20 Money-Saving DIY Party Ideas
From upcycling leftover wood to budget-friendly centerpiece ideas, here are 20 clever ways to throw a party like a pro without blowing your budget.
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April 16, 2015
Get Creative for a Budget-Friendly Fiesta
Throwing a great get-together doesn't have to cost a fortune. A few DIY fixes will give your party personality without denting your wallet. Read on for a few of our fave ideas.
Try a Paper Tablecloth
Need to protect your table, but don’t want to splurge on a tablecloth? Simply roll out contractor paper or inexpensive brown Kraft paper, cut to size and fold the edges for a tailored look.
Swap Dishtowels for Linen Napkins
Linen napkins take a party to the next level, but why splash the cash on something you'll rarely use. Instead, sub cotton dishtowels for traditional napkins. Purchased in bulk, they're much cheaper than linen napkins and will come in handy for everyday kitchen chores long after the party's over.
Make Map-Embellished Votives
Add a globe-trotting vibe to basic glass votives with small strips of world maps. For a sentimental touch, choose maps of your hometown, favorite getaway or dream vacation spot. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Make Double-Duty Napkin Rings
Give your napkin rings dual purpose as place cards. Personalize dollar-store luggage tags with each guests' name, loop around cloth napkins and place a customized luggage tag at each place setting.
Create an Edible Centerpiece
This stunning centerpiece doesn't just look good -- it's also delicious. Grape skewers add a bright splash of color to this floral arrangement and are a healthy snack for guests to munch on while socializing before dinner.
Turn One Into Many
Turn one big supermarket bouquet into several smaller arrangements by removing the filler and grouping like-color flowers together into assorted small vases. Place the small arrangements in all the rooms that party guests will gather, like the living room, kitchen, dining room and guest bath.
Don't toss the inexpensive floral filler from your grocery store bouquet. Instead, put it to good use by singling it out and placing in an upcycled vase -- like an old metal can or paint bucket.
Make a Citrus Slice Centerpiece
Two vases -- one just a bit smaller than the other -- is the trick to creating this pro-looking centerpiece on the cheap. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Give old maps new life as colorful tablecloths. Pick maps of a favorite location like your hometown, go-to vacation spot or dream destination. Maps are a great conversation starter that will encourage guests to share stories of the places they've visited.
Craft Themed Party Decor
Here’s an excellent idea for an Around-the-World party or a food-tasting fiesta: Turn inexpensive wooden garden markers into a directional signpost with a bit of paint and permanent markers. Attach the markers to a scrap of fabric or rope, then hang as easy party decor.
Upcycled Cutting Board
Beginner do-it-yourselfers can turn leftover lumber into a cutting board by cutting it to size (12" x 16" works well), sanding it, staining it and then sealing it with several coats of a foodsafe sealer. Stainless steel washers, attached with screws, add an industrial touch.
Painter's Tape Place Card
Put leftover painter's tape to work as colorful place cards. Add a bit of flair by cutting the tape's ends into a pennant shape before sticking a piece at each place setting, then just add your guests' names with a paint pen or permanent marker.
Opt for a Living Centerpiece
Fresh-cut flowers are a must for any get-together -- but they can be pricey. Brighten up your party for less with a small flowering plant that will still be beautiful months to years after the party ends.
Or, Skip the Flowers Altogether
If you’re out of time and money before your shindig, don't bother with flowers at all. Instead, sub a pretty potted houseplant for the centerpiece. While a green plant won’t add the same elegance or fragrance as fresh flowers, it will add a fresh pop of color to the table.
Rotisserie Chicken Trick
Need to serve your guests hearty sandwiches, but don’t have the time to cook up something from scratch? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, pull it apart and serve it as barbecue chicken sandwiches or sliders.
Texture, Color + Pattern
Creating an interesting tablescape is easy when you keep the design principles of texture, color and pattern in mind. For texture, use a canvas dropcloth or burlap as a tablecloth. For color, pick 1-3 hues as a palette and carry them though the party. For pattern, use old maps or leftover bits of wallpaper or fabric to wrap vases.
Tile Table Runner
Put leftover tile from your kitchen or bathroom remodel to work as a table runner. Simply line the tiles up in the center of your table and top with a centerpiece.
Upcycle Old Cans
Don't toss that colorful can, instead thoroughly wash the interior and use it to hold a few cut blooms from the backyard or grocery store.
When you’re serving guests buffet-style, focus on utility over formality, and repurpose a clean can for displaying forks, knives and spoons. Place the can near the plates at the start of the serving line so guests can grab their silverware before loading up their plates.
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