I started pinning items in a newly created “Ellie’s First Birthday” board when she was about 2 months old. You might call it early preparation or you might call it wishful thinking (not a fan of the newborn phase) but either way I was excited about throwing my baby girl her First Birthday party so pin away I will! I was the same way with my oldest, who is now 4, and am pretty fresh off her last birthday which was in November, a successful and fun Wonder Woman party. So as I approach my next party throwing adventure, Ellie turns 1 in March, I thought I would share some things I have learned along the way that might help you throw a little DIY party and save some money too.
5 Tips to Throw a Killer DIY Party
- Plan Ahead– I know this should go without saying, but life gets crazy and then all of a sudden your little one is a week away from a birthday and you have to whip something together. Let me tell you, that is stressful! So my #1 advice is to plan ahead. You don’t have to start pinning 10 months from party time (I am a little cray cray) but I would give yourself at least 6 weeks to prep. The more time you leave yourself the more fun you will have and the less hectic it will be. Start with a Pinterest board or a simple Google Doc to get things in swing and then slowly organize from there.
- Printables– oh boy how I love a good printable. And most of the time I can find them for free. I opt to skip the store bought character party packs in favor of a more DIY approach. It saves me money, adds a personal touch and gives more options for the party theme. I usually start with an idea for a theme and then I search Pinterest for a printable that goes along with it. I will use this as my inspiration point for the rest of the decor. Bonus: free decorations! Just print on some card stock, put in a simple white frame and done.
- Local– I am always in favor of shopping local when I can and this isn’t any different when I throw birthday parties. I can also usually get a better deal from a local company with a little bit of bartering and a smile. You can get everything from party decorations like banners and cake toppers, love Sprinkle of Confetti, to bounce houses and table rentals. I also keep all my parties local by having them in my own house. It’s free, I don’t have to worry about taking a bunch of stuff to a third party location and I can do things ahead of time – a little bit at a time.
- Big Impact/Small Effort– this is key! If I can get grandiose results out of very little effort on my part I am one happy Mom! A few ways to accomplish this is to pick just a couple areas in the house to decorate and then go all out in those areas. It doesn’t take much to make those couple spaces look amazing vs trying to make the entire house look like the party store. Something new I did this year was a sign in our front yard from Card My Yard. Its a local Mom owned business right in central Dallas and boy does it have big impact! You can order a custom sign – “Happy 4th Birthday Molly” and the company comes to your house and sets up the signs and then comes back 24 hours later and takes them down. That’s right – no effort on my part and a huge awesome birthday sign in our front yard. My 4 year old was beyond excited when she woke up to the sign! Another easy way to make a big impact is a bounce house. We get them every year at my child’s request and they are a hit! All the kids love them, it keeps them easily entertained and it just looks like “party time!” – again, all I did was make a phone call and boom! Bounce house.
- Find a Crafty Friend– this might not be possible for everybody but I am super fortunate to have a best friend who is extremely crafty and loves helping throw my kids birthday parties. She is able to help make all my Pinterest ideas come to life and takes my DIY parties to the next level. All the decorations from a balloon wreath to a custom birthday banner every year are thanks to my party-skilled bestie. So if you have a friend who can get down on some party decor then hold on to them!
Bonus advice: keep it simple! I bit off way more than I could chew for my oldest daughters’ 1st birthday and turned into a psycho Mom. Nobody wants that. I was running around the house minutes before party time shouting orders to family members and basically just losing my you know what. Figure out what will make the party special for your child and your family and stick those key things. The party is about having fun and nobody has fun when you are crying in the corner in the fetal position because the balloons aren’t all blown up and the cake isn’t perfect (this might have actually happened).
It’s also completely okay to swing through Chick-fil-A and grab a massive plate of nuggets on your way to the “play place” and a cupcake from the grocery store and call it done. Your little one won’t know the difference and you will get no grief from me…you do you and I’ll do me. Party on Moms!
Double Bonus! Here are links to a few Printables that I LOVE that would make great starting points for a fun DIY birthday party.
- Disney Princess Castle
- Dinosaur Party Circles
- Where the Wild Things Are – super cute theme!
- Happy Birthday Subway Art
- Gold Number 1
How do you party? Celebrate big? Keep it simple? We would love to hear your birthday party ideas!