Five Easy DIY Party Decorations for Under $5

Dollars & Sense on 04.07.11
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Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

I love planning parties. It's one of my things. But just as much as I love doing it, I hate spending a lot of money on all the décor and details. Maybe it's because I don't have the money to spend even if I wanted to, but either way I'm always looking for inexpensive ways to make a big impact. Taking the extra time to make things yourself can save you a bundle of money. Here are five of my favorite easy DIY party decorations for under $5.

1. Tissue Paper Pom Poms
Nothing says festive like some bright colored tissue paper pom poms (above) hanging from the ceiling. All you need is eight sheets of tissue paper per pom pom, a little bit of wire, and some ribbon to hang them from. I buy my tissue paper from Walmart where it comes in an eight sheet pack in lots of fun colors for $1 per pack. Four pom poms hung over a centerpiece, a buffet table or sideboard sets the stage well. It's not hard to find inexpensive ribbon, but I always hang onto nice ribbon and recycle it for new projects like this. These are great as inexpensive kids' room décor too. You can find the directions on how to make tissue paper pom poms over at Martha Stewart.


diy bunting

2. Bunting
Create a simple bunting using a piece of string, clothespins and napkins. Simply fold the napkins in half point to point over the string so that they create a triangle. Secure them with a clothespin or other clip and start the next one. With just a few napkins you can create a festive look on a mantle or over a doorway. If you have cloth napkins that coordinate with your theme, this party décor can be virtually free or pick up a five pack of napkins in just about any color at for only $2.59.


diy firetruck pinata
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

3. Piñata
For my son's firetruck birthday party last year I couldn't find a piñata (and he really wanted one) anywhere on the island where we live. (Yes, there are bridges, but we have island mentality as in we don't leave it unless it's completely necessary.) I found directions on how to make a piñata online which couldn't really be much easier, particularly when you can work with a rectangular shape. All I needed was an old shoe box and small gift box, tape to tape the two boxes together, some torn up newspaper from my recycling bin, glue, scrap paper, and tissue paper (back to Walmart for my $1 packs). Fillings are extra, but you can easily find those for under $5 too at discount stores.


diy cupcake picks
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

4. Cupcake Picks
You can buy a dozen cupcake picks pretty easily at places like Michaels Craft Stores for under $10, but once you need more than a dozen, it can start to really add up. For my daughter's birthday party, I made six dozen cupcakes, but I wasn't about to spend $60 on cupcake picks. Instead I made a circular graphic (I have no formal graphic design training) using a free design program called Inkscape, printed them on card stock paper that I bought by the sheet at Kinko's for about $2, and used double sided tape to stick them to a toothpick. Use two graphics per pick, one for each side. You could also use Microsoft Word or another program if you are creating something very simple or importing a graphic from somewhere else.


diy custom invitations
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

5. Custom Invitations
While some may disagree, I'm a firm believer that party invitations are the first item on the list for decorations as they set the stage for the big event. There are loads of adorable invitations out there, but it's always nice to have something personalized without having to pay the price. Learn the basics on your word processing program so that you can import pictures (that you have the rights to use), set your page up in columns, and easily create a simple personalized invite. Or download Inkscape for free which works similarly to Adobe Illustrator and offers you many more advanced options over basic word processing programs. There are great tutorials on how to use Inkscape which is how I taught myself to do it. Buy cardstock, and print them right from your own desk. Before you know it you'll have a fabulous custom designed invitation for pennies per piece. Note: Stick to standard sizes to be sure you can get envelopes that work well with them.

Ultimately, just remember that throwing a fabulous party doesn't have to break the bank. Spending a little extra time can save you a lot of dough. Be creative, keep your eye out for sales, and get to know your craft stores and computer programs. Throwing a low cost, big impact party has never been easier.


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