12 DIY Projects for Your Next Birthday Party

Around here, we’re in the minority with our at-home birthday parties. We just can’t budget the expensive parties at bounce houses, playlands, and other fancy-schmancy party spots.

So, I work extra hard to plan super fun parties around a theme the birthday girl can get excited about.

My girls plan their parties all. year. long. Seriously. Lorelai announced the day after her coveted Halloween party that she was having a tea party the next year. And, she did. My Fancy Nancy tea party was a big hit with my 6-year-old and her friends.

She’s been planning her 7th birthday ever since, but I still have half a year to go! Having a party at home means that I can completely control the budget — and have a little fun with the year’s theme. Here are some fun projects that you can tweak to fit any party:

  • Skip the Helium 1 of 12
    Skip the Helium
    Every birthday party needs balloons, but helium filled bouquets are just so expensive. That's why this string of balloons is such a great idea — it hangs them in a fun, festive way without the high cost.
    Photo and tutorial via A Girl and a Boy
  • Create a Banner 2 of 12
    Create a Banner
    Dress up the party area with a birthday bunting. I love this design because you can choose scrapbook paper that fits the theme of your party.
    Photo and tutorial via Crafete
  • Wear Birthday Flair 3 of 12
    Wear Birthday Flair
    Keep the guest of honor at the center of attention with these fun, homemade birthday buttons made out of paper, ribbon, and tulle.
    Photo and tutorial via American Crafts
  • Simplify Party Favors 4 of 12
    Simplify Party Favors
    Oh, goody bags. The bane of my existence. We keep it simple with one, central gift. (Last year, it was handmade Fancy Nancy crayon rolls.) Print a cute thematic label and attach it to a bottle of bubbles. It's pretty much the perfect gift for kids of all ages.
    Photo and more ideas via Martha Stewart
  • Serve Creatively 5 of 12
    Serve Creatively
    This bouquet is a gorgeous way to display cupcakes. Creative displays, Rubber ducky punch, themed food labels — come up with something fun to display the party food. For a construction party, we served chocolate-covered cupcakes in the back of a dump truck.
    Photo and tutorial via Lick That Spoon
  • Decorate the Door 6 of 12
    Decorate the Door
    Start the festivities at the door with a colorful balloon wreath. I totally want to make one we can display throughout birthday week, as I like to celebrate it.
    Photo and tutorial via How Does She?
  • Make Your Own Piñata 7 of 12
    Make Your Own Piñata
    I always say no to the piñata — it's such an expensive thing to let the kids destroy in minutes. With this simple DIY, you'll spend less than $5, using cardboard and cereal boxes you probably already have.
    Photo and tutorial via Imperfect Homemaking
  • Dress Up Party Goods 8 of 12
    Dress Up Party Goods
    You don't have to buy expensive themed paper goods, either. Googly eyes, stickers, marker — it takes just minutes to turn a simple plastic cup into a festive addition to the party.
    Photo and more monster theme ideas via Pickles and Paisleys
  • Design Your Own Party Hats 9 of 12
    Design Your Own Party Hats
    How cute are these? Cardstock and some fabric scraps creates adorable party hats. We have also given the kids stickers and foam to decorate their own hats at the start of a party.
    Photo and tutorial via This Is Me Inspired
  • Create a Backdrop 10 of 12
    Create a Backdrop
    My girls dress up to match their party almost every year. In fact, the youngest chooses her Halloween costume based on her November birthday theme. Take it a step further and create memorable photos of your child and party guests.
    Photo and more superhero via Domestic Charm
  • Pin the Tail on Something 11 of 12
    Pin the Tail on Something
    Pin the Tail on the Donkey is an old standby for a reason — it's simple and kids absolutely love it. Decorate a Teapot, Pin the Tummy on the Care Bear, Pin the Cape on the Superhero are a few ideas we've used.
  • Personalize the Decor 12 of 12
    Personalize the Decor
    Use photos to personalize the party for your little one. This is absolutely perfect for a 1st birthday party, when everyone is already marveling at how much baby has grown.
    Photo and tutorial via Hip Hip Hooray

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