Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

Throw an outdoor party on a budget -- we have paper decorations, easy snack ideas, and even a fun dip-dye technique that transforms dollar-store napkins into perfect party accessories.

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    Throw an Inexpensive Party

    By focusing your party on a few snacks and a simple color scheme executed with patterned paper and pretty, inexpensive napkins, you can throw an outdoor fiesta on a budget. Get our how-to techniques and patterns to complete a handful of hanging medallions, fans, and dip-dyed napkins.

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    Make: Paper Medallions

    Hang these large fold-em-up paper medallions over the featured table to create a more intimate atmosphere. Match them to your color scheme and vary the size -- they're sure to be a conversation starter.

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    Make: Paper Fans

    Accordion-folded fans keep you cool and make cool decorations. Stick them in a box filled with sand for a DIY party centerpiece.

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    Make: Dip-Dye Napkins

    Use our easy-peasy dip-dye technique to jazz up basic cloth napkins. The same $10 technique works to create a cotton table runner or place mats.


    To make the napkins:

    1. Follow the package directions for fabric dye. Add 2 cups warm water to each of 3 deep bowls (stainless steel or glass). Add 1 cup dye solution to the first bowl; 1/2 cup solution to the second; 1/4 cup solution to the third.

    2. Dip a folded white cotton napkin into the weakest dye solution, leaving the top section undyed. Leave in solution about 15-30 seconds. Squeeze to drain excess dye. Continue by dipping napkin at a lesser depth in each of the heavier solutions to achieve an ombre effect.

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    Watch: Our Dip-Dye Tutorial!

    See our dip-dye technique in action, then use it to turn dollar-store napkins and table runners into showstopping party decor.

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    Make: Candleholders

    Give jars a bright makeover with a quick coat of transparent paint. Mix and match shades for easy (and inexpensive!) mood lighting.

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    Decorate: Bandannas

    Basic bandannas make a beautiful table runner when layered with grocery-store flowers. We love a combo of crisp white and blue.

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    Make: DIY Party Favors

    Send guests home with a jar of homemade maple mustard and they'll be thanking you all grilling-season long.

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    Make: Wine Labels

    Sip on the cheap! Disguise an inexpensive bottle of wine with our personalized wine wrap.

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    Serve: Watermelon Punch

    Watermelon is in season and on sale. Blend with white grape juice, lime, and mint for a refreshingly sweet summer drink.

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    Serve: Cheesy Snack Mix

    Budget-friendly bites like cheese crackers, rice cereal, and shoestring potatoes are perfect for this quick snack mix.

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    Serve: Caramel Popcorn

    Your guests will gobble up this salty-sweet blend. This big-batch recipe can be customized with any nut you like!

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    Serve: BBQ Potato Chip Crunch Dog

    Homemade sauce makes hot dogs totally party-worthy. Top with crushed chips just before serving for extra crunch.

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    Serve: Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad

    Pantry staples like pasta, eggs, and mayo make for one amazing pasta salad.

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    Serve: Frozen Cocktail Treats

    Put the "aah" in August (or any other warm-weather month) with these cool-off cocktails. These adult-only sippers are served frozen and in glasses so you don't miss a drop.

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    Serve: Peanut Butter Brownies

    Who says brownies have to be basic? Beat the box with our incredible peanut butter bars.

  • Next Slideshow How to Throw a Casual Mexican Taco Party Like a Chef

    How to Throw a Casual Mexican Taco Party Like a Chef

    Whether you're celebrating Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, or just a low-key Friday night with friends, a build-your-own-taco buffet and a few colorful decorations make for a fun Mexican-theme party. "Top Chef" judge and frequent party host Hugh Acheson shows you how.
    Begin Slideshow »
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