares as a measuring tool.

Ikea Pillow Cover

Dip the cookie cutter in a flat pile of paint and use it as a stamp to lay out the design. I alternated the colors, but you can do this any way you want.

The Best Homemade 4th of July Patriotic Pillow Decorations

Continue stamping the pillow with the cookie cutter until done.

Stamped Patriotic Stars for 4th of July Pillow

Paint the stars on the pillow. I used two shades of red and blue on each star to create a shadow effect. Don’t worry about painting perfectly; the stitching will add detail.

Painting the Star Pillow

You can see below that many of the stars are very “loose” and not perfectly painted.

I painted all of the stars and let them dry. I put my pillow out in the sun to dry it faster.

Painted Stars on a Pillow

Begin stitching a very loose star pattern on top of each star. It doesn’t have to be exact, stitch two rounds of stitching on each star. Since I used an already-made pillow cover, I opened it up and stitched each star carefully, ensuring that I did not sew the underside of the pillow cover. It’s not hard, I promise!

How to Free Stitch Embroidery

This is an excellent photo of the difference between the painted only and the painted and stitched stars.

Painted and Stitched Pillow

Here is the completed pillow. You can see how I did not stitch these perfectly. I love how it looks more basic and handmade when it is not perfect!

Finished Star Painted and Stitched Pillow

Frequently Asked Questions

What is free-motion stitch embroidery?

Free-motion machine embroidery is a type of sewing you do on a regular sewing machine. You can move the material in any direction while sewing it on your machine. Usually, when you sew, the machine automatically moves the fabric forward. When you sew free-motion embroidery, you can move the fabric to determine precisely where you want to sew. You can move sideways, forward, or backward, creating any shape you want. All you need is a quilting foot.

How do you do free-motion embroidery?

Use medium-heavy fabric for free-motion embroidery. Attach the darning foot to your machine and lower the feed dogs. (The feed dog moves your fabric forward. If you lower it, you can move the fabric in any direction.)
Sew your design two times so the stitching is more predominant. DO NOT try to sew perfectly. It’s so easy; don’t worry if you make a mistake here and there. It looks better that way.

Can you do free-motion embroidery on any machine?

Yes, you can sew free-motion embroidery using a regular sewing machine. You will want to use a darning foot and lower the feed dogs to allow you to move the fabric in any direction you want.

The Best Red, White & Blue Decor!


Look at the Pillows I Have Made

In the past year or so, I have made quite a few Free-Stitch Embroidery projects, including pillows, placemats, and coasters.

Watch My Amazon Live

Click here to watch any of my Amazon Live shows. All shows are recorded.

I thought you might enjoy this Amazon Live Show, where I share the 4th of July Decor Ideas for Your Home.

Click here to watch the show anytime.

Creative Patriotic Decor DIY Ideas

I joined some blogging friends of mine, and here are some more creative Patriotic Decorations you can make yourself.

Tatertots and Jello

Terra Cotta Star Herb Planters

Paint inexpensive terra cotta plants and add natural wood stars to add understated patriotic flair to your home this summer! 

The DIY Mommy

Make a Canada Day S’mores Caddy

This Canada Day S’mores caddy makes a great gift for a host, and it’s also a fantastic addition to your own festive outdoor celebration! Personalize an inexpensive metal caddy with a patriotic design, fill it with marshmallows and all the goodies you love with your s’mores, and enjoy it with friends and family.

Happy Happy Nester

How to Make a Paper Pinwheel

Here is how to make paper pinwheels out of paper. This step-by-step tutorial shows how to make this simple paper craft project. You can use scrapbooking paper or buy digital paper on Etsy. And finish it off with either a wooden dowel or a tree branch from your garden. The results are so cute.

You can pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner) or follow me on Pinterest!

A pillow decorated with red, white, and blue stars, accompanied by the text "The Best Homemade 4th of July Patriotic Decorations.

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  1. Leslie,
    This is adorable. I shared a patriotic pillow this past week as well. I’d like to share a link to your pillow on my Sunday, Dirt Road Adventures. It will give folks another option. I hope that’s ok.

  2. I have loved all your pillows as you’ve created them with each new season or holiday but figured as cute as they were the process was beyond any of my sewing abilities—I can barely sew a straight line! But you got me at DO NOT sew perfectly! So I’m going to bite the bullet and give it a whirl. I’ve got the needed presser foot in my Amazon cart and need to figure out that feed dog thing and then give it a try Think I’ll aim for the Christmas pillow . 😉🤞

  3. I am so excited to take this idea to my Sister’s House for a fun crafting afternoon. We DO NOT have a sewing machine, so was wondering if using a fine permanent ink pen would be an good alternative to the beautiful embroidery???

    1. Bev-
      Crafty minds think alike! I use acrylic fine tip paints for other crafting projects and they can work on fabrics.

      Was thinking of doing the same!

  4. Hi Leslie, did you use a special kind of thread or just regular sewing thread? Love all of your seasonal hand made pillows! Such fun! Thanks!

  5. Hello! I have scrutinized your painted pillows and they appear to have a narrow flange along the border. I cannot find these canvas covers on Amazon. Can you perhaps help? I find many simple unflanged covers but none like your decorated versions. Many thanks, Elle

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