Memorial Day — Your DIY Party Guide

Posted by on May 28, 2011

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Karin Hildebrand Lau/Dreamstime


This Memorial Day, you’ve got the menu set (BBQ for everyone), the guest list (hello, relatives) and the venue (yep, your backyard). Now comes the fun part: decorating. But by now, the party store has put the Memorial Day stuff on clearance, leaving only the tackiest of decorations left. Not a problem, because we have a cheat sheet of ten ideas that’ll make your Memorial Day the most fabulous (yet tasteful) one yet.

oilcloth diy table cover
Oilcloth Table Cover

Upgrade an old table (or your standard picnic table) by ”upholstering” the top of it with oilcloth. Just wrap it present-style, securing the cloth underneath the edges with a staple gun. And while it looks pretty, oilcloth will keep you from having to keep buying tablecloths. Its coated surfaces repels spills, stains and moisture damage.
oilcloth diy seat cover
Pretty Seat Covers

While you’re covering the table with oilcloth, why not use the leftover scraps to cover those extra folding seats. It takes maybe five minutes to pop out the seat, smooth over the oilcloth and staple in place. Your relatives will have no idea that the seats sat in the garage for months mere moments before they came by.
diy bunting
Country-Chic Bunting

Time to raid your fabric scrap bag for this easy decoration. Just clip with pinking shears and stitch to a length of ribbon. See, way better than streamers!
diy patriotic cupcake wrap
Patriotic Cupcake Wrappers

Just when you thought cupcakes couldn’t get cuter come these little patriotic wrapper covers. This is a great project for those odd-patterned scrapbook papers that came with your assorted pack. Just cut into strips and wrap around the cupcake to fit. (These covers will also disguise any burned cupcake bottoms.)
rainbow cupcakes
Change Up Your Cupcakes

While we’re talking cupcakes, why not mix things up with this impressive tie-dye technique? Simply fill the wrappers with vanilla cake batter, add a few drops of food coloring and swirl. (Save this for your next bake sale, it’ll be a hit.)
diy ribbon
DIY Award Ribbons

OK, so let’s level here: For children, big family get-togethers are kind of a bummer. There’s grown-ups everywhere (not that there’s anything wrong with us) and it just feels like an awkward environment. But a special little gesture, like a few handmade award ribbons, will make them feel like they’re part of the fun. Or, have them make their own ribbons to hand out. Just cut out a medallion shape and two notched tails and stick together with fabric glue. Hand out markers for instant customization.
diy potato sack race
Potato Sacks with Style

Any other time of the year, at a non-family occasion, a potato sack race would be the lamest thing in the world. But amongst relatives, this Brady Bunch favorite is a-okay. Even fun. Jazz up the pillow cases (because who has potato sacks?) with a fun all-over pattern made by dipping stamps into fabric ink.
diy pinwheels
Perky Pinwheels

Another retro favorite: Pinwheels. Whether used as party favors or placed inside window boxes as decorations, these immediately telegraph a fun party atmosphere. To make them, you’ll just need skewers, grommets and some pretty scrapbook paper. Then, check out the tutorial over at Create Studio.
diy candle lantern
Hanging Upcycled Lanterns

Got jars? Got candles? Great, then you’ve got lanterns! Just pop the tea lights or small votives into the glass jars and place on tables, around walkways or on deck ledges. To hang, wind wire around the jar necks. Then, bend another piece of wire into a handle. Twist the handle ends to the jar neck to secure.
diy ribbon wand
Ribbon Wands

Obviously safer than fireworks and far less messy than confetti, ribbon wands let kids young and old be silly and festive at the same time. To do: Tie lengths of ribbon to wooden dowels, adding a bead of hot glue underneath the knot to keep the flags secure.

Image credits from top: Karin Hildebrand Lau/Dreamstime,,,,,,,,,,

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