Tonya Coleman here from Soireé Event Design, and I’m back with the “Look for Less” series sharing my Sand & Sea Turtle Party for under $250 using dollar store and thrift store finds!
This party is near and dear to my heart as I designed it for my 5 year old daughter, Riley. We recently moved to Minnesota from California in the dead of winter and Riley is a bit shocked by the climate change. She is a California girl for sure! So, while it’s still a winter wonderland of white snow outside, I wanted to create a warm, beach environment for her inside featuring her favorite animal… sea turtles!
FAST Budget Party Tips!
Check out how I was able to pull off this party in less than a week and for a modest budget of only $228 for 8 guests! When I have to plan a party on a super tight timeline and budget, I always do these 2 things:
1. Check around my house and stash of party stuff for items I can use that match the party’s theme and colors.
2. Take a trip to my local Dollar Store and Thrift Stores to find inexpensive items that I can use in cool ways!
Keep reading for more tips + a budget breakdown of the party!
Create a Water Bubble Wall Display for $1!
Using one pack of blue plastic plates from the Dollar Tree, I was able to create a water bubble wall display that is an inexpensive and super easy wow factor to the party’s decor! Just tape the plates to the wall with a removable tape.
Create Mini Chargers for $1!
To get more bang for my buck, I also used another pack of blue plates in between the gold chargers and the green ceramic plates for an added pop of blue color in the tablescape.
Use Printables to Customize Dollar Store Items!
I also found a must-have for any kid’s party–cups with lids and built-in straws! These super cute green ones were perfect…I adhered a circle printable to it which adds a custom look to the dining table. The Sand & Sea Turtle party printable collection is now available here.
Design a Unique $5 Centerpiece from a Thrift Store Find!
I created a $5 centerpiece from a fabulous bamboo and white shell decor piece found in a local thrift shop. I added a gold charger and blue gems I already had and a printable table sign I designed.
Use Backpacks as Decor For Your Chairs!
Here I hung a pink turtle backpack from the back of Riley’s chair to add a special touch to her chair. This is super easy as backpack straps fit perfectly over the chair back. You can use this tip to add any backpack to your chairs as extra decor AND double as a take-home favor for your guests!
Create Turtle Themed Activities That Double As Take Home Favors!
Decorate Your own Turtle Bank: We used markers & rhinestone stickers to decorate mini ceramic turtle banks…PERFECT for little ones and not as messy as paint!
Doodle Turtle Shell Cookie Activity: I ordered large round cookies from my grocery store bakery and asked them to dip them in smooth icing which dries to a perfectly hard smooth surface to draw on with edible markers!
Use a Printable Cake Topper with a 3D Fondant Topper to Add a High-End Custom Look to a Store-Bought Ice Cream Cake!
1. Buy an undecorated ice cream cake (you can use regular cake also)
2. Cover the entire top of the cake with blue sugar sprinkles to give the effect of sparkly water
3. Place the fondant topper turtle on top like she’s swimming on the top of the cake
4. Top it off with a custom Lolli-tag printable!
5. Place the cake on an elevated cake plate…or in this case…get creative! I used a white dinner plate on top of a wire fruit basket from my kitchen.
6. Place the stand on a large platter then cover the bottom of the platter with brown sugar to look like sand (don’t pack it down)
7. Nestle the store-bought cupcakes into the sugar and sprinkle a little of the brown sugar on top of the icing
8. Top each cupcake with a custom Lolli-tag cupcake topper!
The final look is super custom and high-end!
$228 BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
- “Sand & Sea Turtle” printables ($55 Soiree Event Design Shop)
- 2 packs blue plastic plates ($2 Dollar Tree)
- green cups with lids & straws ($8 Dollar Tree)
- bamboo & shell decor piece ($5 thrift shop)
- gold and green ceramic turtle ($5 thrift shop)
- tablecloths, white vase with green floral centerpiece, gold chargers, green plates, chairs, tables, turtle stuffed animals & large bling turtle bank ($0 already owned)
Activity #1 – Decorate Turtle Banks $22
12 turtle banks ($20 Oriental Trading)
markers ($0 already owned)
rhinestone stickers ($2 Walmart)
Activity #2 – Doodle Cookies $31
8 iced cookies ($16 Byerly’s grocery store)
edible markers ($15 Amazon)
Cake & Cupcake Display $100
ice cream cake ($21 Dairy Queen)
sugar sprinkles ($3 Byerly’s grocery store)
3D custom turtle fondant topper ($65 Edible Details)
cupcakes ($6 Super Target)
brown sugar ($2 Super Target)
silver wire fruit bowl & large white tray ($0 already owned)
Want more “Look for Less” tips and party inspiration? Click over to my blog “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Party Planning” for more party inspiration and tips!