There are no expectations or standards higher for parties than in Los Angeles and we’ve seen them all.
From multi millionaire pool parties to backyard family BBQs, what we’ve learned is the simplest things fly for the 4th of July.
We did all of the work for you this 4th of July by creating a one stop post of the DIY party ideas we’ve seen at high profile events.
These twelve simple items are things even multi millionaires have at their party to pull off an epic, Instagram worthy 4th of July for the pickiest of crowds. What’s surprising is, many are things you either already have or normally throw out.
From table settings and decorations, easy ways to dress up your drinks and food, we covered it all. Everyone is going to want an invite to your party.
This is our personal go-to list of items that we use every year whether it’s just the two of us at home or a fireworks spectacular.
Even if it’s the night before America’s Birthday, there is still time to make it epic. Prepare to have photos of your party lighting up Instagram.
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1. Pop Rocks Candy
At even posh 4th of July Mansion parties Pop Rocks are sprinkled on cookies, cupcakes, cakes, popcorn, Jello, pudding, and anything else you can think of. They’re basically fireworks in your mouth! Put them on everything, they never get old.
Our personal favorite is when they’re used to coat the rim of glasses for drinks and cocktails. Forget the salt and sugar, coat the rims in Pop Rocks, even adults get a kick out of it. They come in both red and blue so it’s pretty simple to color coordinate with your drinks.
If someone eats them without knowing, it’s especially funny to see their reaction. You can even just give envelopes of Pop Rocks as a party favor alone.
They ALWAYS instantly transform ANY homemade OR store bought dish into a memorable patriotic treat. It’s quick and effortless. If you’re celebrating with kids, they’ll get a kick out of it too.
Although Pop Rocks is the candy of choice for most epic 4th of July parties, if those aren’t available, the next best option is Rice Krispies. The snap, crackle, pop they give off makes them perfect for firecracker holidays. You can make Rice Krispies treats of all kinds and even sprinkle Pop Rocks on them.
While Pop Rocks are a party for your mouth, sprinkles are a party for your eyes. Any common store bought treat suddenly looks customized and festive when you add sprinkles.
Roll store bought Ice Cream sandwiches in Patriotic sprinkles to make a ridiculously easy patriotic dessert. Add sprinkles to cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and desserts.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have Patriotic sprinkles on hand, here is our favorite hack: use white sugar, and red and blue food coloring to make your own. If the colored sugar is too damp, be sure to let it dry a bit so it’s easy to sprinkle.
We were able to decorate the cake above in 5 minutes by quickly piping frosting in a zigzag and sprinkling the colored sugar on top in a flag design. This could even work on a round or square cake..
With the it being an intimate small family gathering we just ate it straight from the pan!
3. Food Coloring
Food coloring is used at every exclusive country club in Southern CA for 4th of July food and decorations.
A drop or two is added to sugar, water, or rice to make bouquets or candle displays for easy Patriotic centerpieces that have impressed even the wealthiest.
Food coloring makes decorations that are easy to elegantly take a celebration from day to evening for dirt cheap.
Be sure to get water based food coloring rather than gel, it’s quicker and easier to mix in water.
You can have a centerpiece in literally under a minute with food coloring.
The results are amazing and cheap enough that they can be tossed after the celebration is over.
ANY food from savory to sweet can be made patriotic by adding a few drops of red or blue food coloring. It’s the oldest trick in the book and they use it all of the time.
We can go a little crazy with it but all you need is a couple of dishes…and there are plenty to choose from.
We color pasta by soaking it in red and blue colored water for a few minutes after cooking. You can also color foods like:
- cookies and cakes
- ice cream
If you can’t add food coloring then choose foods that already come appropriately colored like Jello and pasta sauce.
3. Mason Jars
Mason jars are an American staple that you can use for :
- drinking glasses
- and decorations.
They look ADORABLE at BBQs and outdoor celebrations and instantly add a hometown all-American feel to any event.
On the 4th of July mason jars are used at even the fanciest celebrations without the risk of looking tacky. They’re so versatile and make beautiful votives and instant centerpieces or table decorations. When you add food coloring, they look all the more beautiful.
Add food coloring to Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge and brush on Mason Jars for a sea glass effect.
If you want the finish more pearlized like the image below, add a little metallic pigment to the mix (or an old metallic eyeshadow). We did this at a rooftop pool party and it looked gorgeous!
You can paint Mason jars with acrylics too. Just stars or even a whole flag theme will do the trick. They’re an eye catching, Instagram worthy, item.
You can even glue a flag on them or star cut outs for a beautiful patriotic votive. They’re so versatile and so American, while being budget friendly.
4. Cookie Cutters
Cookie cutters work magic! Aside from shaping cookies, cookie cutters can be used to instantly make ANY dish not only look patriotic but gourmet.
You’ll find star shaped foods at most celebrity celebrations (even the Kardashians’)
Use a star cookie cutter to cut shapes out of:
- vegetables like cucumbers
- lunch meats for salads, platters, and sandwiches.
You can also use cookie cutters as stencils to trace paper cut outs and decorations. They’re an effortless way to kick your party up a notch or two.
We love using it on fruit like watermelon, apples, pears, and melons for fruit salad, and to garnish fruit water or sangria.
Red, white, and blue star shaped fruit looks adorable floating in people’s drinks. If you use clear plastic cups or glasses, it’ll turn each person’s drink into a walking decoration that everyone wants.
Make an impressive fruit platter using a star shaped cookie cutter to hold the dip or even the fruit.
Don’t forget the American pie! Make those flag worthy crust designs.
If little ones are at your celebration they’ll be more inclined to eat whatever is in a patriotic shape.
Sometimes it’s best to use nature’s candy. Fruit is a 4th of July staple that’s offered at most posh celebrations because it’s a good healthy alternative to dessert that’s also perfectly colored! Fruit can be used for nearly every food dish from sweet to savory at your 4th of July celebration.
Use fruits such as:
to add a 4th of July theme to even the most basic drinks.
You can add fruit to create a Patriotic look for dishes you never thought you could. Even savory dishes like salads and cheeses pair well with fruit.
Fruit adds a fresh summer look to sweet treats ( also a few antioxidants) and can be used to easily spice up an otherwise boring dessert. For some reason when you put fruit on otherwise sugary desserts they look more healthy.
Cakes from the most upscale bakeries are decorated with fruit on the 4th of July. It instantly gives any cake a gourmet look and requires no food coloring.
Like we said earlier you can use cookie cutters to cut shapes into fruit and serve them in a multitude of ways. Serve them on Skewers or in ice cream cones to eliminate the need for utensils and plates, it will also give each guest a portion controlled serving that looks adorable and professionally catered.
With its bold red and blue colors, fruit on it’s own is festive! Just put your red, white, and blue fruit of choice in a bowl. It doesn’t take much.
A trendy Patriotic adult treat we’ve seen a lot is alcohol soaked fruit! People soak fruit such as:
6. Pool Floaties
Most millionaire 4th of July parties that have a pool utilize pool floaties but not just in the traditional way. We’ve seen floaties like pool noodles used for decoration and utility.
At a Playboy mansion party they used pool noodles around tubs to create floating coolers for drinks. You can also use a pool floaty to make a wreath.
We’re not sure if this technically classifies as a floaty, but another common pool decoration we’ve seen is colored balloons floating in the pool.
7. Christmas Ornaments
It’s Christmas in July…sort of. Bust out those Christmas ornaments because they can double as amazing 4th of July decorations!
At posh banquet events and fireworks spectaculars we’ve seen gorgeous Patriotic decorations made out of what most would classify as Christmas ornaments. Red, Blue, and silver/white balls make beautiful wreaths, or garland.
We’ve seen patriotic colored balls hung in random places such as trees and gates that doubled as great party photo back drops.
Glass containers filled with Patriotic ornaments and even Christmas lights are on tables and mantels making adorable Instagram worthy indoor/outdoor decor. You could throw this together in minutes.
Don’t leave out the Christmas tree lights especially if you have white or red ones. You can use them on your own or add them to any Christmas decorations for an after dark celebration.
8. Glow Sticks
When the sun goes down and you’re waiting for the fireworks to start that’s where glow sticks come in.
Glow sticks are used at nearly every night time event…especially nightclub parties. They’re cheap, disposable, and require zero electricity so they’re great around the pool.
Glow sticks are way more versatile than you think. Throw them in your pool or ice chest, put them in balloons, tape them to your tiered platters, or cut them open and pour in your bubble solution.
Use one or two glow sticks per 5 ounces of bubble solution. Just keep in mind that you have to snap the glow stick before cutting it open and adding it to the solution. The glowing effect lasts as long as a cracked glow stick normally does so you can’t make these the night before.
Night time holidays like 4th of July, are what glow sticks were made for.
9. Cans and Plastic Cups
Don’t throw out your cans or plastic cups, they’re useful!
For a fireworks spectacular at a movie studio we used cans wrapped in paper to make a tiered display for desserts. One of our favorites at the same party was beer served in a cake shape for guests to grab.
Paint or decorate food cans to hold everything from utensils, to napkins to platters. We’ve seen coffee cans painted and decorated with red and white streamers for patio decor.
A can can be made into a Patriot hat for your table or mantle.
At one Beverly Hills Country club we saw cans used as beautiful votives on tables and lining the patio.
They’re best at pool parties instead of glass votives because they’re durable and shatter resistant so they can be placed on the floor or tables without any safety concerns.
They can easily be customized, we love to sprinkle them with glitter. They look absolutely gorgeous and cost next to nothing.
Plastic Solo cups are used at nearly every pool party but we don’t only use them for drinking.
Turn your cups upside down and poke a hole in the bottom for a clever sparkler guard for kids or put them on Christmas lights for fun outdoor lighting.
We love decorating with cans and cups because it cuts back on waste.
It’s AMAZING what you can easily do with excess party supplies and a little imagination. So have some fun with your solo cups and don’t worry, you won’t look cheap.
10. DIY Apothecary Jars & Tiered Trays
Apothecary jars and tiered trays add a level of elegance and dimension to 4th of July spreads.
Don’t have any? They’re easy and cheap to DIY. We often make disposable tiered trays out of foam boards and stack them with glue or tape to liquor bottles or painted cans. You can also make permanent ones.
Fill apothecary jars with red/white/blue ornaments, colored rice, candy, paper shreds, or even beans. It’s the most effortless decoration that doesn’t look lazy.
Use DIY tiered trays to display watermelon triangles, fruit, salads, desserts, and anything else you’ll be serving up.
These will also be useful year round for all holidays and seasons. They make great mantel decor.
Our personal hack: tape a glow in the dark glowstick necklace around each tier for a night time display.
11. Good Old American Flags
It just wouldn’t be a 4th of July celebration with atleast one American flag.
At upscale events and mansion parties they’re used anywhere and EVERYWHERE, in vases, glued on mason jars for easy votives, on a wall for a photo backdrop, or chalk drawn on driveways or front yards.
They make elegant and easy table arrangements and centerpieces and can be created in so many different ways on so many different things.
The rich and famous love giving out flag themed apparel as party favors so all their guests can look patriotic.
If you don’t have traditional American flags, you can always improvise. Give kids something to do by painting them on:
- popsicle sticks
- jars and cans
- or even finger nails
We personally love making flag designs on food. It’s the ultimate symbol of America and everything it stands for.
12. Photo Booths and Props
The days of Instagram have gotten so bad that when people aren’t taking pictures is when you need to worry, that’s where photo booths and props come in. They’ll almost guarantee and subliminally encourage people to pull out their phones.
We have made some super easy yet amazing photo booths and back drops for parties using only a cheap dollar store plastic table cloth on an outside wall with fake flowers, balloons, or decorations attached to the top. The total cost was under $5.
Pets are far from items but if you have a people friendly pet who loves attention, use them at your celebration for a photo prop. The most popular photo props are pets.Add a little patriotic bow, tie, hankerchief, hair band, ribbon, or dye their hair. Not only will your pet get all of the attention it wants but your guests will be waiting in line for a picture. Just be sure to follow responsible pet owner guidelines if you’re having fireworks.
If you don’t have fireworks (or a good view of them) each guest can become a fireworks display. Sparklers are found at most east coast celebrity 4th of July celebrations. They’re absolutely gorgeous and luckily super cheap but before buying sparklers please check your local fireworks laws or get the appropriate permits. They’re not legal in every state.
That concludes our list of super easy tricks to make any 4th of July celebration epic.
These items make it easy enough to throw together an intimate celebration for two but are nice enough to use at your most extravagant event.
They’re crowd pleasers no matter what type of crowd or venue we’re entertaining. Whether it’s a celebrity mansion party or a country backyard bbq, they’ve impressed them all.
We hope we’ve helped you toast America in style. Let us know how these tips worked for you.
Happy 4th of July!
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