I recall making the decision to host my first themed Halloween party. Choosing the theme was the easy part. Within our circle of friends, our house is referred to as “The Shire” (that’s mostly because my husband has hairy feet, but also because we’re big fans of The Lord of the Rings movies). Going with a Lord of the Rings theme was a no-brainer for me, but the next phase of the party planning process wasn’t so easy. I knew I wanted decorations, and because I’m a pretty crafty person, I also knew I wanted to make them myself. So, where to find easy, DIY party decorations I could create on my own with minimal expense?
I imagine there are other party planners out there with the same concerns, especially if you’ve ever heard something like this:
“Mooooommmmm, I want a superhero party this year! Joey had one last year, and it was awesome! There were superhero decorations everywhere, and we played this really cool game, and Joey had a Batman cake, and…”
Yea, I’ve been there too. Kids love themed parties, and the decorations you can find at party supply stores are great, but sometimes you want a little more. You want something that will stand out and make your child’s party memorable and special.
That’s where I was…I wanted to DIY this party, and I had a few ideas, but I knew I had to do more research to come up with a really awesome plan. Below are three places to look if you’re planning a themed party and need inspiration for your party decorations.
Pinterest is most likely the #1 go-to website for anybody looking for DIY projects, including party decorations. If you haven’t discovered Pinterest yet, you’re in for a real treat!
Pinterest is a very simple (and super-easy to use) website…you search using a few key words, Pinterest provides you with a selection of “pins” that relate directly to your key words, and you save any pins you like on “boards” that you create. When you have time to go back and take a closer look, you can log into your account and revisit any of the pins you saved previously. Most pins are linked to a website or blog with additional information.
Pinterest is a pretty impressive search engine in its own right, although I’m not sure how many people see it in that light. To be honest, most of the visitors we see on our site come from Pinterest rather than Google or any other search engine. For that reason, I head to Pinterest first when I’ve chosen my party theme and I’m ready to start researching decoration ideas.
If you’ve visited Details Party Designs on Pinterest, you know we have boards for individual party themes as well as more general boards for things like party tips, kids birthday party ideas and adult party ideas. For me, organizing my boards into specific themes really helps me start to narrow things down and focus on what I want to do for each party. Pinterest is key in helping me find relevant, simple ideas for just about any theme my kids can dream up.
If you know about Pinterest, you’ve probably heard about Etsy as well. There are quite a few Etsy pins on Pinterest, so it would be hard to know about one and not the other. Etsy is a marketplace for the sale of handmade crafts. So, why do I refer to Etsy when I’m wanting to DIY my own party decorations? Simple, I get some great ideas from what other people are crafting and selling.
Have you ever gone to a craft fair and end up finding ideas for things you swear you’re going to make yourself one day in the future? I do this a lot. In fact, my husband frequently tells me, “Honey, you can make that yourself” when we see something unique at a craft fair or art show. Don’t worry; I purchase plenty of handcrafted items at the events I frequent, but as most crafters know, half the fun of attending a craft fair is the inspiration factor. We learn from and feed off each other. Crafters are a very giving group of people, and it really shows at these events.
With that said, Etsy is one of the best places to go to find theme-specific, popular items you can use for your parties. You may even choose to simply buy an item if that’s a better option for you based on time and expense.
Michaels and Joann Fabrics
This may seem like an unconventional place to find ideas for party decorations, but it really works. I am a frequent shopper at both Michaels and JoAnn’s, and not long ago I discovered Michaels has this nifty tab on their app for “Projects.” If you click on that tab, it takes you to a huge list of projects you can DIY on your own (or with your kiddos). Each project includes a complete list of needed supplies, links to purchase those supplies through Michaels (online), and instructions to craft the project. You can even search for various topics or themes.
Joann’s has a similar feature which includes lots of general party ideas (party favors, games, etc.). Both sites offer recipes, decoration ideas, party favors (goody bags), and gift suggestions…all of it designed with crafters in mind.
Make Your Party Decorations Your Own
Wherever you find your inspiration, I suggest avoiding the common trap of feeling like you need to craft your version exactly like the one in the photo. Make it your own. Use different materials, vary your colors, embellish on the basic concept, and add your own flair to it.
For example, I found this cool bunting idea for my daughter’s DC Superhero birthday party on Pinterest. You can see my finished product looks nothing like the original! I cut capes from a thin black material (rather than multiple colors), and my letters were designed in Powerpoint with different superhero insignia as backgrounds. The Pinterest pin was an inspiration that led me down the path to a decoration I was quite happy with once I completed it. I didn’t even try to copy the original idea.
That’s not to say you can never mimic an idea. If you find it on a public forum like Pinterest, you can reproduce it down to the last detail if you want…just don’t turn around and sell your version if it looks just like the original.
Let the ideas you come across in your research inspire you, but don’t let them restrict you. You’ll enjoy the party planning experience much more if you follow that simple mantra.
I hope you find this information useful. You can find more resources and some great decoration ideas on our Resources and Party Themes pages. Any purchases you make through links found on those pages help us maintain this website. We appreciate your support.