Etsy Journal

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The Ultimate DIY Birthday Party Playbook

by Valerie Rains

Jul 21, 2017

Mix and match your favorite handmade ideas—from a sweet (and easy) dessert station to favors guests will treasure—for a more personalized party.

Photo by: Sugar and Charm

All-you-can-play arcade outings and bouncy castles aside, the best parts of any birthday party, in our opinion, will always be the handmade ones. Whether it's a tray of cupcakes with a 50/50 split of the birthday boy's favorite flavors (that he can never quite decide between) or a handmade banner with a nickname only the birthday girl's bffs (or her mom) would know, you can't put a price on personalization. And while we know not everyone has the time to pull off a fully from-scratch birthday celebration, a little bit of hands-on pizzazz is still worth the effort. To that end, we've polled our favorite crafty bloggers and pulled together a grab bag of birthday-ready DIYs you can mix and match to your heart's (or your schedule's) content. Pick one or try them all—whatever the combination, it's a recipe for a day you'll remember for years to come.

The coolest balloons

Inside a single pack of grocery-store balloons, a world of embellishment opportunities awaits. Pom-pom polka dots! Tassel tails! Whimsical neon confetti! Here are five easy DIY ideas for making ordinary balloons feel extra-special—using only everyday craft materials you probably already own.

A custom ice cream feast

Whether you pair it with a cake or skip the baking entirely, a build-your-own ice cream bar is a sweet birthday treat that doubles as an activity. Sugar and Charm's Eden Passante designed a dreamy setup you'll want to replicate for your next summertime celebration.

Good bean fun

Who needs batteries? More active than video games, less messy than water balloons (and perfectly suitable for indoors or out, depending on the forecast), a homemade beanbag toss game delivers hours of fun for a range of ages. The best part? It doesn't require super-advanced sewing skills. Crafter Chelsea Foy of Lovely Indeed shows how it's done.

Favors they'll appreciate

Don't send them home with a bag of (even more) sugary sweets or short-lived plastic thingamajigs. Make and Tell blogger Stephanie Lee's handmade rainbow soaps, formed in a gem-shaped mold, are a useful—and delightful—party favor guests will treasure.

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Valerie Rains

Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.