12 Cheap & Creative Decorating Ideas For That Graduation Party You Promised To Throw

It's graduation season and if you have a graduation party to plan and throw, that just adds to the general craziness of this time of year. It seems there's another event, especially if you're a parent of a graduate, every single night for weeks on end, leaving very little time to prepare for a very important party you're hosting yourself. If you're in that camp, you'll want to peek at these affordable decorating ideas for graduation parties that will make your grad feel celebrated.

Whether you're sprucing up a store bought cake with fresh flowers or creating a backdrop so the guests can take photos with graduation props, there's a ton you can create or buy for your upcoming graduation party that doesn't cost a lot. If you're marginally creative, you can make most of these things yourself, and if you're just totally short on time, there's a lot of options for you to click and order or pick up from a local store. It might feel like this season is going to get the best of you, but you can absolutely make this graduation party something more than typical and a lot more exciting for your graduate.

Here are some special projects and products that will help your graduate feel celebrated and impress your guests.


Cupcake Toppers

Glitter cupcake toppers ($8, Etsy)

Cupcakes are some of the easiest and cheapest treats for a party, but they can also look a little boring. Make them look a little more festive with customized cupcake toppers. Whether you order them or DIY them, they're bound to liven up the dessert table.


Photo Booth Backdrop

Of course, this generation appreciates a good photo backdrop from which to Snapchat and/or Instagram. Giving them a dedicated and gorgeous spot will definitely help the party stand out from the crowd. You can get as elaborate or minimal as you want with this.


Photo Bunting

Photo bunting ($21, Etsy)

You can easily make photo bunting for the cost of some string, some mini clothespins, and printed photos. The hardest part is choosing what photos best represent the life of your graduate!


Spruce a Grocery Store Cake

Many grocery stores now offer the option for a tiered naked cake for a very reasonable cost. They'll even add on fresh flowers if you provide them, making for a beautiful statement dessert for the party.


Grade Photo Banner

Grade photo banner ($18, Etsy)

If you or your kid is graduating from high school, this is banner is an excellent way to see how your graduate has changed over the years in the same type of photo. And really, everyone loves a throwback, so this one will totally be fawned over.


Photo Booth Props

Photo booth props ($15, Etsy)

This specific set is perfect for a graduation party. Time to adult couldn't be more true right about now!

But of course any type of photo booth prop would be a hit, because they're just fun.


Confetti Balloons

Confetti balloons ($7 for 20 balloons, Amazon)

Not regular balloons, confetti balloons. That's what your party needs. Order these from Amazon and borrow a helium tank from a friend or have them blown up at your local grocery store. They'll probably charge you next to nothing for the helium.


Smart Cookie Favors

This little favor project from Studio DIY is as sweet as can be. She used a Cricut machine, but you could easily use an Xacto knife and cut out a whole bunch of these free printables while watching a few episodes of Brooklyn 99.


Photo Booth Frame

Photo booth frame ($9, Amazon)

For $9 and free shipping with Amazon Prime, you definitely don't need to try to DIY this cute photo booth prop. It's adorable and your grad can have it in her room for the whole summer to remember her fab party!


Graduation Punch

I don't know why more parties don't feature punch. It's almost always surprisingly delicious, it's easy to whip together, and it's way better for the environment than individual bottles of water or Coke (so long as you use recyclable paper or plastic cups, not styrofoam). My grandma's recipe always involved adding a gallon of sherbet ice cream at the end and tasted like Creamsicles.


Diploma Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes ($5, Target)

This no-bake, no-effort recipe has two steps. First, buy Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes at the grocery store (any tube-shaped cookie will work). Second, tie ribbons around them as though they're diplomas. Too. Easy.


Rubber Ducky Graduates

Rubber ducky graduates, $9 for a dozen, Amazon

If you're making punch for your graduation party, float a few of these rubber ducky graduates in the mixture. It's sure to make people scoop twice!