15 Easy Ideas for DIY Birthday Decorations

Making a themed party out of items you already have at home is easier than you think. Here's a look at cute DIY birthday decorations for inspiration!

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First Birthday Straws
taste of home

First Birthday Straws

Keep your baby front and center with this simple straw topper. To make this easy DIY birthday decoration, start by cutting ovals out of your favorite scrapbook paper. Glue a photo of your baby’s face to each oval and then use a hole punch to cut a hole at the top and bottom of each oval. Thread a paper straw through the holes for a smile with every sip.

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Colorful DIY Lanterns

You need just three things for this eye-catching center piece: tissue paper, decoupage glue (we use Mod Podge) and empty glass jars.

Brush a thin layer of glue onto the jar, then arrange tissue paper on the glue. To seal the pattern, carefully brush another layer of glue over top of the tissue paper and allow it to dry completely. When it’s time to party, pop a small tea light candle into the jar to illuminate your handiwork.

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Dinosaur Balloons
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Dinosaur Balloons

These endearing dinos will give your party an instant Jurassic feel. You can find head and tail patterns online—Pinterest is a great resource for this—or draw your own. Trace them onto scrapbook paper that matches the color of the balloon. Then it’s as easy as cut, stick (with double-sided tape) and hang.

Stay on theme by making a batch of dinosaur cookies.

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Pizza Party Hat
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Pizza Party Hats

For a real pizza party, you’ll need pizza on the plate—and on your head. Look for solid-colored party hats (yellow or red work well). Cut a 1-inch strip of brown kraft paper for the “crust” at the bottom of the hat.

Then, trace pizza topping shapes from online templates or draw them freehand. When you have all your toppings, use double-sided tape or a glue stick to attach them to each hat. Now all you need to do is decide which pizza recipe you’ll make!

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Tropical Drink Umbrellas
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Tropical Drink Umbrellas

Upgrade your drinks with custom drink umbrellas that match the colors of your party. To make the umbrellas, trace a circle onto patterned scrap paper. Cut it out and cut a single slit from the edge of the circle to the center. Fold the edges of the slit over each other to create a cone. Fasten the cone in place with double-sided tape or use a hot glue gun. Finally, make a dot of hot glue in the point of the cone and hold a toothpick in the glue until it cools.

Once you have your drink umbrellas, it’s time to make a big batch of drinks. Here are some of our favorite batch cocktail recipes.

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Magical Unicorn Cups
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Magical Unicorn Cups

Simple drinks get a mystical twist with DIY unicorn cups. This is the perfect finishing touch for a magical unicorn party!

Make a horn-shaped cone out of silver or gold scrapbook paper. Be sure to leave a hole in the cone so a straw can fit through. Tie together colorful ribbons to create a tail. Using a hot glue gun, attached the horn and the tail. Last, use a black marker to draw on the unicorn’s eye.

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superhero balloons
Taste of Home

Superhero Balloons

Fighting off evil villains just got easier with these superhero balloons to back you up!

Look for superhero mask patterns online or draw your own. Trace them onto scrapbook paper, cut them out and use double-sided tape to stick the masks to the balloons.

You can also attach some of the cut-out masks to plastic straws or popsicle sticks so party-goers can hold them up to their faces while they save the world from evil. Don’t forget the superhero party snacks, because fighting for good is hungry work.

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Princess wands party craft
Taste of Home

Princess Fruit Wands

This party treat is as healthy as it is beautiful. To make the wands, cut watermelon into long 1-inch-thick flats. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Put small berries on a barbecue skewer along the “handle” of the wand and watermelon cutouts and larger berries toward the top of the wand. Chill until your princesses and princes are ready to be served.

We have plenty more ideas for magical princess party food to create a truly royal event.

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Birthday Photo Poster
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Birthday Photo Poster

This is one of our favorite ideas for adult birthday parties. Print out dozens of photos converted to black and white, to create a cohesive look. Then, on a large foam-core poster board, arrange the photos in the shape of the birthday age. Once you’ve arranged the photos, attach them to the board with double-sided tape.

At the end of the party, let guests take home photos off the board—or keep the complete board as a keepsake.

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Diy Popsicle Shaped Birthday Cards

Popsicle Fans

A backyard party in the summer heat calls for these colorful fans! Cut poster board into the shape of a popsicle. On the front side of the “popsicle,” glue strips of scrapbook paper. Attach a popsicle stick to the back of the fan with a hot glue gun. Now you have photo-ready party props.

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Football Party Poppers
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Football Party Poppers

These DIY party poppers hide a surprise for your party guests. The construction of each popper is involved—but doable.

Cut black tissue paper in 10-inch squares. Wrap the tissue around a toilet paper roll and secure with tape. Fill the toilet paper roll with candy or small toys. Twist the ends and tie off with string. Cut a 4×8-inch rectangle from scrapbook paper and wrap it directly around the outside of the toilet paper roll. Use tape or hot glue to secure it. Cut and attach thin strips of white tape for the laces.

When the team makes a big play, have everyone tear into their party favor to celebrate! These football-shaped cake pops are another memorable way to celebrate.

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Diy Spa Day Decor
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DIY Spa Day Decor

You can set up a spa party with items you already have in the house. To start, collect a vanity mirror, cotton balls, pretty lotions and candles and place them together on a table. Cut up cucumbers for placing over the spa-goers’ eyes. Then make some fruit-infused water for the true feeling of a luxury spa day.

Don’t forget to light a few candles before your guests arrive!

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Bunting Do It Yourself

Bright Bunting

Making DIY birthday decorations to match the colors and theme of your party doesn’t get easier than this simple bunting. Find a thick ribbon in your desired color. Cut triangles out of colorful paper. Use a hot glue gun to attach the triangles to the ribbon in a pattern. Hang by tying around something, or use sturdy hooks.

Psst: For a banner with a message, use stencils to trace letters onto the paper triangles before you attach them to the ribbon.

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Flags On Cupcakes At Table
Catherine Cruz / EyeEm/gettyimages

Cupcake Toppers

Your homemade birthday cupcakes will look extra sweet when topped with these tiny flags.

It’s easy to make this DIY birthday party decoration with toothpicks, a hot glue gun and colorful scrapbook paper. Cut small rectangles or triangles out of scrapbook paper and glue the shapes to toothpicks. Place one flag in each cupcake for an adorable dessert.

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Movie Night Caddy
Reader's Digest

Movie Night Snack Holders

Sure, the film is great. But a movie night-themed party is really all about the snacks!

Make custom snack holders by taking 12-inch scrapbook paper and cutting it in half diagonally. Fold it into a cone and secure it with tape. Fill the cones with popcorn or candy.

To make this party feel even more special, try one of our flavored popcorn recipes.

Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.