Posts in the ‘Decor’ Category

Harry Potter Birthday Party on a Budget

Harry Potter parties are some of the most popular on our site. So when I spotted Allison W's Magical Harry Potter Birthday a really original party that cost $200, I got excited and had to ask her how she did it.

Well, here are Alison's top 5 tips for how she saved money throwing her very cool party...

Tip 1

Plan ahead of time! I knew about 4 months before what kind of party my son wanted and made sure he was sticking with that theme. It was then that I started planning for the decorations, activities, and food so I knew what I needed to purchase. Not only does this allow me to find the best deals, but also to spread out the purchases.

Tip 2

Yard/clearance sales! I think my best find was the mason jars with handles. I wanted that look and had seen some glass beer mugs at the Dollar store which is a good deal, but keeping my eye out beforehand, I ran across a pack of 10 mason jar mugs for $2. They were etched so I made a super cute label and had custom Butter Beer mugs for cheap! A lot of people go to the Dollar store for party supplies but be careful $1 each can add up pretty fast so be sure to compare.

Ten mason jars with handles bought at a yard sale for $2

Tip 3

Use what you already have! Again, because I planned ahead of time I was able to save glass jars and containers for the decorations as we used them. Instead of recycling, I washed them out and saved them for the party.

Recycled glass jars and containers

Tip 4

Make it yourself! Before I purchase something I always ask myself if I can make it easily for less ("easily" is the key word haha). One thing I made was the cupcake stand. I love cupcake stands and instead of paying $15-$20 for one that I sort-of liked, I made a custom one for $3 plus 2 cans of soup that I used later. I also made house banners from felt, a birthday banner from the pages of a ruined Harry Potter book, wands, and the Quidditch field.

Homemade cupcake stand


Homemade banner using an old Harry Potter book


Homemade wands

Tip 5

Keep it simple! Your entire house doesn't need to be decorated to have a magical party. A few really great decorations can make the entire party and set the perfect scene.

Thank you, Allison, for these great tips. And I couldn't agree with you more about Tip 5. I always believe that all you need are a few special, well-thought-out design elements and you've got a memorable party that "pops."

Make sure to check out the rest of this magical Harry Potter party.

FREE Back to School Printables from Magnolia Creative Co.

It's getting to be that back to school time of year again. Can you believe how fast the summer has gone?

If you're in the mood to celebrate, we've got these FREE back to school printables for you, designed by Emily from Magnolia Creative Co.

The collection includes: party circles, snack bag toppers, bookplates, lunch notes, and an entire banner alphabet to spell whatever message you'd like.

Party circles


Snack bag toppers



Lunch notes to send your kids with a special note from you

A-Z banner letters to spell whatever you'd like

Apples to add to your banner

Download the high resolution files here:

Thank you Emily, for this adorable collection. To learn more about Magnolia Creative Co, which sells party and event invitations, stationery items, and hand painted ceramic and canvas gifts, please check out their website and Etsy shop.

And if you throw a back to school party with these printables, please add your party to our site, I'd love to show it off!

Here's What's in My Party Toolkit

I've been meaning to post this for a while... Here are the items in my party toolkit that I couldn't live without. I'm dying to know what is in yours, so please comment at the end of this post.

A good pair of sissors.

A 3 inch extra large punch for making all my party circles.

A 3 inch extra large scalloped edge punch for a little variety.

Several sheets of removable glue dots. I just got turned onto these and I love them!  They are great for sticking things on the wall or sticking things to each other.

A set of permanent markers in lots of colors for any last minute signs I have to make.

Lots of safety pins in different sizes. Because I don't sew, these are a life-saver for any fabric that needs pinning or tucking.

Double-sided tape, my old standby. But since I've been using glue dots, I don't use this as much.

A big piece of white tulle. I'm always amazed at all the ways I can use it, it goes with everything, and it's cheap. This item doesn't fit in my toolkit, but I love it so much, I have to include it. A big roll of kraft paper. It's not only functional, but I think it looks cool - unfinished and playful.

Lots of ribbon. I buy them on sale in loads of colors and use them to dress up everything.

Okay, your turn.

My Hidden Find for Great Party Supplies is...

This is not a paid post, I promise! Okay, now that that's clear, my hidden find for great party supplies is...  TJ Maxx!!

A TJ Maxx opened in my neighborhood, and since I'd never been in one, I decided to take a look, especially since I've been thinking a lot about budget parties. I was blown away by all the inexpensive but great party stuff I found.

I'm a big believer in buying white -- white platters, white bowls, white serving pieces -- so they can go with anything you're doing. Here's what I found...







Okay, while not white, I could definitely use this pretty cake stand...


And how about these drink dispensers? I saw them on Amazon for $23.99 and $25.99.



And it's hard to tell from this photo but these are super large vases that would look great with say a ton of green apples in them...

$7.99 to $9.99

Who else likes TJ Maxx for party stuff? What are your other favorite discount stores that I should visit for party supplies? I'm very excited about my discovery. :)

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Korker Cake Banner

I've seen a lot of cake banners, but never something quite like this. So when I found this korker cake banner tutorial Tricia from Sweeter Than Sweets put together, I had to ask her if I could repost it.

These cake banners are so easy to make, I look forward to seeing them pop up on our main site.

Here's my tutorial for a new kind cake banner, a Korker Cake Banner... it's a fun and festive cake topper for any celebration, no cake decorating skills necessary!


  • Grosgrain ribbon in any width (I used 1/8" and 1/4", 1 spool of each color)
  • Dowels (1/4" work best, buy these at craft or hardware stores)
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Cookie sheet
  • Spray starch (optional)
  • Lighter
  • Embroidery floss or string
  • Straws or chopsticks
  • Hot glue or other adhesive
  • Frosted cake

The first thing we're going to do is curl the ribbon to look like korkers. Korker bows are those adorable hair bows with curly-cue ribbons:

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Check to see if your dowels will fit in your oven. If not, cut the dowels to the right size.

Take one end of ribbon and wrap it around a dowel a couple of times. Then secure it to the end with a clothespin.

Start wrapping the ribbon somewhat loosely, then push it upwards to get as much ribbon on the dowel as possible without overlapping the ribbon.

Keeping wrapping and pushing together until you get to the end of the dowel, then use another clothespin to hold it on. Repeat with as many ribbons as you want.

To help the ribbon keep its korker shape, spray with some spray starch (optional). Then place the dowels on top of a cookie sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Take the cookie sheet out of oven and let ribbon cool on the dowels, then spray with more spray starch. When they are cool and dry, start unwrapping carefully so as not to tangle or otherwise mess up the cute korker shape of the ribbon. I twist it in the opposite direction to loosen and take it off the dowel little by little.

Now you want to pass a flame quickly over the ends of each korker to seal and prevent fraying. My ribbons turned out to be all different lengths since my dowels were different lengths but I like the look of it.

Lay all the ribbons out on a flat surface. Slide a piece of string or embroidery floss underneath one side, making sure to catch all the ends of your ribbons. Then tie a knot on one side. (I found it worked better to just tie one side of the ribbons, then start attaching it to the cake, then tie the other side.) Don't cut the string.

Now put your straws or chopsticks into the cake at whatever angle you want...just be sure they're in the cake deep enough to support the weight of the ribbons (trust me, you'll know when you start attaching the ribbons if they need to go deeper).

So that the string doesn't slide right down the straw, put a dollop of hot glue at the top of each straw. I let it dry and used the dollop just for the knot to rest on, but you could just glue the knot right on there to really secure it to the straw. Attach the first side of ribbons to one straw and try to keep the other end of the ribbons away from your yummy frosting.

Once the first side is on the cake, you'll be able to tell where the other knot will need to be. On my first attempt, I tied both knots ahead of time and ended up cutting one out and re-doing it once the first side was on the cake.

Now tie the other ends of ribbon with your string and attach it to the second straw. Trim (and heat seal) ribbons again if necessary. Ta-da!

This Korker Cake Banner was fun but it's got me thinking about other ways of decorating with korkers, too: party tables, miniature streamers hanging from doorways, garland on a kid's table... hmmm, what else can you think of?

Thank you Tricia! What a totally original idea!

To learn more about Tricia and see all of her crafty inspirations, please check out her blog, Sweeter Than Sweets.

And if you make a korker cake banner, please email me photos, I'd love to show them off!

GIVEAWAY: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Fancy That

Lisa K, owner of Fancy That, a custom party goods and gift boutique, is offering one of our lucky readers a $50 gift certificate to her store.

You've got to see all the fabulous party items Fancy That sells! They've got everything from party printables, to gifts, to the newest, coolest party supplies like these candy tubes.

Here's just a sample of their goods, so definitely check out their site to see more...

If you have a party coming up, you won't want to miss this giveaway, trust me!!

To enter, just "like" Fancy That on Facebook, then head back here and leave a comment saying you did it. That's all, folks!

Also, check out the great parties Lisa has added to our main site. You'll see she's definitely a party pro!

We’ll pick the winner at random on Thursday, July 28th at 10:00PM (PST).  Any entries after that won’t be considered, sorry.  We will use to generate our winner and will notify you by email.

FREE Summer Party Printables from Embellish

If you're looking to add a little sophistication to your summer party, we've got these stunning FREE beach party printables for you, designed by the talented Kirsten of Embellish.

The collection includes: party circles, invitations, cupcake wrappers, tented cards, drink flags, banner flags, and water bottle labels.

Party circles


Cupcake wrappers

Tented cards

Drink flags


Water bottle labels

Download the high resolution files for printing:

Thank you, Kristen, for these gorgeous printables. To learn more about Kirsten and see her beautiful printables, please visit her Etsy shop, and her blog, Embellish.

Now you have every reason to throw a summer party!!

GIVEAWAY: Win a $50 Gift Certificate to My Little Jedi

Vesna from My Little Jedi is giving away a $50 gift certificate to her online store. Yay!

My Little Jedi sells beautiful party printables, wall art, notepads, greeting cards, party hats, pencils, and more. It's a beautiful collection of items filled with elegance and whimsy!

Below is a small selection from her store, but definitely check out the whole collection... So much pretty here!

Sweet Shoppe party printable collection

ABC paper cups

Printable envelopes

Envelopes, twine, pencils, doilies,note cards

I'm having a hard time choosing my favorite item.

To enter the giveaway, please head over to the My Little Jedi blog and follow it, then come back here and leave a comments saying you did just that. Simple...

We’ll pick the winner at random on Thursday, July 21st at 10:00PM (PST).  Any entries after that won’t be considered, sorry.  We will use to generate our winner and will notify you by email.


FREE Summer Party Printables from Clickable Party

Summer is in full swing, and how sweet of Krysten at Clickable Party to give away this collection of party printables to add some pizzazz to your summer shindigs.

The collection includes: party circles, cupcake wrappers, tented cards, a blank invitation, a "Happy Birthday" banner (in case it's someone's birthday!), an entire alphabet of flip-flops to make your own banner, food labels, votive labels, water bottle labels, favor boxes, and thank you cards. Phew, that's a lot!! Thank you, Krysten!

Party circles

Cupcake wrappers

Tented cards


A "Happy Birthday" banner

Complete alphabet to build your own banner

Votive candle labels

Large food labels

Water bottle labels

Favor boxes

Thank you cards

Download the high resolution file for printing:

If you use these printables for your summer party, please add your party to our site, I'd love to show it off!

And one more big thank you to you, Krysten, for sharing these amazing printables. To learn more about Krysten, please visit her blog, Clickable Party and also check out her shop where you can buy her adorable printables.

PARTY ON A BUDGET: Ice Cream Social for $175

This is a new feature I'm starting where I find a gorgeous party on our site done on a tight budget, and I ask the Catch My Party member how she pulled it off.

This Ice Cream Social Surprise Birthday was put together by Shelley K. When I read on her party page that she put it together for a little over $100 I had to know how she did it.

First the beautiful party...

Now really, Shelley, how did you do it?

My party cost a little over $100.  Mostly because I used cake plates, dishes etc. that I already had around the house.

I used a gauzy flower ribbon and glue-dotted it to one of my cake plates to give it a vintage feel.

I designed paper hats and used crepe paper for the pom poms on top.

I created a banner and printed it out on heavy card stock and used brads to hold it together then glue dotted it to the wall.

I bought water bottles and made the labels match the rest of my theme with the birthday girl's name.

The cupcake bunting was also made on the computer and was super easy as it was just plain pink with the letters "Happy birthday Emily."  I used pink string and 2 paper straws to hold it together.  Again, more glue dots!!!!  Love the glue dots!

The frame is what actually inspired the design of this party.  I found it at TJ Max for $9 and decided right there that I was going to have an ice cream social with the main event printed inside. All the printables for the toppings and the cake stand are by Eat, Drink, Chic by Amy Moss and can be downloaded FREE here.

I used anything I could that was around the house.  I had an earring holder that was shaped like a body and I printed up a sign for the top of it and hung the favor bags from the necklace hooks.

The favor bags were made of pink tulle and I printed up the free download from Eat, Drink, Chic and just adjusted it to fit the kids names.

The kids table was set for 3 girls.  The 3 boys had a separate table in blue with the blue hats and chocolate mustache suckers which my daughter made by picking up a mold at the craft store for $2.  I can't believe how easy it was and she is only 9!

The tiny dishes that held the toppings were purchased also at the craft store for $1.99 each and had pink polkadots so I was pretty happy.  The pink bowls were purchased at the dollar store as were the napkins. The ice cream paper bowls came with lids and wooden spoons, also $1.99 for 6 at Michaels craft store.

I bought the food mostly at World Market which is an import store.  We served lemon wafers, mini macaroons, vanilla wafer straws, cherries, nuts,  cone wafers, tons of assorted sprinkles, whipped cream, chocolate, caramel and strawberry sauces.

The cupcakes were a great find at the local grocery store and were 2.99 a piece and we ordered 9 since there were only 6 people.  There was chocolate truffle, cream cheese strawberry and strawberry chocolate.

The cotton candy cookies and strawberry mini cupcakes were from Target for a respectable $10. I think I spent the most on the paper straws than I did anything else!  They were $15 for 50.

Here is my total breakdown:

  • Crepe paper ...$2.00
  • Brads for banner ...$2.50
  • Ribbon.....4.99
  • Water bottles...$6.00
  • Glue dots...$5.00
  • Pink frame... $9.00
  • Favor bags ...$3.00
  • Mini pink flower lip gloss for favor bags...$4.50 for 3
  • Chocolate mustache mold with chocolate chips for melting...$6.00
  • Straws...$15.00
  • Grocery store items...$60.00 which included all the ice cream etc. with the toppings
  • Paper ice cream bowls...$2.00
  • Cupcakes...$27.00
  • Pink bowls ...$3.00
  • Imported wafers...$25.00
The total price for this entire party was approximately $175.00.

The best part was that I didn't spend a month planning this party.  It was thrown together in 2 days thanks to the pink vintage frame which sparked the idea as well as the free downloads which saved me from creating my own.

To finish the post, I ask each member what their top 5 money saving tips are...

Oh, I guess my 5 things would be:

  1. Own a computer for printing up labels, banners, hats, etc.
  2. Shop at the thrift stores and dollar stores.
  3. Use items around the house and embellish them to fit your party theme.
  4. Glue dots work for everything... and I mean everything.
  5. Presentation.  Make it pretty. My table only had 3 cake stands, 5 small dishes and a frame.  Not a lot all by itself.  Pretty them up and you have yourself a party!
Thank you, Shelley, for all these wonderful tips and details. Your creativity is amazing and you are truly a money-saving inspiration! :)

A Little Treasure
Ellison Reed
The Chic Room Shop


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