This season is filled with reasons to celebrate—graduations, confirmations, Mother’s Day, baby showers and (not least) the arrival of sunny skies and daffodils. So settle on a good excuse to throw a spring gathering, then raid your recycling bins, craft-supply closet and local thrift shop to make some DIY party decorations that are as delightful as they are economical! It’s fast, simple and fun to transform newspaper, tissue paper, scraps of fabric, and old cans and jars into flowers, vases, place holders and even table linens. And you get to pat yourself on the back for throwing a party that’s green in more ways than one.
Paper Flower Chandeliers
Hang these whimsical paper blossoms above your dining table, buffet table or sideboard to create a playful focal point for any party or springtime gathering.
Download the Paper Flower Chandelier instructions and template
Cut out the flower and leaf templates in varying sizes and trace them onto tissue or newspaper. Cut out a bunch and glue onto bare branches from your yard. Pop two or three branches in a vase for a simply delightful party decoration. To make our green vase, we cleaned out an old clear juice bottle, poured in a bit of latex paint and swirled it so that the interior was covered with a thin coat. Pour out any excess paint and allow the vase to dry.
Download the flower template
Download the leaf template
Floral Napkin Rings
These blooming napkin rings double as brooches that guests can wear home.
Download the Floral Napkin Rings instructions and template
Pretty Party Place Settings
Pick up mismatched plates from a thrift shop or an inexpensive home store. Create napkins from squares of plain linen fabric (use pinking shears to cut), tie with a ribbon and add a floral napkin ring.
TIP: Make place settings feel more playful by combining solids and patterns, sizes and shapes. To tie the table together visually, use matching napkin rings and place holders.
Petite Place Holders
Clean out tiny baby food, honey or condiment jars and stamp with guests’ names for place holders that can turn into party favors at the end of an event. For the grass base, cut a rectangular piece of tissue paper long enough to fit around the jar (with about a quarter inch of overlap), fold it in half lengthwise twice and cut tiny v’s about halfway down along one edge. Unfold and wrap around the jar. Secure with a dab of craft glue and allow to dry. Add water and a fresh flower—cut so that it will sit just above the lip of the container.
Recycled Can Collection Centerpiece
To create this stylish centerpiece, wash out an assortment of cans from the recycling bin and paint the outside of each one with acrylic or latex paint. Allow to dry. Cut a piece of decorative wrapping or scrapbook paper to wrap around the middle of the cans. Secure with glue or double-sided tape and embellish with a length of twine or thin rope. Fill some cans with flowers (like tulip and ranunculus) and plant herbs in others (you’ll want to lay an inch of gravel in the bottom for drainage before filling with soil). Remember to keep the look casual and charming.
Make multiple strands to hang in a window or in front of a mirror. Print out the leaf template once at full size and once slightly reduced. Trace each template onto a small stack of tissue paper in one or two shades of green. Cut out the leaves and punch a hole in the top center of each one. Thread a pair of leaves onto one end of a length of ribbon and tie a knot. Continue threading pairs onto the ribbon the same way every 4 inches until you reach the opposite end.
Download the leaf template
That's a Wrap Party Favors
Use scraps of decorative paper, brown paper bags or newspaper to wrap take-home party favors. Embellish using twine, leaves cut from corrugated cardboard or even a length of thin rope.
- Create a color story. We used fresh greens and yellows for these crafts, but you can achieve the same lovely effect by settling on any spectrum of the color wheel. Try varying shades of blue (periwinkle to navy) or even purple (lavender all the way to fuchsia).
- Use what you have. These crafts are meant to look homemade, so see what you can salvage around your house, hit the thrift store to fill in any holes, and turn underused items into inspired decorations.