Vintage Patriotic Vignettes with Unexpected Items

Decorate a patriotic vintage style vignette using unexpected items you already have around your home! Check out these affordable ideas below.

Love to decorate for all the patriotic holidays but on a tight budget? Or not loving the mass-produced decor in stores? Check out these 7 ways to bring that red, white and blue style to your home using unexpected items you probably already have!

7 creative ways to decorate patriotic vignettes

We all collect different items in our homes, based on what we love, what we collect, what's been handed down to us, etc. You may not have any of the items I've listed below, but take a look around your home and use what you DO have! Use my ideas as a jumping off point to springboard your own creativity and put together your own unique patriotic vignettes!

Tips to keep in mind:

  1. Your home is your own, decorate with what you love!
  2. Almost anything red, white and blue can work in a patriotic vignette
  3. Walk around your home and look for items that maybe you've never thought to use as decor!
  4. Keep an open mind, challenge yourself not to spend any money but use what you already have

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1. Vintage dishes

I've been collecting vintage dishes for several years now and have a very nice collection. I mostly look for white ironstone and blue and white transferware when I'm out thrifting.

When creating a patriotic vignette, grab those red, white and/or blue dishes from the depths of your hutch or china cabinet and use them as decor! Don't these vintage teacups look pretty set within a frame, surrounded by red geraniums.

Maybe you don't have vintage white dishes but you own some Rae Dunn pieces. Just turn them so the words face backwards, as I did with this pitcher, and you have the same look!

Try stacking vintage dishes or teacups in an unexpected way, they even look great in a basket!

2. Old chair spindles

I've been making my own 'chippy spindles' for years, and they all started as a curbside chair and old crib rail that I've cut up and chippy-ed myself for free! If you want to know exactly how I do it, you can see my easy chippy paint technique here. Last year I painted a few small red, white and blue spindles just for patriotic decor. The addition of a little hand stamped tag using alphabet stamps and permanent black ink and a homespun fabric tie adds the perfect patriotic touch.

You can tuck a few chippy spindles anywhere! Inside mason jars, tied in a bundle, or add a few to a tiered tray.

3. Scrap fabric

If you're like me and have a drawer full of scrap fabric, grab some blue and red scraps and make DIY flags. These ones have the cutest little flag poles made from a dowel rod and wood bead. You can coffee stain the fabric if you want more of a primitive, vintage look. For more details on making and displaying scrap fabric flags, click here.

Designer tip: for instant patriotic decor, tuck a flag into a plant! Use handmade flags or the store-bought mini flags!


4. Paint and dollar store wood pieces

It's very easy to create a rustic and weathered American flag using paint and wood pieces from the dollar store. The finished wood flag is sturdy and can stand by itself. For details on making a dollar store wood flag, click here. This one cost me $5 to make! It's a great piece for layering with your other patriotic pieces, but can stand alone as a shelf sitter as well.

5. Baseballs

Got any old baseballs gathering dust in the garage? Put them to use in your patriotic decor! Baseballs are quintessentially American and summer. They are such a fun and unexpected item to use when creating Americana vignettes, and the dirtier and more weathered, the better!

Stack baseballs in a dough bowl, pile them in a cloche or simply sprinkle them around your vignette. They will add patriotic charm and a little unexpected surprise!

6. Painted bottles

Last year I found a set of 6 small glass milk bottles in a wood crate on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I painted the bottles, added a Santa tag and tied red ticking ribbon around the rims. You can see how I made the Christmas bottles here. I simply turned them backwards and added a few of the white bottles to my patriotic display. They resemble vintage milk bottles, another item that was so common back in the day. Tuck a flag into the bottles, add them to a pedestal stand, or simply use to fill in dead space in a vignette! Can't find the bottles? Recycle your Starbucks glass bottle!

7. Old books

Stacks of old books can add interesting layers and patina to your vintage vignettes! For a unexpected twist, I removed a drawer from my painted dresser and lined up a series of old books, with their grubby pages facing out. Any hard cover books can be grungied up and patinaed using coffee or tea stain to give them the look of age. Let me know in the comments if you'd like a tutorial on exactly how to do this!

Designer Tips:

  1. layer your vignette for more interest
  2. add texture in the form of wood, metal, baskets, etc
  3. add in some antique or old books
  4. if you need a neutral backdrop, do what I did. Glue 6 Dollar Tree vintage 'metal' tiles to a piece of MDF or plywood and paint with white chalk paint. It's lightweight, easy to move, and creates an instant background to a vignette.

I would love to know which of these unexpected ideas sparked your interest?

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  1. I love every idea! Especially the tea cups and baseballs! And the backdrop with painted tin is genius as well. Happy summer friend. It all looks so festive and fun.

    1. Thank you Cindy! I was excited to find a bag of baseballs at the thrift store last summer!


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