If you’re looking for a fun yet fashionable DIY project for one of the most patriotic days of the year, check out Art In Our Blood blogger Jennifer Wang’s custom American flag clutch, complete with studs and fringe for an edgy and season-friendly look. This is a great project to try at your next 4th of July party or with a few close friends a day or two before. The materials are not only environmentally conscious to use, but aren’t too difficult to obtain (think: two paper shopping bags, masking tape, a pair of scissors and a few paint tubes or any leftover craft items you have laying around).

Jennifer decided to style hers with red, white and dark blue acrylic paint (for a “quick dry”), fringe and studs, which she applied and affixed with paintbrushes and a hot glue gun. You can either take a cue from her, or just be led by your creative juices and see what unique creation can be manifested. If you have any favorite 4th of July or summer DIY’s, feel free to share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear all about them!

For a condensed step-by-step version of Jennifer’s bag, see instructions below – or get the full treatment on her blog here.

Version 1

1. Start off with a few paper shopping bags from your last shopping trip! You only need 2 per person, but the extras can be used as a surface for painting.

2. After cutting off the handles, flip the bag to its side and cut all along the middle crease.

3. Once you reach the end, cut along the bottom parts (left and right) of the crease. Repeat for the other side.

4. Once finished, the side pieces should be removed, and the bag should lay out in a “chunky I” shape.

5. Now cut off the bottom of the bag completely (make sure to save this for Version 2!). This should leave you with 2 large pieces and a small rectangular piece.

6. Gently crumble the two large pieces as so (be careful not to rip it!), getting the bag textured enough yet not so wrinkly that it will droop. To get smaller wrinkles, pull the paper back and forth along the table’s edge.

Line both pieces with handle parts facing each other, printed side up. Move one piece up until it hides the other piece’s handle, and tape together with masking tape. If your bag is like Jennifer’s, with an indent at the top, secure it with extra tape to prevent breakage.

7. Flip the bag over and tape down the flap on the other side. What Jennifer did was roll up her masking tape into double-sided tape and secure the flap from underneath.

8. Now fold your bag into thirds, with the printed side facing inside – but make sure the final fold is smaller than the rest. This is because this fold will become the V-shaped envelope flat later on. It’s up to you how long you want to make this flap, but note it will affect the aesthetic outcome of the bag.

Version 2

1. Repeat steps 1-5 from Version 1, except now you will be working with the bottom piece.

2. Line up the bottom pieces for both bags on top of the Version 1 bag, with sides touching the creases (the highlighted green lines), and smaller sides aligned with Version 1’s original crease lines. These pieces will serve to reinforce the interior of the clutch.

3. Tape around the sides of each rectangular piece, and on the sides of Version 1 (make sure to fold the tape over so it reinforces the front and back).

4. Fold the outer flaps in along the bag’s original crease lines, which should align perfectly with the rectangles. Then, fold the bottom third over the center third.

5. Make sure to tape the inner edges of the fold to create the sides of the envelope clutch. This part is rather difficult so be sure to take your time here. Continue taping all the way to the end, and repeat on the other side.

6. The interior should look like this when finished!

7. Now flip the bag over and mark how you would like the flap to look like (Jennifer used a sharpie, but she recommends pencil to prevent mistakes!). She first marked the bottom edge, and then measured 2.5 inches down the top for the left and right side before connecting the dots with a ruler.

8. After cutting, fold down the raw edges and tape them down.

9. The completed clutch is now ready for decorating however you wish!

10. For Jennifer’s bag, she painted red and white stripes under the flap.

11. She then continued the stripes on one half of the flap to make it look like they continued all the way to the top. The other half, she painted it entirely dark blue before adding white stars. You can do the same for the back or leave it plain the way Jennifer did.

12. For studs, make sure to prep by pushing the legs in at a 180 degree angle. You can then use a hot glue gun to affix them onto the side of the flap as so.

13. For fringe, add hot glue all along the top length.

14. Flip the clutch over and affix all along the backside. The front should look like this when finished.

Pair with a fun, summery outfit like Jennifer’s nude wedges, crochet top and high-waisted shorts! This clutch works for 4th of July or for styling that Americana look on any other day of the year.

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