As party season comes into full bloom, it's time to create your own party decorations at a fraction of the cost. Whether you're planning a wedding or a child's birthday party, putting in some elbow grease will go a long way towards reducing costs.
To get you started, here are five simple do-it-yourself party decoration ideas for under $5:
1. Mason jar or bottle centerpiece
What you need: A Mason jar (or a glass milk or soda bottle), chalk paint, a brush, was, old clothes and twine. Cost: Just under $5.
Directions: Use the brush to gently put the chalk paint onto the Mason jar. For the first coat, it's okay to see the glass underneath. You want to keep the paint as thin as possible. Let it dry for a few minutes under the sun. When it's dry, you'll see it looking very chalky. Repeat the process until you're satisfied. After you're done painting, seal it by evenly rubbing the wax on it. Let it dry for a few minutes. To finish it up, take some twine and wrap it around the opening and tie a bow.
2. Tissue paper pom-poms
If you want a little pizzazz to your party, these pom-poms will take your party from plain to magical. If you're throwing a little girl's birthday party, they will probably prefer these over balloons.
What you need: Tissue paper in different colors, scissors and floral paddle wire. Cost: Just over $1.
Directions: For a large pom-pom, grab 10 sheets of tissue paper, or six to eight for a smaller one. Lay out the paper. Start folding it from top to bottom or vice versa, like an accordion. When you're done, it will look like a fan. Then cut some floral wire and twist and tie the center of the fan to hold it in place. Grab some scissors and round the ends like a half circle. Put it on one side and start pulling the tissue paper up towards the center. You have to rotate from side to side. If you lose track, it is okay, as mine still turned out looking nice.
3. Wooden crate favor box
I love old wooden milk crates because they are very versatile to use at a party for a variety of purposes, including holding party favors.
What you need: A wooden crate box, chalk paint, a brush and wax.
Directions: Similar to painting the Mason jar, you take a brush and add a layer of chalk paint to the wooden crate. Let it dry and repeat the process until you are satisfied with the overall look. Once you are done with the paint application, then take a cloth and apply the wax over the paint to seal it. If you'd like to personalize it a step further, you can get a stencil and use a different color paint to add words to the box like "Thank You" or "A Gift for You."
Banners add an extra layer of personalization to a party, especially when they're homemade.
What you need: Thick craft paper or scrapbooking paper, a hole puncher, stencils for letters, chalkboard paint, a brush and twine. Cost: $5.
Directions: Take your craft paper and start cutting longer triangles. You do not need to be perfect as imperfect triangles add a sense of whimsy to it. Use the hole puncher to put a single hole at the center of the wider top. Then lay out the triangles according to the words or phrase you will be using, such as "Happy Birthday Ethan." Place a letter stencil on each triangle and start painting the letters on with your brush (I chose a black chalkboard paint to go with the theme). Once you're finished painting, let it dry. Take the twine without cutting it and go through each hole until you've measure it out for hanging.
5. Chalkboard table cover
When I first saw this on the blog A Thoughtful Place, it was love at first site. I've always thought plastic and vinyl table covers were boring, but since they were cheap and effective, I bought them anyway. If you want to make your table the life of the party, then you must make this chalkboard table cover.
What you need: Ikea paper roll, a chalkboard pen, scissors and measuring tape. Cost: $5.
Directions: Cut two pieces of Ikea roll paper, seven and a half feet each. Spray paint the roll paper with chalkboard paint. Let it dry. Depending on the theme of your party, you can draw or write on the chalkboard cover with the chalkboard pen. (You can get more details at athoughtfulplaceblog.com.)
With these tips, you'll have a vibrant-looking party with enough money leftover for the refreshments.
Susan Yoo-Lee is the editor of Savings.com personal finance blog and founder of Mommas in the House blog.
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