Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Graduation decorations - part 1

My oldest graduates from elementary school in just over a month and I have been hard at work getting things ready for the graduation.  I thought I would share some of the (very low budget) decorations as they could work well for any party, really.

Today: the cake table...
 I have been making multiple garlands to hang on the wall behind the cake table, as well as on the front of the table cloth so that the cake table will look more interesting from far away.  I printed huge letters on the computer (Times New Roman font if I remember correctly) and then cut them out from card stock and threaded them onto some butchers twine.
Then I tied a whole bunch of ribbons, tulle, fabric scraps and seam binding onto the twine.  Total time:  maybe half an hour?
I usually try to avoid the dollar store so that I am not tempted to pick up extra "stuff" but I do tend to go there when I need inexpensive craft supplies for an event at the school.  I was able to pick up bags of mini pom-poms, sorted by colour in each bag, for $1 a piece.  Each bag made one garland about 6 feet long (or so).

 Total time for each pom-pom garland: 15- 20 minutes - but it's fun and you can do it while checking over your kids' homework or something.

I also made a paper garland using squares cut from one of the "too-damaged to sell" books from the used book sale and some wrapping paper that I bought for the centerpieces.  Pretty self-explanatory from the pictures, but you just lay down a large square, squish on a blob of tacky glue, lay your twine over top, and then add another square over that.  I ended up gluing squares to the back too, just in case it tries to flip all over the place when hung on the wall - so I don't end up with a whole row of blah squares.  Total time:  probably close to an hour counting cutting and gluing time together.

The last garland is made of triangles of bristol board that I got from the school's supply room.  They are sewn on my sewing machine using the basting stitch.  I cut 4 2" strips from each colour of board and it made So.Much.Garland!  Note: use quilting thread or button thread for this one - and you will have to play around with the tension on your machine.  Total time for meters and meters of garland: probably 45 minutes.
This is a very rough sketch of what it will look like.  There will be three glass cylinders at the back of the table with a flower or a pinwheel inside and topped off with a paper lantern.  There will also be a row of small glass bottles along the back and each one will have one flower or leaf popped inside.  And of course, the cake and cupcakes.

Here's the cost breakdown:
3 paper lanterns that light up from the dollar store:  $1.00 each.
3 bags of pom-poms:  $1.00 each
The card stock, fabric scraps, glass bottles, and glass cylinders are all supplies from my house.  The flowers and leaves will come from my garden.  The bristol board was from the school.  The table cloth will be one of several I made for the school a few years back so they would stop buying and throwing away a dozen plastic tablecloths for each event.  All free.

Grand total: $6.00 - not counting the cake :)  I don't want to tally the time.

Sharing today at: Keep Calm Craft on over at Frontier Dreams.
                          Ecokids Tuesday at Like Mama Like Daughter
                          Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
                          Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder -because a couple of these are fiber-ey, and heck...I like to join in on that one, and I have nothing else fiber-ey in the works right now (frowny-face).
                          From the Farm blog hop #34
                          Homemade Mondays on Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity
                          Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Creek Cottage


  1. Love it! I just traveled to my son's college graduation. I really wanted to do something interesting like your wonderful display, but the limitations of my carry-on only luggage left me with little choice. I ran into a Target at the last minute (while there) and bought a candle in a glass holder and some "confetti" on clearance. The confetti was small rectangular strips of tissue paper in various colors, which I sprinkled around the cake table (for 4 people, not a big party). I had taken along some printed graduation plates and napkins, and a plain white disposable tablecloth which begged for something to liven it up. The confetti only cost 63 cents and was about 10 times what I needed. I was pleasantly surprised by how that little sprinkling of tissue strips added a cheerful party feel, for pennies, in a few minutes. In retrospect, I could have made it very easily with colored sheets of tissue and a paper trimmer, or a punch. The single candle, and dimming the room lighting, gave enough ambiance to make the simple party seem special. I left the candle with my son (hoping it will be used for a candlelight dinner some day). Traveling with decorations is an added challenge. I can't wait for your part II.

  2. Wowza! This is going to be a great graduation party.

  3. Cool! What great ideas! I'm looking for great (and cheap!) ideas for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. So glad I clicked over from Mostly Homemade Mondays!