Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Decorating for a Birthday on a Budget

When we planned Emerson's first birthday party, the only time that would work for us was having the party on a week night, so we knew we needed to feed people.  Everything else would have to be cheap, inexpensive, and (hopefully) cute.  Last year my mother in law graciously gifted us a "party in a bag" that included plates, napkins and invitations.  I planned on using those, and working from there. 

The invitations (sorry, no pictures) were a mix of a set my mother in law gave us, and some blank note cards.  I figured it didn't really matter if they matched.  

The package of plates from my MIL only included eight, so I knew that wouldn't be enough.  To get more, I headed over to the Dollar Tree and got two twenty packs of purple plates for $2.  Who could beat that?!

We also had a matching set of sixteen napkins, and I used some leftovers from my wedding shower.  I always save extra picnic ware from take out in this lovely little caddy, so I simply pulled out everything that wasn't black.  
For the rest of the house, I created card banners from my saved childhood cards.  I had close to twenty years of cards to choose from, but I think if you asked friends to save theirs, you could have enough for a free banner in no time.

I used decorative scissors to trim the cards, and they turned out really well!  I just cut the triangles, hung it on left over ribbon (saved from gifts), knotted either side of the card, so it didn't slide, and hung them.

Then my lovely sister made this banner out of sticky notes that I had left over from teaching, and some salvaged chord from a wedding present. 

We also got some helium balloons as a little present to E.  These were from Dollar Tree, so they were a dollar each.


 Lastly, here are all of the cupcakes I baked for Emerson's party.  I used 4 boxes of cake mix, and 4 tubs of frosting colored with food coloring.  On top of the cup cakes I used Jelly Bellys to decorate.  For all 96 cupcakes that I baked, it cost around $10.

It was a very happy birthday party indeed.


  1. By the way, one thing I used to do for Matthew. You can save the balloons (the cellophane? ones - I can't remember what their made of - those silver ones. When they start to sag, insert a straw gently into the valve. They should deflate then you can save them for next year. I added one or two a year, and barring a small hole, had them all for his fifth birthday. Decorations and nostalgia (because the themes, and favorite cartoon characters, changed every year).

    By the way, it WAS a lovely party. Thanks for inviting us.

  2. Banner from old birthday cards: GREAT idea!