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Did you know you can buy helium balloons at the dollar store? Shiny foil ones in tons of colors? Until just a few weeks ago, I had missed this useful piece of info.

new years centerpiece

My friends and I love having parties. They’re usually not the Pinterest-worthy, everything-perfected kind of deal, but they do include the important stuff: a group of people enjoying each other’s company, acting silly, and taking photos with bad lighting and phone cameras.

new years photo backdrop

As the new year approached, my friends and I decided that we wanted to have a big one to say goodbye to 2016. We wanted to dress up. Drink champagne. Come up with goofy themed cocktails and, for a change, actually decorate.

Guess who volunteered to provide the decorations?

Without wanting to spend a fortune on those absurdly expensive New Years Eve party kits (because when the choice is champagne vs party hats, you choose champagne), I got resourceful.

diy new years decorations

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Most of what I bought new came from the dollar store, but I kind of challenged myself to try to reinvent what I could find around the house into anything that fit into a New Year’s Eve color scheme (I went with classic gold/silver/black/white). I had multiple rooms to decorate, so spending as little as possible was a huge factor.

For instance, I took this janky old tree that had a past life as Christmas decor that should have been donated to Goodwill a long time ago (come to think of it, did I originally get it from Goodwill?)…

Small gold tree destined for the trash

…I took it apart (the branches came off with a quick tug), and used it as vase filler.

Vases filled with greenery

I also nabbed a number of dollar store altar/devotional/prayer candles and gave them a small makeover with some gold leaf flakes and Mod Podge that I had in my office‘s craft supply (you can use actual gold leaf adhesive as well, but I wanted to see if good ol’ MP would work as a decent substitute… it worked great!).

Candles with gold leaf flakes

The idea was that by combining a big mix of accents all in the same color scheme, it would work out to a massive centerpiece for my friend’s kitchen. I wound up including jars of Hershey’s kisses, smaller candles, old Christmas ornaments, etc…

Candles and vases

I took most of these photos at my house while the actual party was at a friend’s place. I would show you the actual setup itself, but I 1) had to rush off to dinner when I dropped off all the decorations; 2) the lighting was low; and 3) getting a perfect shot for my blog would have seemed like the silliest excuse for interrupting the flow of the party. Thankfully though, I took these pics as a preview to send to my friend prior to, so I can share them with you! ;)

Because it seemed like the party wouldn’t be complete without them, I made some photo props with hand lettering, a glue pen (I highly recommend this ball point one), a wooden dowel variety pack (P.S. kabob sticks are a good substitute if you can’t find them), and lots of glitter (mostly with stiff scrapbook paper).

Glitter lips and cheers props

(By the way: some of my favorite glitter is this collection from Martha Stewart. I also have a number of colors from this Tulip collection, but I like the MS ones better because it’s finer as far as the size of each flake and overall sparkle.)

If you’re wondering about the star-shaped foil confetti: I used a star punch and a foil gift bag from the dollar store. Like I said — I got resourceful!

Finally, I made a sign out of some lettering and plywood with a perfect-for-this-particular-friend-group-and-my-sense-of-humor phrase. I intended on drilling through the letters to make a marquee style sign (A Beautiful Mess was probably my biggest inspiration), but I ran out of time and needed to wash the paint off so I didn’t look absurd in my fancy dress. Still, thanks to some $3 dewdrop lights I picked up at the Target Dollar Spot, my friends made it into a perfect display!

Get Lit sign
“I’m sure I’ll finish it at some future date” – me, probably lying to myself.

As for the photo backdrop, I created the “Happy New Year” banner using the same glue pen/lettering idea and some fishing wire, along with balloons and white tablecloths from the dollar store (to put in front of the windows) and gold foil curtains I ordered on Amazon. By the time I actually snapped some photos in front of it, the banner had fallen and we’d made a huge mess, but everyone seemed really happy that we finally had a spot that was designated for photos (at our previous parties, we were always noticing that we wanted one in hindsight).

Sarah and Monica

The “2017” tabletop lettering: dollar store balloon weights, bamboo skewers, paper, glue pen, glitter. If I were to do this one over again, I’d probably make the numbers bigger and stand-alone with black glitter as opposed to the circle with gold numbers idea.

Balloon weights as centerpiece

At the party itself, we set up a table with a black tablecloth with the 2017 numbers above, along with a huge spread of plastic champagne flutes (a big thank-you to Candice for assembling them all!). So, once midnight hit, all we had to do was pour… and pour… and pour.

Champagne at midnight

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to just see what spilled out of my head and overall holiday boredom. This was basically what I call classic crafting — the kind where you gather your supplies and just start creating with no real sense of direction, perfection, or polish, and that’s what makes it fun. You make a big mess, somehow get glitter in your bedsheets (still not 100% sure how that happened), and maybe produce something that you’re not super embarrassed to decorate your friend’s house with.

How to throw a New Year's Party collage

We had such a wonderful time; the perfect way to kick off 2017 and celebrate. I’m hoping this will be a big year for the UDH and all of the projects I have planned, so for now, I’ll just wish you all a Happy New Year; lots more to come, and cheers, friends!

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  1. I love love your post very much. And the tabletop lettering is amazing i would do it and make my home more amazing. Love the home decor ideas. I totally got inspired of you. Thumbs up!

  2. I love to host parties but this year my sister is going to host the new year eve’s party. She is a totally newbie, But I’m sure she can get some help from your post and you can save the day. Thanks for sharing such great ideas.