I’m back – with more birthday party inspiration! My big girl is turned 6 years old which means she got to have her first friends party – and has had her heart set on a pool party for, like, ever. She seems to have inherited the party planning gene, dictating #allthethings that had to happen for her party. Her favorite colors are bold and bright, so the theme morphed into a Malibu Barbie inspired vibe.
Here are six budget-saving areas I used to design a custom birthday bash on a budget of around $50:
Set the Tone with an Eye-Catching Tablescape
My favorite tip for creating a custom look is creating an eye-catching tablescape that guests will see when they enter the party. This whole tablescape was set using inexpensive supplies that, when layered, created a big impact. I purchased several plastic tablecloths that I cut into scallops and layered for an ombre effect, and finished the look with a few draped leis and netting. Total cost: $7
Today I’m sharing how I made my own DIY custom cookie cutter, for my daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday party, for less than $1.
I’m planning a Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest, and knew she would get a kick out of themed cookies. There are some great Peppa cookie cutters online, but I didn’t want to pay for a cookie cutter I planned to use just one time. Instead, I decided to make my own DIY custom cookie cutter.
This year, Dub wanted his birthday to be all about Minecraft. He’s also really into Legos, so a Lego Steve seemed like an appropriate favor for the goodie bags.
I did a lot of research trying to find an easy way to to this. To be honest, I was hoping there would be a sale of Minecraft Lego lots on ebay that would allow me to phone this one in, but it was not to be.
So, I ended up making Steve myself using the Lego Pick-A-Brick feature.
While you can do this in-store if you have a Lego retail location near you, they have a varying selection, so I saved myself the trip and did my shopping online. This is where I insert my Lego PSA – I found out after I placed my order that Pick-A-Brick orders can take up to 18 business days! That’s almost a month! So, this favor only really works if you are planning out by at least a month to ensure your Bricks get to you in time.
Here’s what I ordered to make 15 favors:
Item#, color – quantity
300423, blue – x30
4113915, yellow – x15
4155708, yellow – x15
4163696, light blue – x15
4179833, light blue – x15
4211210, brown – x15
4243821, green – x15
4271949, brown – x15
4579260, yellow – x15
For the pick axe, I had to go to ebay where I got a great deal paying $1.47 total for 15 axes. That brought the total to $26.21 for 15 favors, or $1.74, each. (I didn’t see any swords or pick axes in the Pick-A-Brick section when I was ordering. They do have a “mini Fireman’s axe” or a “warrior weapon,” though.)
Then, I went to work making a face for Steve in PhotoShop. I measured it to the size of the 2×2 Lego and then I printed it on Avery label paper. Removing the paper backing first, I cut down each face sticker to the exact size and then replaced it on a small square of the paper backing to place in the favor bag.
I took a photo of the complete Steve to include with all the kits.
I placed the Legos in a small jewelry ziplock bag. Then, I made a simple tag that I stapled to the top of the sealed bag as a finishing touch.
This was a huge hit among the 6 and 7 year old crowd!
Thinking of making a Lego Steve for your Minecrafter’s party? You can get a head start by downloading Steve’s face here (compatible with Avery 5260* labels), the finished Steve image inserts here, and the favor tags here. Enjoy!
MORE FREE MINECRAFT PRINTABLES: Like these printables? Be sure to check out my other free Minecraft Printables here and here.
Find my other Minecraft Birthday Party posts here:
I absolutely love the look of these tinsel tassel banners for party decor. Even better? They’re super easy and inexpensive to make.
Dub really wanted a Minecraft-themed birthday party, but I didn’t want a licensed decor explosion, so I began thinking of ways to decorate with color. With lots of Pinterest inspiration, I decided I wanted to give this a try. However, I was surprised to find there aren’t a lot of tutorials out there so I am sharing a quick and dirty tutorial of my own.
I set to work on this particular banner with four colors of tissue paper, green, lime green, chevron and silver metallic (I linked to some examples because I initially had a hard time finding these).
1) First, I took a stack of 8 sheets of tissue in each color and cut them the short length of the pre-cut sheets (approximately 20″) and cut them about 8″ wide.
2) I then folded the stack of sheets in half and began cutting them in 1/4″ strips, stopping about 1″ from the fold. I used a rotary cutter and mat to make quick and more precise work of this, but regular scissors will do.
3) I then unfolded the papers and, taking 2 sheets at a time, began rolling them tightly at the center. Once each set of 2 was rolled at the center I began gently twisting the rolled portion. Once it was lightly twisted I folded it in half and began twisting the rolled portions together. When you’re done it will look something like this. Perfectly imperfect.
4) Thread the tassels through a string or ribbon. I made a single simple knot at each tassel to keep them in place.
All in all, this was a pretty quick and easy project that took me maybe 20 minutes total to complete. I also love that if you source your papers from the dollar store, you could complete three of these banners for just $4! (meaning, each banner is just over $1, with plenty of paper to spare for favors or gifts). I have a feeling various themed tinsel banners will be showing up at more parties around here!
Dub’s party is not for a few more weeks, so I’m letting it hang on our mantle for St. Patrick’s Day. How’s that for multi-purpose party decor?
Find my other Minecraft Birthday Party posts here:
Dress up a common paper lunch bag to be something extra special! EClaire needed to take favor bags to school for her half birthday (summer birthday problems!). I had a few awkwardly shaped items so I needed a decent-sized bag, but I didn’t want to spend much.
As usual, I headed to the Dollar Tree fro some paper lunch bags and doilies. Then, I secured them with these tiny craft clothespins that you can get at Hobby Lobby or here on Amazon. I love how these turned out, and you can make 40 for just $6. Next time, I love the idea of trying these for birthday party favors with colorful doilies and clothespins.
These would be great for Valentines, Birthday parties or even for quick and easy gift wrap for small gifts.
My final post in the Star Wars birthday party series is to share the custom invitations and thank you cards I designed.
Each year, I’ve been lucky that my children have chosen Halloween costumes that match their birthday party themes for the following year. Dub chose to be Darth Vader, so I used his Halloween costume for the front of the invitation. I created a simple background in PhotoShop, and used the free Star Jedi font.
I used the same background on the back, added the party details, and created a Darth Vader silhouette.
During the birthday party, I made sure to get one shot of all of the kids in the photo booth, wearing their jedi robes and using photo booth props. I used this image for a custom thank you postcard. On the back, I created a simple template that Dub could fill in himself. I love the idea of the postcard because it helps him learn the proper etiquette of showing thankfulness. Sincere, personal, and to the point! And, it’s a little less expensive to mail 🙂
Finally, just to prove how much I utilize those Halloween photos, I also used it for Dub’s Valentine’s card. I wonder if he’ll be sick of Darth Vader by this Halloween?
My baby girl just turned one and because her birthday is exactly a week after Dub’s, I’ll admit I ran out of steam on the party planning. However, I wanted to do something special and celebrate as a family, and was able to put together a cute Bow Birthday theme really inexpensively.
To keep birthday party planning expenses manageable, we buy a few essentials that we reuse year after year.
My Special Day chair covers that we reuse for birthdays, first days of school, and any day we want to recognize and celebrate each child individually.
Additionally, we always save leftover party supplies such as napkins, plates and plastic cutlery and every few years we find we don’t have to buy these supplies at all because of that stash. That was the case for baby ‘Belle’s party.
For the cupcakes, I whipped up a batch of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and frosted them in pink and white buttercream frosting. I wanted them to carry out the bow theme, but because I’m lacking in fondant skills I purchased these toppers. You can find similar fondant bows here and here.
We served homemade vanilla ice cream and a simple punch using 7-Up and raspberry sherbet.
With just two inexpensive plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, I made this impressive table centerpiece by using one tablecloth as usual, and using the other as a decorative sash by draping it across the front and simply pinching it in the middle. I actually unfolded some of the party napkins and fashioned a bow out of them – one napkin for each side of the bow, and two for the tails. Surprisingly beautiful, easy and inexpensive!
Next, I made bow napkin rings – I love how these turned out! I bought rectangle shaped napkins, but you could also do this by folding traditional napkins in half. Simply pinch them in the middle, place them on top of your cutlery and wrap a small band of paper around the bow, secured with tape.
As I mentioned earlier, I used leftover napkins to make the bow you see on the front of the table to carry the theme through.
I took a little photo shoot of baby ‘Belle sporting her birthday bow. I’d say the cupcakes were a hit!
Like the ideas you see here? Be sure to follow my birthday party inspiration board and subscribe below to keep partying with me!
Looking for more inspiration? You might like these parties:
Growing up, we didn’t really “do” favor bags. I suppose that’s why I’m really into them when planning parties for my kids. Presents for everyone, just for attending?! I wish grown-up parties would adopt this practice!
I wanted to do something fun for these Star Wars birthday favors, with at least a few items that would get used beyond the ride home from the party. But, of course, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
I created these goodie bags for around $3 each, total.
To create the actual bag, I used inexpensive white paper bags from the grocery store. I searched for the keywords “storm trooper silhouette” and found an image I like. I downloaded this free Star Jedi font and added the words “You’re a trooper” to the 5.5″x10.5″ template I created in PhotoShop. Read to the end of this post for the free printable!
I printed the image directly on the bags. To do this, you need to go into your printer settings and create a custom paper size and paper texture. I used a small piece of painter tape to secure the base flap to the bag so it wouldn’t jam in the printer. It took some trial and error before I felt like they were printing a clean image, without a lot of extra printer ink. I was going for inexpensive though, so despite a few rough printouts, these captured the look I was going for.
Knowing all the boys are really into Legos at this age, I really wanted to include some. I explored a lot of avenues, but almost everything was going to be a budget buster. I’ve heard of some creative moms creating their own little sets using the Pick a Brick section at the Lego store, but at $14.99/bucket, it was going to be a little more than I wanted to pay, and I wasn’t even sure if I could really build a believable spaceship.
I found my solution on ebay and Amazon: there are tons of people looking to unload Star Wars Advent Calendar kits or individual toys. I was able to score a lot of 11 for $1/each including shipping. Even better, each little kit came with building instructions – far better than what I would have been able to do myself using Pick a Brick. For those of you who have messaged me about being unable to find these deals on ebay, you can still find them here for less than $2 per favor!
I created my own hangtag using the same Star Wars font with a message from Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try” along with a thank you message.
In addition to the goodie bags, we had a Jedi Training academy. We gave each little guest a Jedi vest made with an unused bed sheet we didn’t need and clothesline rope.
We also created the pool noodle lightsabers that are all the rage on Pinterest. We cut pool noodles in half using a serrated bread knife and decorated the ends with black and silver duct tape. Each little guest was given one to defeat some balloon storm troopers and then take home.These were the biggest hit of the party (literally, there was one bloody nose incident!).
No party is complete without a little craft, so we also had a Build A Droid work station that they seemed to enjoy. But not quite as much as the pool noodle light sabers, of course.
When Dub predictably requested a Star Wars theme for his 6th birthday, I’ll admit I was a little excited. I’d already been brimming with fun ideas for his party, but when he insisted on his first “friends” party, I was stumped. Our home just isn’t big enough for entertaining larger crowds, and I didn’t really want to do a Chuck E Cheese type of party. So, we decided to hold it at his dad’s industrial garage. I’ll share the details of this party in a series of posts. This post will focus on the Boba Fett Buffet. First, I started with the settings. I bought inexpensive tablecloths from the Dollar Store and I bought a starry sky backdrop that I used behind the buffet and for a photo booth.
I downloaded a light saber paper craft from starwars.com (the handle for Yoda’s light saber) and used it to roll up the plastic tableware in red and blue napkins. I got the kids involved here, assembling the proper tableware and rolling it up, and I finished it off with the handle.
Next, I designed some creative table tents in PhotoShop to label the food: Yoda Soda, Death Star Salad, Hunger Destroyer, Vader Veggies, DroidDrink, and more. For the Droid Drink, I bought the mini water bottles from Costco. I used this free download to wrap each bottle with an R2D2 label.
Since my husband’s business is a limousine company, we decided to leave in their limo party bus and play Star Wars on the sound system. On the outside, we set up a little table with popcorn in festive containers to create a movie theater experience, which the kids loved. The bus has a music synchronized laser show that really added a little something to the Star Wars experience.
While I admit, leaving the bus in the garage was mostly practical and was helpful for setting the theme, I didn’t have high hopes that among all the activities that 15 6 year old boys would sit down and watch a movie. I was so wrong! They loved this feature and spent a surprising amount of time watching the movie. Finally, the creme de la creme: the R2D2 cake. A very talented friend (who just opened her own restaurant!) made this for us, and it was as delicious as it was spectacular to look at. The kids waited for me to cut it up, as they all had very specific parts of R2D2 that they wanted to eat.
That concludes the food portion of our Star Wars birthday party. Stay tuned for more on our photo booth and Jedi Training activitites! Looking for more Star Wars birthday party ideas? Find my Pinterest inspiration board here.
Star Wars Birthday Party, Part II Favor Bags
Star Wars Part III: Custom Invitations and Thank You Postcards
One of our favorite birthday traditions? Homemade ice cream. So, what better theme for Eve’s July birthday than ice cream? Of course, we made our favorite homemade ice cream, with just a few drops of lemon extract added to the recipe. Yum!
I whipped up a batch of plain ol’ boxed mix cupcakes, and decorated them using my Pampered Chef Decorator Bottle Set, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and maraschino cherries. For the main cake, I used three of the cupcake “scoops” of ice cream because it was her third birthday. The kids absolutely loved these!
What do you think of the ice cream birthday party theme? If you’re a fan, check out my birthday Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration.
Wow, I can’t believe how time flies. As little Dub’s birthday approached, I knew his would have to be a superhero theme, but I wanted it to be less focused on commercial super heroes and a little more of a generic comic book vibe.
To set the tone, I set off to create a comic book – inspired invite. I coerced him into taking a Clark Kent/super man photo. I just had him wear his Superman pajama shirt under a button down and snap on tie and then put on a pair of glasses frames I got at the dollar store. I went to work in PhotoShop and created this invite. I used PhotoShop action that made him look like a true comic book character.
Next, I wanted to make a comic book pendant. I was very pregnant and on bed rest while planning the party, so I enlisted my mom for help. I bought a comic book off ebay, cut the comic pages into triangles and placed them inside the fold of some red binding I had on hand. Then she simply sewed along the binding and voila! Dub liked this so much he asked to hang it in his room after the party.
Again, since I was very pregnant I decided to hire out the cake in the form of some amazing cupcakes from our local bakery. I made cupcake toppers in PhotoShop and attached them to lollipop sticks I found at Michael’s in the baking section.
This was Dub’s first party where we invited friends, so I was new to the party favor tradition. I asked all the parents in advance to send me a photo of their children so I could personalize each goodie bag with their photo. I added free superhero overlays like masks and emblems from Lil Blue Boo in PhotoShop and they were a huge hit!
As much as I love having balloons to decorate for parties, I hate watching them pathetically deflate in the days following (my kids refuse to throw them away until the bitter end!) So, I attached a balloon to each goodie bag for a festive display that our little guests could take home with them. This was an inexpensive favor with big impact! The kids were thrilled to take them home and I was just as thrilled to see them go.
I had to figure out how to entertain all these kids in our teeny home. So I set up a superhero mask making station. I pre-cut the masks in craft foam and bought self-stick foam stars and letter so kids could decorate them and add their names.
Next, I really wanted to create a photo booth. I bought some polka-dot wrapping paper that I just taped to the wall. I made some photo booth signs in PhotoShop that matched the cupcake toppers, and printed them on 8.5×11″ sheets of white card stock. I cut them out and taped them to the cardboard tube that comes on dry cleaning hangers – it was what I had on hand! Or, if you’re not the DIY type, you could buy some here.)
Dub and a very pregnant me in the photo booth.
My goal was to get pictures of all the kids at the party to put on the thank-you note. What I didn’t count on was how shy the kids would be. I had to beg to get them all to pose together so I could get my thank-you card shot! But I got it, and here’s how it turned out:
I designed the back like a true post card with a fill-in-the-blank thank-you message for Dub to personalize. I heard later that our little guests were thrilled to see themselves in the card.
So, there we have it! Dub’s 5th birthday. For more superhero birthday ideas check out my Pinterest board.
I’ve linked directly to the customizable invites and thank you notes in my Etsy shop. If you would like me to offer free downloads of the cupcake toppers and photo booth signs I used, please let me know in the comments below!
I was so excited for Eve’s first birthday and I knew exactly what the theme would be – Pink Lemonade, for my sweet and sour little girl 🙂
Well, then there was an out of state family wedding the weekend of her birthday which meant significantly toning down the birthday plans. Which was hard for me, because I just love a good themed party. Side note: do you know what else is hard? Accidentally deleting all the photos in my camera from said party, and then racing to take just a couple to prove my baby had a party. Ugh!
So to plan the un-party, I started with the basics. One of the things I’ve done for all of my kids is purchase just a few birthday items that we bring out every year, including a pendant banner, centerpieces with photos of them over the years, and a “My special day” seat cover.
We also use this seat cover for all special occasions, from birthdays to the first day of school and other milestones. It’s a tradition that has become very meaningful to us – when the kids come downstairs in the morning and see their seat cover, they know we’re celebrating them that day.
Next, I added some cute polka-dot napkins, cups and cute paper straws from Target. I served a basic lemonade some frozen strawberries. Yum!
I made these adorable cupcakes. I’d scoured the interwebs for the best pink lemonade recipe and landed on this one. Unfortunately, they were just a bit too tart for us! No problemo – that just left more room for the homemade ice cream we made (and Mmmm does our family love homemade ice cream!).
For Dub’s first birthday, I knew I wanted to do a puppy dog theme. Now, I just love a good themed birthday, but really we don’t go overboard for parties. This was especially true for his first – we just invited a few family members and held at his grandma and grandpa’s home, near where most of our family lives.
We made puppycakes using this tutorial from Family Fun magazine. My photography at that time leaves very little to be desired, but you get the idea.
And, of course, gave puppy chow as party favors with hangtags that read, “It’s been dog-gone fun!”