Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Fourth of July cupcakes

by: Chica

Fourth of July cupcakes
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July 4th is just a few days away, and I’m anxious to celebrate our nation’s birthday with a fun, long weekend. My party planning is wrapping up, and I think I’ve got all the bases covered. Cute decorations? Check! A fun game for the kids? Check! The last thing left to figure out was some fun stars-and-stripes dessert. I knew I wanted to serve cupcakes, and I had a new idea for how to decorate them — I’ve invented Cupcake Collars! I did a practice run over the weekend and I was amazed at how a couple of simple decorating techniques resulted in such spectacular cupcakes.

The first thing to do, of course, was bake the cupcakes. I used with a fun trick for making the cake come out in multiple colors. I’ve seen this tip online a few times lately, and most recently from our friend The Crafty Chica (no relation). You just mix food coloring into bowls of cake batter and then spoon it randomly into the cupcake liners and bake. Of course I used red, white, and blue for this occasion.

Fourth of July cupcakesFourth of July cupcakes

While the cupcakes are baking, let’s talk about the Cupcake Collars. These are fun designs in PDF format that you print and cut out. Each one has a hole in the middle, where the cupcake will go. We have four different collar designs for Independence Day — a red, white and blue star, a red fireworks burst, a USA flag, and a blue ring of stars.

Fourth of July Cupcake CollarsFourth of July Cupcake Collars

Fourth of July Cupcake CollarsFourth of July Cupcake Collars

These Fourth of July designs (and many more!) are available at our dedicated site, where you can purchase the PDF for less than a dollar. Then you can print each PDF as many times as you like and make an unlimited number of collars.

But because we love you, our loyal Chica and Jo readers, we’re offering one of the Fourth of July designs here, for free! Find out which one at the end of this post.

Here are the simple steps to follow to dress up your cupcakes with these collars:

Start by purchasing our PDF design templates from, then print out as many copies as you need onto white cardstock. If you want to get multiple uses out of your collars (you did spend all that time cutting them out, after all), you may want to go ahead and laminate them. You can do this before cutting them out (which will leave the very edges exposed) or after (which will mean cutting them out again, but will enclose the edges). Laminating is really easy with simple laminating sheets or for even better results, use a thermal laminator machine (Jo loves hers and uses it all the time).

Once your collars are printed and laminated, just cut them out with regular scissors. Cut out the circles in the middle too.

Fourth of July cupcakes

Once the cupcakes are cool, you can slip each one into one of the collars. The cupcake should fit right inside the hole that you cut out.

Fourth of July cupcakesFourth of July cupcakes

To secure the collars in place, put a couple small pieces of ordinary household tape underneath.

Fourth of July cupcakesFourth of July cupcakes

Aren’t they starting to look neat?

Fourth of July cupcakesFourth of July cupcakes

Now that the collars are in place, we can frost the cupcakes. Here you can use any frosting technique you like, but I used my favorite swirled frosting technique that I’ve told you about before, which involves painting some food coloring gel paste onto the inside of the bags. I used a giant decorator’s tip and piped big swirls of buttercream onto each cupcake. Love it!

Fourth of July cupcakesFourth of July cupcakes

Fourth of July cupcakes

Oh, and I can’t forget to show you how the insides look with the swirled batter. Isn’t that neat?

Fourth of July cupcakes

Now that the cupcakes are done, here’s the design I promised for free! It’s a black-and-white, outline version of our “star” and “burst” designs. You can print this directly onto colored card stock which lets you make them in any color and helps save on printer ink. Enjoy!

Burst and star outline Cupcake Collars

Download our Burst/Star Outline template

To get the rest of these fun designs (and many more!) please visit

Fourth of July cupcakes
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15 comments so far:

  • 1
    pie 06/30/2009 at 8:13 am

    super cute! i am curious about whether you recommend laminating the collars before you cut them out, or after–seems like you’d have to cut them out again after laminating them. if so, maybe an exacto knife is the key?

    we have a laminator at home, and we use it to print out (NERD ALERT!) Dungeons & Dragons power cards. we print a bunch out on one sheet and then cut them out. they delaminate very slightly sometimes, but it’s much easier than cutting them all out and then laminating each smaller piece, and i think it saves laminating plastic too.

  • 2
    Chica 06/30/2009 at 8:38 am

    Hi pie. Very good point! Laminating them before cutting them out will definitely save you some time, but the very edges of the collars will be exposed. Laminating them after cutting them out will take care of the edges and provide a better seal, but like you said, you’ll have to cut them out again. Tough call! I’ve tweaked my directions above to mention both options for our readers.

  • 3
    Julie 06/30/2009 at 12:18 pm

    Ok, so I tried the swirl icing last night. It was my first time and I would have to say was a rough start (got too much food coloring in the bag because I didn’t have a paint brush, but after 3 cupcakes the icing looked wonderful. I didn’t think to buy blue to pair with the red and instead got pink. I wasn’t really thinking about doing the 4th of july cupcakes I just wanted to try it, but now I think I might. Also, I didn’t have normal cupcake liners and ended up using thanksgiving ones goes to show I wasn’t prepared!

    I guess for a test run on the cupcakes it wasn’t too bad of a try. Oh, one thing I was really glad I did was use turkey basters with the end off of it for filling the cupcake liners. I hate how messy things get when trying to spoon the batter in. Plus, I managed to get 28 cupcakes out of one box. I will have to get more to do multiple colors, but definatly will. Maybe even for the 4th of July block party this weekend.

    Question, does it take you one can of icing to ice a little over 1/2 the cupcakes? The reason I ask is because I had never done this before and felt like it took a lot of icing. Never opposed to this because I am a fan of icing, but just wondering. Anyways, I am a fairly new reader (just found the site not too long ago, but LOVE the ideas and creative stuff that is on here!)

  • 4
    Chica 06/30/2009 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Julie. Welcome to the site, and we’re so glad to have you as a new reader!

    You may think you were unprepared, but it’s good idea to just play around the first time you’re trying a new technique like this, so that you have room to mess up! Now that you are experienced, your next batch will turn out great :)

    To answer your icing question, the larger the decorator’s tip you use (and the harder you squeeze), the more icing will come out onto the cupcake. If you want to make a can last longer, you can use a smaller tip or try to control your pressure.

    I don’t usually use canned frosting, but make my own instead. My latest recipe (which we’re both hooked on) is really easy and makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes (one box mix). If you want to give it a try, here it is:

    Mix 1 stick of softened real butter and 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening with a stand mixer until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 teaspoon of good quality pure vanilla extract and four cups of powdered sugar. Add water, one teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency.

    Good luck, and we hope to hear from you again soon!

  • 5
    dot 06/30/2009 at 3:59 pm

    what a fabulous idea!

  • 6
    Rachel 07/01/2009 at 3:32 am

    Wow, these are amazing! Really, really festive! I’ll be linking.

  • 7
    Ms Cupcake 07/03/2009 at 5:21 am

    I found your cupcakes via Flickr. What a great cupcake idea! I blogged about it with links to your website. Thanks for sharing!

    Zen Cupcake: July 4th Cupcakes and Collars by Chica and

  • 8
    Chica 07/03/2009 at 8:14 am

    Thanks, Dot!

    Thanks for the link, Rachel!

    Thanks for the link, Ms Cupcake!

  • 9
    Kathy Cano-MUrillo 07/04/2009 at 12:25 am

    You made my whole day – thank you for mentioning my site!! Your cupcakes are adorable, love the collar idea, so cute!! Rock on, sisterfriends!!

  • 10
    Marianne 07/07/2009 at 9:51 pm

    Seriously cool! Very fun – just wish I had 48 hours in a day to try all your ideas!

  • 11
    Chica 07/08/2009 at 7:03 am

    Thanks, Marianne! We’ll have more Cupcake Collars coming soon for other occasions, so please stick around :)

  • 12
    Julie 07/14/2009 at 3:55 pm

    I made these for the block party on the 4th and they were a big hit. Everyone loved them, and my daughter loved playing with the flags. I posted pictures to the flicker group. I will definatly make these again for other holidays!

  • 13
    Chica 07/14/2009 at 4:06 pm

    Julie, thanks for sharing your photos with us! Your swirled cupcake frosting looks great! Fellow readers, you can see Julie’s photos here and here.

  • 14
    Stefani 10/07/2009 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the templates. I especially like the black and white fireworks and star. If I print out on yellow paper I will have a sunburst! I’ll just have to save the stars for something else!

  • 15
    Chica 10/07/2009 at 1:36 pm

    Great idea, Stefani!

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