- Paper straws. I bought mine from Dollar Tree. One pack of 18 straws was enough for my piece, but if you make yours bigger, then you may need a second pack.
- Glue. I used Elmer’s glue, but hot glue or other glues should also work
- Frame of some sort. I used a small wood frame from Michaels, but you could also use other items. Maybe something more rectangular would be even better.
- Ribbon and other items to decorate your piece with.
- Optional: resin to seal it and make it smooth. I did not do this with my piece, but I thought about it.
I decided to leave my wooden container the natural wood color, but you could paint or stain it if you wish. I recommend painting or staining your container first if you choose to do so. For my small container, one pack of 18 straws was enough to fill it.
I started out by measuring my wooden piece. It was a little over 4 inches wide. Since I wanted my blue straws to go a little less than half the width of the piece, I cut them down to 2 inches. For my particular piece I used a total of 9 two-inch-long blue straws. I was able to get 3 two-inch pieces out of one straw with a little extra left over. So, I used 3 blue straws in total for my piece. For the stripes I used a total of 9 straws. I measured and cut the longer section, where there was no blue straw, first. I then used the extra from the straw to cut the smaller section, where the blue straw took up almost half the space.
I used a pair of scissors to cut the straws. The straws were very sturdy, but cut easily. I measured the short blue straw pieces with my ruler. I made each of these 2 inches long. I then used the container to help me measure the strip straws. I could have also used the ruler for this. I laid the straw where I wanted it and cut where it hit the other side of the wall of my container. This is another way to determine where to cut each straw. This method was good when lining the stripe and blue straws, since I did not cut all of them completely even.
Once you have all of your straw pieces cut, it is time to assemble and glue them down. I laid all of my straws inside my piece first to make sure I had enough to fill my container. You could lay your straws in a random pattern, but I thought it looked nice to line them up with each other. I glued my first long strip straw down first, by applying a line of Elmer’s glue along the bottom of my wooden container. I then applied a second line of Elmer’s glue next to the first straw. When placing this second straw I tried to line up the stripes with the first straw. I continued with this until I finished all of my longer striped pieces. I then decided to glue down the smaller striped pieces and continued to match up the stripes as I went.
Next, I glued down the short blue straws. Since I cut these pieces out of the same straws, they did not line up as well. It also makes a difference which way the straw is facing because the stars are angled. If I thought about this before I cut my straws, then I probably could have made the stars line up better, but I think it still turned out okay. If it is too much trouble to try and line up the stars, then you could also just make a random pattern with the stars.
I thought about adding resin on top of the glued down straws. This would make a nice smooth layer over the straws, and ensure the straws were secured into place. If you wanted to make drink coasters out of these pieces, then this step would be necessary. The resin would protect the straws from the water condensation.
To finish off my piece I added a bow and glued it to the bottom corner of my piece. I even added a little raffia to give some more contrast and texture to the bow. You could also add small flags, flowers, or other decorative pieces. I attached my bow with hot glue.
I like how this piece turned out, and it was relatively cheap and easy to make. This could be a great little gift to give to someone as a thank you for hosting an event, or to just add a little extra décor to your home or a tier tray. I like the drink coaster idea for these as well. I think next time I would pick a wood frame that was more rectangular, that way it looked more like a flag. I would love to see what patriotic pieces you made this year.