Erin's DIY: Party decorations on the cheap

When decorating for a party, cheap items can create a big impact.
Dollar stores and dollar sections of stores are great places to stock up on vases, filler and other supplies.
Keep a "party bin" with items that can be used over and over, like glass vases, tins and twine.
A fantastic vase filler you might not think about is split peas.The green color is unique and as long as they don't get wet, you can use them over and over. They also work great under candles.
When picking flowers for a party, skip the elaborate, pre-made bouquet. Pick up a few bundles of brightly colored carnations or cushion daisies. Grocery stores keep flower discount bins where you can pick up a bunch for $1. Carnations get a bad rap, but the stems are perfect for hanging bottle vases, they come in bright colors, they're a nice full flower and they last for weeks. Even the sale ones!
More flower tips: Use short vases, then cut the flowers so they create a nice dome just over the top of the rim. When the stems are shorter, the bouquet will look fuller. Add greenery from your own yard. Snip of a few sprigs of green leaves from trees or bushes. Crepe myrtle leaves are a great compliment for bouquets. And look for full flowers. Gerber daisies are pretty, but creating a full arrangement on the cheap is a lot more difficult than with a full, easily packed flower.
For a different twist on flowers in vases, try hanging them in the trees in glass bottles. Instead of throwing out glass bottles, wash a few and tuck them away. Tie a piece of twine around it and then hang them in the trees with one of two flowers in each. They create a really dramatic effect for mere pennies.
Scrapbook paper is a cheap way to tailor your colors to the party theme or season. One 12x12 square page is usually between $0.25 and $0.50.
To make these pinwheels, cut a 12x12 square down to about 8x12, which will leave you with a 4x12 piece you can make another smaller pinwheel with. Then fold the short end of the paper like an accordion. Fold in the middle and put one staple in the center. Then pull the ends together and secure with a piece of tape. Tape a bamboo skewer to the back.
For more decorating ideas using items already in your home, visit Erin's blog at

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