DIY Graduation Party Ideas

Our niece is graduating from Virginia Tech and we are really proud of her. I got asked to help with party decor {ok…I volunteered} and wanted to share some easy ideas you could adapt to any school graduation.

Wood Tags

I used picket fence scraps to make wood “tags” in a past project. I decided to make some fun tags with the VT theme. Chopped off the length of 2 and then made 2 more by adding 45 degree angle cuts.

I sprayed a quick coat of primer on the wood so the acrylic wouldn’t soak right in. While the primer dried I brushed the base coat of orange on the canvases.

Gave the wood tags a coat of orange and a second coat on the canvases.

I picked up an inexpensive stencil to add polka dots to all of the projects. You can use a circular foam dabber too- I just figured this would ensure even spacing. I think it was $6.99 at AC Moore and I had a 60% off coupon. So I went the easy route!

I used burgundy to add polka dots to all of the pieces. It’s sponges on so it’s soft looking. I plan to use the pieces to decorate and then they will be keepsakes for the graduate.

Next, I marked the center of the wood tags then drilled a hole for ribbon to go through. I lightly distressed the edges as well.

I used a thin paintbrush to outline my lettering in white then added some width. I chose to wing it freestyle but you could use stencils. Since the polka dots are in burgundy the lettering took a few coats then I outlined it in black.


As for those canvases? I printed off an outline of the state of Virginia then cut around it. I traced the state outline on the canvas.

I printed off a VT logo then traced it on the other canvas.

Next I painted the state and VT in white. Again due to the darker colors underneath it took a few coats.

I’m providing a black sharpie for guests to sign the canvases if the graduate would like.


Remove the glass and staple chicken wire to the back. If it doesn’t have a sawtooth hanger tap one in so it can be hung on the wall or propped up on a table.

An easy DIY photo display can be created with a painted picture frame. Just add clothespins and a few pictures of the the graduate! We ran out of time to print pics so I used it for the wood tag instead.


Couldn’t find Pom Poms or flowers in the colors needed so it’s another DIY.

Take 8 sheets of tissue paper and stack them evenly. Fold like an accordion.

Round the edges with scissors and cut a 12″ piece of floral wire.

Find the center, pinch and twist on the wire.

Begin with the top piece and gently pull straight up then repeat on opposite side.

Keep lifting until you reach the last sheet. Beautiful bloom in just minutes. We used these around the food table.


You can easily make garlands of tassels by cutting sections of folded tissue paper.

Cut into strips about 1/4 of a inch to the fold. Open it and twist to form a loop. We used some pretty washi tape to secure it then strung jute through it. Easy peasy!!!

Supplies Used For All Project

  1. canvases
  2. acrylics in the school colors
  3. a polka dot stencil to make spacing uniform.

4. Foam brush to dab on paint

5. Small paint brushes

6. Picket fence wood

7. Drill

8. Sandpaper

9. Ribbon

10. Alphabet stencils (optimal)

11. Tissue paper

12. Wire

Hope this gives you a few fun ideas for decorating on a budget!

Congratulations grads~ Kristen

About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

Making our final house into a home one room at a time. This is our 11th and final home so it is unique. Every detail in this home is aimed at creating our FOREVER home. I've worked on many of my homes and clients homes so theres plenty of inspirational for all home styles here!

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