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Boy Bash on a Budget Challenge

[Boy Bash] Monster Birthday Party Tablescape

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Every Tuesday till early September we’re going to be featuring a budget themed dessert table or tablescape from the talented women who have graciously volunteered to take on our Boy Bash on a Budget Challenge. And we’re even going to throw our own work into the ring from time to time and follow the same budget confines. Every participant gets the Spaceships and Laser Beams Collection of their choice + $50 for a dessert table or $20 for a tablescape. They can also use anything they are able beg or borrow, make themselves or already own.

Every time I get an email with the finished photos of our Boy Bash on a Budget Challenge submissions, I get so excited to open it, not knowing what to expect. I have to admit that as soon as I saw the MONSTER CHAIRS and the EYEBALL CHANDELIER for this party, I squealed a little.  On a very tight $20 budget, Katie from Starburst Studio created the most awesome monster themed birthday party — and those two elements really take it to the next level. I cannot stop looking at those CHAIRS. Katie describes the party in her own words below (in italics) and even has some fantastic budget saving tips to share.

What a treat it was to get to create this Monster Bash tablescape using only a $20 budget! I really had so much fun! Having such a tight budget made me really look at what I already had on hand, and use that instead of running to the store to spend heaps of money.  I LOVE to throw parties, but I was still surprised at how much stuff I already had on hand.

I originally had a white table cloth on the table but that just wasn’t working. I knew I wanted some color or pattern, but it needed to be something that didn’t compete with the colorful printables/monsters.  I didn’t have a table runner that would work so I thought to check out my fabric stash. I ended up having two yards of black and white polka-dot flannel that I bought on major clearance last November. The polka dots reminded me of eyeballs – PERFECT! I folded it in thirds, ironed it, trimmed the edges and voila! A table runner!


For the plates, I had planned on using orange paper ones, but they covered up almost all of the ADORABLE placemats so I switched them out for clear glass ones. Again – PERFECT! This is a great party tip – use dishes you already have on hand! No need to buy paper plates (if it’s a small party and you have enough, that is.) The mini-cupcake stands are something that I made and keep on hand and re-use a lot at different parties. They’re such a fun way to focus on cute cupcakes!  (Mini tutorial on how to make them on my blog.)

The monster chairs were one of my favorite things at the party! I kept staring at my blank chairs thinking there had to be some way to make them fit with the theme and then it just hit me – the back of the chairs kind of looked like monster heads! So, I used my Cricut die-cut machine to cut some of the pieces for the faces, the rest I just traced out and free-hand cut. I love how they turned out and the birthday boy squealed when he saw them!  My other favorite part was the “eyeball” chandelier. The awesome part? It only cost $2! The base is a hoola-hoop from the dollar store that I wrapped in yellow crepe paper streamers (also from the dollar store.) I already had the white circle garland on hand from when I made it for another party. I trimmed it, taped it to the hoola-hoop and then added the black circles for the eyes. It’s tied to a single light bulb using fishing line. I love how it turned out!

The food was very simple since it was a toddler party – cupcakes, popcorn and mini monsters. I made the mini-monsters using marshmallows dipped in melted chocolate chips that I already had on hand. I originally wanted to use colored candy melts but it wasn’t in the budget.  Instead I added color by attaching them to plastic straws that I had and cut down to size. Shredded coconut was dyed yellow using food coloring.  The candy eyeballs were one very necessary purchase.


$2 – Sponges from Dollar Tree  

$1 – Marshmallows  

$.50 – Shredded Coconute  

$3 – Water bottles  

$3 – Candy eyes  

$1 – Hoola-hopp  

$1 – Yellow streamers  

$1.50 – Frosting  

$7 – White platter (on top of the orange box). On clearance from Crate and Barrel.  


I had everything else

Money Saving Tips: 

Buy In bulk – Always check the bulk-section of your grocery store. They often have a great selection of candy, nuts, and other food and it’s almost always cheaper than buying it in packages. Not only that, you can control how much you get and not pay for more than you need.  In this case, a bag of shredded coconut was $2.99 but it was way more than I needed. A big scoop of it in the bulk section only cost .50 cents!

Have the party at home – If space allows, throw your parties at your own home! Then you won’t have to pay for renting a space.

Coordinate the color scheme to match your home – This is a big one. I almost always throw parties that somehow fit in with the color scheme of my home. That way, I always have stuff on hand that already matches so I can use it for the party. My home is bright and funky, so that’s the kind of parties that I throw.  In this case, the chairs, orange box under the mini-monsters, and the bucket they’re in, all came from around my house.

Use real dishes not paper – No need to buy paper plates or cups! If you have enough, use real ones! I do this all the time, and even with toddlers, I’ve never had anything break. Glass or plain white are the best to keep on hand as they can match just about any theme.

Save decorations from one party to the next – This is another big one. If you have decorations (especially neutral colored ones) that you really like, then keep them! In this case, the black and white gumballs and paper cups were left over from my son’s soccer party a few weeks ago. And like I mentioned earlier, the eyeball chandelier was a originally a long circle garland from a friend’s birthday 3 months ago.

Re-purpose decorations – Going along with the tip above, repurpose the decorations that you already have! Paper plates can be attached to the wall as a backdrop, garlands can be deconstructed and used in the new ways, paper napkins can be turned into ruffles or paper flowers – the possibilities are endless! Just get creative!

Use paper to decorate – It’s amazing what you can create with paper! It’s cheap, comes in tons of colors and can be made to match any theme. For this party, it made all the difference with the monster chairs.

Use fabric instead of table linens – I’m always keeping my eye out for neutral colored fabric on clearance that I can use. It’s WAY less expensive to buy two yards of $2 per yard fabric than to buy a big table cloth/runner!

Think outside the box – Look at what you have and try to come up with new ways of using it. The straws were cute to begin with, but were even cuter used as sticks to attach the mini-monsters. And the little fluffy monsters on the table are actually car wash sponges from the dollar store that I attached eyes to. It’s amazing how many things become a “monster” once you add eyes to them! Lol!

Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.

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