Our favorite party trend? Creative DIY drink stations that let party-goers play mixologist. We're sharing our favorite beverage stations, including an infused vodka station, a mojito station, and more. Once you set out the listed supplies, you're all ready to party!View Slideshow
Quick! You've got 30 minutes to host a party. It's easier than you think to make the whole affair look like Betty Draper spent days planning it. Fake it 'til you make it with our DIY party tips, quick party recipes, and easy drink ideas.View Slideshow
Send your guests home with super simple and adorable birthday favors that will remind them of the party long after it's over. Our party favors are easy to make and personalize to suit your child's birthday wishes.
Entertain your guests all the way home with domino-theme goody bags. Glue black paper circles to small gift bags in the pattern of domino tiles; use a black marker to draw the dividing line between the domino halves. Carry through the game theme by filling the decorated bags with travel-size games, playing cards, mini puzzles, novelty pencils and puzzle books, or other favors that match your party atmosphere. Use the domino bags as fun carry-home totes for all your guests' party treats.
Store-bought birthday hats and noisemakers in your child's party colors are easily transformed into themed birthday favors. You can also make your own hats by rolling pieces of cardstock into cone shapes (use a store-bought hat as a pattern). Make a hat pom-pom by layering small squares of tissue paper, tying them tightly in the middle, fluffing the layers, and clipping the ends into thin fringe. Stack cardstock and patterned paper shapes to make embellishments for the hats and noisemakers. Print your child's name, the party theme, and the date on a paper cutout as the topper, or print each guest's name on the topper. For the noisemakers, cut a paper strip and punch a hole in each end. Slip the end of the noisemaker through both holes and glue the topper to the strip. For an easy party activity, provide the supplies, and let partygoers decorate their own hats.
Editor's Tip: Use the same paper-layering techniques to make accents for goody bags. Glue paper cutouts, such as rows of scallops, polka dots, swirls, or other theme-related icons, onto plain lunch-size paper bags. Fill with your choice of take-home gifts, and top with paper confetti strips for color.
Give the girls a little TLC with inexpensive and practical lip balm favors. Buy lip balm sticks in bulk at your local drug or grocery store. Remove the original labeling, adhere a strip of scrapbook paper around the barrel, tie a thin ribbon in a bow, and embellish with a pearl accent attached with hot glue. Distribute individually, or add to a spa gift basket containing lotion, body wash, and pretty nail polish.
Kids will love bringing wacky self-portraits home from the party. Set up a spot in your house or yard where kids can pose with funny props, or take candid photos during the party. Print digital pictures on a home photo printer. Let guests decorate a wooden picture frame or craft one from colored cardstock. Slide the pictures into the frames, and write the date and occasion so the kids can remember the good time with friends forever.
Editor's Tip: If you can't print the photos during the party, mail or hand-deliver them as a thank-you gift.
If a bowling party scores with your child, costume all the guests in appropriate bowling attire. Dress up discount-store plaid or striped button-up shirts with felt bowling appliques. To make the background and the bowling ball, use plates or bowls as templates. Use our bowling pin pattern, available below, for the pins. Cut out the components of the pins, ball, and background from felt. Iron doubled-sided fusible web to all the components, and iron the appliques to the shirts.
This playful bag holds special treats for kids to take home at the end of the party. Buy small favor bags at a party store or craft your own by stitching together fabric scraps. Embellish the bags using ribbon, rickrack, lace, novelty trims, small charms, paper tags, or whatever suits your party's theme. Fill the bags with candy and small toys, such as playing cards, miniature puzzles, chewing gum, or toy cars. Tie the bag with a bright ribbon.
This favor is a gift that keeps on giving -- at least until the lollipop is gone. Layer a lollipop between two circular paper cutouts. Staple them together so the lollipop stays in place. Decorate the lollipop covers with layered cutouts in theme-appropriate shapes and colors, bright embellishments, and a tag with a handwritten thank-you message. Place the lollipops in a basket by the door so guests can grab a sweet treat on the way out.
Who could have so much fun with orange soda? You, your birthday child, and the birthday party guests! Print the desired number of our owl beverage wrappers and trim the edges using a crafts knife or paper cutter. Allow extra length for overlapping. Cover each bottle's logo with a printed label, using double-sided tape to secure. Add a birthday message or thank-you note to customize the label. Send each guest home with a party-dressed bottle.
Editor's Tip: Design your own bottle wrappers to suit your party theme. Use the owl design as a template, and create your own labels using party-themed images and text.
The beloved candy bar gets in the party mood with little fun papers. Wrap individual candy bars in bands of scrapbooking paper to match the party theme or colors. Add personality with layers of scallops, punched-out shapes, and printed phrases for a party favor that's sweet inside and out.
For an island-inspired party, every guest needs a lei or two to take home. Give guests a proper Hawaiian welcome with store-bought leis at the door. Then let guests create their own custom-designed paper versions during the party. Cut out Hawaiian flower shapes from multiple colors of corrugated craft paper or cardstock. A scrapbooking punch makes quick work of this task, but kids might also enjoy cutting out the flowers using a stencil. Punch a small hole in the center of each flower. Using a long length of heavy string, yarn, or embroidery floss, string the flower cutouts, separating each flower with a round or tube-shape bead. You can also cut short lengths of colored plastic straws to use as dividers. Continue stringing the flowers and beads until you're happy with the result. Knot the ends of the string together, and your party favors are ready to say "mahalo" to your child's party guests.
Craft tiny baskets using layered cupcake liners in colors that coordinate with your party theme. Tie a thin string around the bottom liner or carefully sew through the layers to keep the liners from spreading. Use string or chenille stems as handles. Fill the baskets with trail mix, snack mix, dried fruit, small candies, or other treats.
Editor's Tip: Large nut cups in birthday patterns and colors would also work well as the base for these mini baskets. Nut cups and cupcake liners come in a wide assortment of colors and patterns. Check out crafts stores, cake decorating supply stores, and online retailers for options.
When travel, exploration, geography, or even pirates is the birthday party theme, this clip-on compass makes a useful and fun party favor. Attach the compass, available at party supplies stores, discount stores, and online retailers, to cardstock printed with a map, and add a personal message from your child. Rather than wait until the end of the party to present the take-home gifts, you might want to distribute them at the beginning. Use the compasses for party games. For example, give teams of guests treasure maps with directions such as "Walk 10 paces west. Walk 20 paces north." If they follow them correctly, the directions should lead to a treasure you've hidden.
Caramel apples are always a kid favorite. Bring out the giggles by giving the apples silly expressions. To make, cut the facial features from fondant and stick onto prepared caramel apples. Wrap the finished apple faces in clear treat bags and tie with a color-coordinated ribbon to send home.
Make memories at the party with personalized frames for party pictures or other special memories. Give each guest a basic picture frame. Provide glue and a colorful selection of sparkly jewels, feathers, ribbons, beads, scrapbooking charms, and glitter glue. Let the fun and laughter fill the air as the guests create their own masterpieces to take home.
Editor's Tip: Make sure guests always remember the birthday party. Tuck a copy of the party invitation behind the frame glass, or use scrapbooking supplies to make a tag for guests to attach to each frame. For a simpler approach, print the party details on a sticker to attach to the back of the frame.
Let table decorations double as party favors. Buy weighted photo holders at a crafts or home accessories store. Cut out fun paper shapes from festive scrapbooking or other heavy paper to add instant flair to a table. Let the theme guide you; stars, butterflies, sports emblems, flowers, birds, and other favorites are easy to make. If you're uncertain about your cutting skills, use a large punch in the desired shape; you'll find lots of options at crafts and scrapbook supplies stores. Clip the cutouts into the holders, and arrange on the table. At the end of the party, send guests home with the holders and their decorative inserts.
Editor's Tip: Make a memory for your child and her party guests. Take digital photos of the birthday child and each guest. Print out the photos, and send each guest home with a party picture to display in the holder.