Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Give jars a bright makeover with a quick coat of transparent paint. Mix and match shades for easy (and inexpensive!) mood lighting.
Basic bandannas make a beautiful table runner when layered with grocery-store flowers. We love a combo of crisp white and blue.
Make: DIY Party Favors
Send guests home with a jar of homemade maple mustard and they'll be thanking you all grilling-season long.
Make: Wine Labels
Sip on the cheap! Disguise an inexpensive bottle of wine with our personalized wine wrap.
Serve: Watermelon Punch
Watermelon is in season and on sale. Blend with white grape juice, lime, and mint for a refreshingly sweet summer drink.
Serve: Cheesy Snack Mix
Budget-friendly bites like cheese crackers, rice cereal, and shoestring potatoes are perfect for this quick snack mix.
Serve: Caramel Popcorn
Your guests will gobble up this salty-sweet blend. This big-batch recipe can be customized with any nut you like!
Serve: BBQ Potato Chip Crunch Dog
Homemade sauce makes hot dogs totally party-worthy. Top with crushed chips just before serving for extra crunch.
Serve: Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad
Pantry staples like pasta, eggs, and mayo make for one amazing pasta salad.
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.
Serve: Peanut Butter Brownies
Who says brownies have to be basic? Beat the box with our incredible peanut butter bars.