By making your own party decorations, you can control exactly how they come out, reduce your party budget and enjoy an art project or two. You don't need to be particularly crafty to come up with a few unique and professional-quality decorations. Adapt some simple craft techniques to the theme and overall sensibility of your party. Accent areas where you have the greatest skill. If you like to sew, make your own pouches for goody bags. If you have an eye for patterns but don't like to draw, decorate with interesting stamps or decals.
Tie in a Theme
If you're throwing a themed party, mine relevant sources for images and elements of the theme. For example, if you're throwing a Disney party, watch a few videos with a pad and pencil at hand for ideas. For a Disney princess party, make decorations with pastel gauze or tulle and sequins. Use large swathes of tulle to divide up space with simple, ephemeral curtains. For tulle, no hemming is necessary. Simply hang the curtains from regular curtain rods or from tension-mountain shower curtain rods, mounted in interior doorways or halls. If your theme is a murder mystery, drape furniture with fabrics that evoke an English country manor. Decorate with ornate candlesticks and, by nightfall, use the candles for atmospheric lighting.
Guests of any age will enjoy decorations they can later take home for a snack. Make lollipop-style sugar cookies by setting thin, clean wooden dowels into the cookies before baking. Frost or decorate them and then carefully set your creations into vases, anchoring them with stones, rice or rock candy. For a flowery look, cut the cookies to look like tulips, roses or daisies. You can also let a classic party game double as decor. String a variety of doughnuts just below eye-level and have guests compete to take them down without using their hands or letting them drop.
Crafty decorations don't have to look homespun; use colour palette, materials and theme to give your decor a sophisticated edge. For a dinner party, print out menus on good-quality card stock and introduce whimsy with your writing style or with an unusual font. For a cocktail party, you can produce classy and easy decorations with a black and white theme. Adapt the cookie bouquets to black and white cookies. Use luxurious black and white fabrics to cover furniture and replace curtains. For inexpensive table runners, paint simple geometric designs on white butcher's paper. For invitations or name cards, make half of them black-on-white and the others white-on-black. Use whiteout to write on black paper. Cut abstract black and white shapes and hang them from bent wire hangers for Alexander Calder-inspired design.
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