Graduation Party Ideas, Supplies and Decorations
Whether the graduation party you're throwing is for a kindergartner or a graduate school student, it's a special occasion. We humans like to celebrate our milestones and well we should. Life can be hard (and certainly school can be too), so why not take the time to celebrate the achievments of the people we love?
This page is a one-stop resource for those in charge of the parties to honor graduates. It features the following sections designed to make your graduation party hosting duties easier:
SECTION 1 - Graduation Party Ideas: Theme ideas and videos to help you set the right mood and create a memorable occasion!
SECTION 2 - Graduation Party Supplies: This checklist of commonly needed items will help you stay organized.
SECTION 3 - Graduation Party Decorations: These free graduation flag and cupcake topper template downloads will help you stretch your budget, because you can print them at home.
I've also included links to a number of graduation party supplies and decorations, such as table accessories, music CDs, cake and cupcake decorations, crystal cake plates, centerpieces and so much more, which can be ordered from Amazon.com.
Even if you don't buy any of the items from there, looking at them will give you ideas of your own that I'm sure you'll find helpful. I personally get a lot of creative inspiration from window shopping and I thought others might feel the same.
How to Make a Toga
Spa Theme Graduation Party
Virtually anything can become a graduation party theme, as long as it appeals to the graduate and at least some of his or her friends and family. Below are a few suggestions, but you don't have to be restricted to them. Be creative!
- Any other decade that appeals to you
- Star Wars
- Hawaiian luau
- Backyard pool
- Geisha or Asian
- Vegas casino night
- This is Your Life tribute to the graduate
- Comic roast of the graduate
- Mexican fiesta
The videos to the right will give you more information if you'd like to throw a toga or spa-themed graduation party.
Graduation Party Supplies Checklist
You may not need all of the supplies below; your own list will be based on the type of graduation party you're going to give. For obvious reasons, a formal party will call for very different supplies than a casual blowout. But this list and the Amazon products below it will give you a good starting point to get organized:
Napkins (paper or cloth)
Napkin rings or other type of decoration
Plates (paper, plastic, stoneware or china)
Knives, forks and spoons (plastic or metal)
Cake or cupcake decorations
Serving pieces (cake cutter, large spoons, spatulas, tongs)
Individual hanging decorations
Banners or hanging decorations strung together (see near the bottom of this page for free flag decoration downloads)
Ladle for punch bowl
Signage to let people know where the party is (combine with balloons to really get attention)
Cups or glasses
Tablecloth(s) (cloth or plastic)
CDs and a DJ
CDs in an automatic CD shuffler
Live music (check your local university music dept. for affordable options)
Chips and/or fresh veggies and dip
Cheese and crackers
Graduation-themed cake or cupcakes
Tray or side tables, if you aren't having a sit-down dinner
Meal for sit-down dinner (this is obviously a large undertaking, so you'll need to do additional planning)
Invitations (see below this table for a link to some free templates)
Paper and pen to record who gave what gift
Thank you notes to send after the party to people who gave gifts
Canned or bottled drinks
Scissors for opening presents
Trash bags and/or extra trash cans
Ice buckets and/or ice chests
Additional Graduation Party Resources
Download the Graduation Cupcake Toppers Template Here:Click thumbnail to view full-size
Instructions for Making the Graduation Cupcake Toppers
2. Download the cupcake topper template of your choice as indicated in the caption above. Once you have the artwork on your hard drive, you can print as many copies as you want. I recommend photo paper or a good card stock, so the colors will not look washed out.
3. You can cut the toppers with a circle cutter see the recommendations on this page, with a glass and a sharp craft knife or with scissors (although this option will produce the least professional results). See the page linked in the previous sentence for more detailed instructions and some tips for enhancing your cupcake toppers.
Free Graduation Flag Decorations (See left column for directions)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Free Floral Graduation Flag DecorationsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Free Blank Graduation Flag DecorationsClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are eight basic flag colors available, so with any luck at least one of your class colors will be here. There are plain flags, floral flags and a set with a "Congratulations" message in every color, so even if you just have one of your colors to choose from, you can vary the look of the flags a little bit. You can also choose to just mix up the colors to make a string of flags that looks festive but don't necessarily match your class color scheme.
Here are the instructions for making the graduation party flag decorations:
2. To download the images and save them to your hard drive, click on the thumbnail of the flag you want. That will cause a slightly larger version to appear centered underneath. Click on that centered image to get the largest possible version of the art.
3. Once you see the larger art, right click (PC) or control-click (Mac) to save it to your hard drive.
4. Once on your hard drive, paste the artwork into a word processing (Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc.), publishing (Microsoft Publisher, etc.) or other type of document, making it as large as you can without getting in the way of your printer's boundaries. Repeat this for as many flags as you want to use. (You can either create a separate document for each flag or just put the flags on separate pages within the same document.)
5. Once you have all the flags inserted into a document or multiple documents, simply print them on the heaviest cardstock your printer will allow. You can also print them on plain copy paper, but they won't look as good and may curl and warp if there's any humidity.
6. A paper cutter works best to cut the flags (you can take them to a copy center to be cut if you don't have a paper cutter), but you can alternatively use a ruler, cutting board and craft or "X-acto" knife. You can also use scissors but the chances of getting good results will be diminished. No matter what cutting method you use, just cut along the outside of the colored areas so you have triangle shapes.
7. You can string the flags together in several ways, two of which are outlined below. You can also just staple them to a wide ribbon, but it may not look as polished. To improve the look, you can use fancy brads from the craft store to fasten them, instead of staples.
For the two methods outlined below, begin by using a hole puncher to punch holes about 3/8"-1/2" in from the corners at the wide ends of the flags. Don't get too close to the edges, because the card stock might tear. You might want to experiment with just two flags and the method you plan to use to string them together before you punch holes in all the flags.
You can thread a long length of string, rope or ribbon through the flags. (Make sure you know how long it needs to be to fit where you want to hang the banner before you cut.) Begin by threading through from the front of the first flag and bring the string, rope or ribbon around the back of the flag. Then, bring it through from the back to the front, repeating the same procedure with the next flag.
Once all the flags are strung together, gently adjust them so you have approximately the same length of string, rope or ribbon on either side. You can then tie the flag banner on a curtain rod, from one lamp fixture to another or find other creative ways to hang it.
Method #2 (pictured above)
Get coordinating ribbon and cut a length long enough to string two flags together and form a nice bow. Different width ribbons will require different lengths to look in proportion, so you'll need to experiment. Make sure you have enough ribbon in case you need to make a couple of attempts before you cut all of them.
Once you're happy with the way the first bow looks, untie it and use it to measure as many other pieces as you need. (In other words, make each ribbon the same length.)
When all the ribbons are cut to the same size, simply tie the flags together. Be gentle as you do so, though, because you don't want the paper to tear. You'll also want some extra ribbon for the ends, unless you plan on pinning them to a curtain or tablecloth.
Tip: If flag artwork is available for only one of your class colors, using ribbon in the second color is a good way to keep the flag banner color coordinated.
You're welcome to use the free graduation flag decorations for your own personal use or to make party decorations for friends or family. But you may not sell the artwork in any form, printed or digital; group them into a free collection and give them away; or incorporate them into products without permission. If you have any questions or special requests, please contact Carla Chadwick at Carla [@] B2BContentSolutions [.com]. (Don't forget to remove the brackets and spacing before sending the e-mail.)
The graduation ceremony photos are by Harrison Keely
The floral swirl design used in the graduation flags are courtesy of PixelScrapper.com
The multi-ethnic graduation llustrations in the cupcake toppers are courtesy of CraftyScraps.Blogspot.com
The striped background in the cupcake toppers are courtesy of Le Petit Scrap at YoyoScrap.Blogspot.com
The graduation flag artwork, cupcake topper and wood frame design were designed by Carla Chadwick and PrintablePartyKits.com and came under copyright protection in 2010