I know what you’re thinking: how can you recycle patriotic decorations? There’s not much variety AND there’s not much selection. You can really only use a sign with “Happy Fourth of July” once a year. Srsly.

Okay, so you’re not wrong. But if you avoid decorations with a specific holiday’s name printed on it, you can get a lot more usage out of it. Read on for more tips on recycling those patriotic decorations!

NOTE: This article is part of a series that discusses ways to recycle, repurpose, and reuse party supplies to make your events easy and affordable.

Sourcing Your Supplies

If you’re wondering why this article has a generic title of “American Patriotic” instead of a specific holiday like the other articles, let’s face it: there are many patriotic holidays and they all use the same themes and colors. Consider the most celebrated ones:

  • Presidents’ Day (February)
  • Memorial Day (May)
  • Flag Day (June)
  • Independence Day (July)
  • Labor Day (September)
  • Veterans’ Day (November)

YEP, those American holidays get around. Like, all year-round.

All this can be a very good thing for you. It means that something with a design of the American flag, for instance, already has multiple events where it can be utilized without you even having to get creative. That doesn’t happen often, so embrace it!

You can also repurpose these decorations like other seasonal stuff, so hit the sales racks and clearance aisles right before the holiday and immediately after to get things cheap. The big box stores tend to have the most selection, but you can also try the party stores and small corner pharmacies (ex: Walgreen’s, CVS, etc.). I have not yet seen a patriotic-themed chain of stores like there are for Christmas and Halloween, which means the above are your best bet.

TIP: For more help on how to shop clearance, see our article How Do I Shop Clearance?.

Something else I’ve noticed that seems particular to patriotic holidays: the amount of themed clothing. There’s a lot of it (or maybe that’s just living in the South). If you see a shirt, hat, socks, etc., that you think you can repurpose and it’s marked down a lot, get it. You can always cut out the design and frame it OR stick it whole on a stuffed animal. For those of you that are super crafty, you can also turn the designs into garlands, pillow cases, placemats / table runners… you get the idea!

NOTE: For really random decorations, adult-sized large / extra-large t-shirts make good chair covers. Just tuck the sleeves in. This works fine for informal events like family reunions and camp-outs; please don’t do this for something formal like a wedding. (Someone is reading this right now and considering it for their wedding, and I’m already both sorry and curious.)


American patriotic decor is full of red, blue, white, and silver, which complement these events:

  • Family Reunions
  • Children’s Birthday Parties
  • Superhero Parties
  • Nautical Parties
  • Circus Parties
  • Other Holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, etc.)

Bold, primary colors are great for happy, bright occasions where you need that extra pop of energy and visual stimulation. These colors don’t quietly discuss; they talk loudly and laugh often. Good themes that coordinate with these colors are retro diner, summer / vacation, stripes, childhood wonder, etc.


Stars, stripes, and fireworks are such celebratory symbols. Just thinking about them make me smile.


I love stars and they are one of my favorite shapes. To me they imply bright-eyed wonder and can represent anything from outer space to Hollywood. While most of the star designs at this time are silver, don’t forget that you can spray paint a star-shaped object with a different color like gold, pink, etc. And if you do it all with glitter? Sparkly success.


Because stripes. Stripes go with everything! And thanks to our American flag, you can find tons of red and white striped items around these holidays. Stripes are a great basic, but they will work especially well with picnics, circus tents, candy canes, and retro themes. You could even use them for a barber shop theme, CUTE.


Fireworks do represent mostly patriotic celebrations, but you might also think of them in terms of New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, or celebrating a win (Olympics and other sports events, superheroes saving the day, etc.). I’ve even seen them used in conjunction with unicorns and robots. They can also double for rockets shooting off into space and other explosions. Kaboom, you are a rockstar.

I’m off to enjoy some barbecue before I scour the clearance section. Need that protein to keep my energy up. Are cupcakes protein? Better have one, too, just in case. 😉

Happy eventing!