Graduation Party Decorations- Buy vs. DIY
Decor,  Planning

Graduation Party Decorations- DIY or Buy

Are you planning a celebration for a new graduate? A big part of hosting a party is creating the atmosphere, AKA decorations!!! There are many stores and online shops with excellent options for premade and customizable decorations. If you are working on a tight timeline buying them premade can be helpful. If you are working with a tight budget this will require some more creative DIY action. Below I have a list of the 7 most common graduation party decorations with DIY vs. Buy options.

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Graduation Party Decorations-

  • Banners
  • Balloons
  • Streamers, Swirls, Flags
  • Table and Food Settings
  • Photo Booth Props
  • Advice Book/Cards
  • Card Collecting Box

Graduation Party Banners

Buy: There are many places you can order premade party banners. They can be ordered with the year and even personalized with a name and message. Here are some very cool options below!

DIY: Creating a DIY graduation banner is not very difficult. It requires nice handwriting or some stencils, paint or markers, and large poster board or even disposable table cloth. Just write up your message and voila!

Graduation Party Balloons

Buy: With this decoration, you will have to do some buying. You can get pre-blown up balloons at some stores like Party City and Dollar Tree. You could also order the balloons with a helium tank and fill them yourself. This will save you time on the day of the party since helium doesn’t last for days at a time.

DIY: You will still need to buy the balloons no matter what unless you have some in your craft stash. You could skip the helium and just hang them up with tape or string. If you just get the cheaper plain option to stay on a budget a little added flair goes a long way. Markers and stickers can jazz up any plain balloons.

Graduation Streamers, Swirls, and Flags

Buy: Again there are many places you can buy these types of decor in premade packages. They will all be matching and fit your chosen theme. You might have to do a little extra work to personalize them but this will be a great time saver!

DIY: Creating these extras to add to the party atmosphere is very easy to do! Especially if you already some colorful paper and string in your craft stash! Just draw out a big swirl on some colorful paper and cut it out along the line. You can add cute word bubble hashtags and graduation messages hanging from each swirl.

[How-to photos with instructions coming soon!]

Graduation Table and Food Settings

Buy: There are many great graduation themed options for plates, cups, cupcake toppers, ect., available in stores like Party City and Dollar Tree. And again you can also order several price friendly packages of these online as well.

DIY: As far as food dispensing goes you won’t be DIYing plates, cups, and forks. But you can sure DIY some cute cupcake toppers or create a personalized table cloth! Here are some printable Graduation themed cupcake toppers from one of my fellow bloggers! 

Graduation Photo Booth Props

Buy: These can be so entertaining at parties. People love to take selfies- so why not do so in Graduation Party themed style! There are some great pre-made kits out there. Very cute graduation themed props!

DIY: These photo props are very fun to use and create. Grab some scissors, paper, markers, sticks, and tape. Draw or print and cut out the shapes. Tape them to the stick and voila! You can also use some props you already have on hand! Keep that cap and gown out! Roll up a fake diploma and make some word bubbles with graduation year and some hashtags that are special to the graduate!

Bonus: Don’t forget to celebrate the achievements of the graduate with photos! Create a poster board display, scrapbook or even a slide show to showcase your Graduate!

Graduation Advice Book/Cards

This is a great keepsake for the graduate and can def help set the celebratory mood at the party. The guests will have advice, words of wisdom or memories to share with the graduate!

Buy: There are several Graduation themed notebooks available online. Ready for recording!

DIY: You could create your own advice book easily! Just place out some card stock with the instructions for what people can write and have them add the papers to the Card Box (see below) when finished. After the party, you can bind the papers together or even make a scrapbook with them for the Graduate to keep and enjoy!

Graduation Card Collection Box

Many guests to graduation parties bring cards for the graduate. It is nice to have somewhere for these to be gathered. It can also be used to collect the Advice cards mentioned above.

Buy: There are several nice Graduate themed boxes you can order online.

DIY: You could also just use any old box and decorate it in a theme using paint or paper. Just make sure to leave a hole for the cards to be deposited. You can even just use any decorative box or basket you have around your home that would fit this purpose.


These are just the 7 basic and most used Graduation Party Decorations. I hope you have enjoyed my ideas. Please let me know if you think I left any important ideas out! I always would like to add to my list!!!!


If you haven’t already please read my post-Graduation Party Planning on a Budget.



I am a mom of two sweet kiddos. One boy who is 6 and one girl who is 3. Before kids, I was a Kindergarten teacher who loved to entertain and plan parties. I still love to entertain, now I just do so on a busy mom budget. Follow me for all the party tips, tricks, and hacks you can imagine!

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