Photos and tutorial courtesy of Renee Elliott of recreativeworks.com.
There may be mere weeks left, but it’s never too late to throw the soiree of the summer.
Decorating such a party on a budget is the real challenge. If you’ve got friends who — God forbid — like to eat and drink, you may not have a ton of money left over for the necessary decor.
But being the host or hostess with the mostest doesn’t have to cut into your utilities bill, as long as you get crafty.
Fortunately, there’s a thrifty maven with all the do-it-yourself fiesta tutorials you require — Toronto’s Renee Elliott of recreativeworks.com.
With her homemade how-tos, you can afford to have it all, even an organic dip or two for that gluten free, free-range, vegan non-dairy friend. (You know who you are.)
What you need: A selection of fabric, piece of cardboard, scissors, ruler, chalk, bias tape,iron, straight pins, sewing machine.
1. Create a template for the triangles using cardboard. These are 5.5 inches wide, 4.5 inches long.
2. Trace out triangles on fabric. Cut out enough pieces for the front and back of each triangle.
3. Take two triangles in the same fabric and place them on top of one another with the right side facing in. Sew along the two sides leaving the top unsewn.
4. Turn the triangles right side out and use a pointy object such as a pair of scissors to push the point out. Repeat with all of the triangles.
5. Use the iron to press each triangle to flatten them out.
6. Take the bias tape and open it up. Place the top of each triangle in the centre crease of the bias tape. Fold the bias tape back down and secure it with a pin.
7. Sew along the bias tape.
Paper mache pinata
What you need: Balloon, white craft glue, water, foam brush, disposable container, newspaper, tissue paper (colour of your child’s choice), scissors, string, hole punch.
1. To get started, cut or rip the newspaper into 2- inch strips.
2. Next, mix three-parts glue with one-part water in a disposable container.
3. Blow up your balloon and tie it closed.
4. Using the foam brush, apply the glue to a section of the balloon and attach a strip of newspaper to the glue. Brush more glue on top of the newspaper to set in place. Repeat until the entire balloon is covered, being sure to leave a small hole on the end where the balloon is tied so you can pop the balloon and fill the pinata. Set aside to fully dry. Repeat this step until you have two layers of newspaper covering the balloon. Tip: You may want to place your balloon in a bowl while you are working to hold it in place.
5. Once the pinata has dried, pop the balloon.
6. Now it’s time to decorate. Cut the tissue paper into 3-inch by 3-inch squares. Apply a touch of glue to the top of the tissue paper square and stick it on your balloon surface (by placing the glue only to the top of the square a fringe effect will be created). Start from the bottom up and layer the tissue-paper squares in rows until the entire balloon is covered.
7. To hang your pinata, punch two holes at the top of your pinata and thread a piece of string through the holes.
8. Fill the pinata with candy and enjoy!
Brown bag lantern
(Not the fire hazard you would suspect)
What you need: Paper bags, scissors, sand, electric candles, *optional: decorative scissors, craft punch, cardboard letters and double-sided tape
Decorating the bag:
1. Fold one-third of the paper bag and cut half heart shapes along the fold. When you unfold the bag you should have full heart shapes.
2. Using the craft punch, make a decorative border along the top of the bag.
1. Spell out any word you like using the cardboard letters. Attach them with the double sided tape to the inside of the bag.
2. Using the decorative scissors, trim the top of the bag.
Making the lantern:
1. Fill the bag 1/8 full with the sand.
2. Stick in the electric candle and you’re ready for your patio party!
What you need: Coloured and/or patterned paper, scissors, wood skewers, glue or double-sided tape
1. Cut a three to four inch circle out of your paper (Renee traced the bottom of a large mug to make the circle).
2. Cut out a wedge from your circle (about 1/6th of your circle).
3. Place a little glue or a small strip of tape along one side of the wedge.
4. Bring the two sides of the wedge together and secure with the adhesive.
5. Poke a wood skewer through the top of the umbrella, place in your cocktail and enjoy!