Hey friends! I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. Did you get all of your Christmas shopping done? In store or online? I actually didn't do too much shopping, I was too busy decorating for Christmas and watching the new Gilmore Girls! (What did you think? As much as I love GG I gave it about a 7 out of 10... but it was so good to see everyone back together again!) I plan to wrap up my decorating in the next few days and then I need to get on those Christmas lists!
I help coordinate the decorations for the ladies events at our church, and we're usually trying to decorate a LOT of tables on a tiny budget. So, I always like to share what we come up with because I know some of you might need event decoration ideas too!
A few weeks ago we had our Christmas event, and I had the challenge of coming up with decor for around 60 tables for $100 or less. We wanted to keep things simple yet festive, and were only decorating tables in our Fellowship Hall where people would be eating before they moved into the auditorium for the program.
OK, back to our table decorations! I always begin by browsing Pinterest for basic ideas, and then adapt them for our needs and budget. While searching, I came across this darling snowman. While it was way too fancy for the direction that I was headed with our decor, I knew it could be modified to fit our plan better. I also saw this cute pin, and once again, while too fancy to do for our large event, I picked up on the thought of using wrapped gifts for centerpieces.
Once I present the plan to our team, they are all so fabulous about pitching in, gathering up what we need, and making it happen. I took care of gathering what we needed for the snowmen, and everyone else helped collect empty boxes for a few weeks. We planned on about 3 boxes per table, so we needed close to 200! We also asked people to donate unwanted gift wrap in the color scheme we wanted (traditional Christmas colors)-who doesn't have a roll or two to get rid of?
We all met together for a few hours one evening, and while a friend and I assembled the snowmen, everyone else wrapped all of the empty boxes. Lots of friends make big jobs better, right? I have a sweet friend on the team who is always willing to raid her yard and trim evergreen branches for us to be able to use fresh greenery, so we tucked sprigs here and there around the gifts, too. Here's what the space looked like the night of the event.
We tucked a few gifts around the snowmen on their tables, too. And FYI, empty oatmeal canisters make great containers to wrap, too!
We weren't using the stage in this room, but had some extra large boxes so we wrapped those too and used them to fill in the stage a bit.
As the event was closing we announced that the wrapped empty boxes were free to take, and we were all shocked at how fast they flew out the door!
So, with all of the wrapped gift boxes being basically free, the only real expense was the supplies for the snowmen. Since we were on such a tight budget I pieced them together as economically as I could, rather than buying everything in one trip to the craft store, which you could definitely do. I made multiple trips to Hobby Lobby over a few weeks to buy the larger styrofoam rings (let's face it, I was there anyway!), using my 40% off coupon each time (that $2 savings times 8 added up!).
I was able to find the smaller styrofoam rings at Dollar Tree, a few dollars cheaper than the craft store, which again really added up when we were making multiples of these. The only problem was that they were green! So, I experimented on one by using white spray paint (with primer in it). It worked just fine (sometimes spraying styrofoam is hit or miss)!
Here's how to make your own snowman:
To begin, I trimmed the wooden skewers down. The pieces used to connect the head to the body will need to be about 2" long. The length of the pieces to secure the snowman into the styrofoam base will vary depending on your container, just make sure it it long enough to insert about 1" into the bottom of the snowman and several inches to secure it to the base foam. I used 2 short pieces and 3 longer per snowman.
First, connect the smaller ring to the larger one with the short skewers. Apply a drop of hot glue to the end of a short skewer piece, then insert it into the outside center of the smaller ring (this will be the bottom of the head). Then, apply more glue to the other end of the skewer and gently attach it to the outside center of the larger ring, being careful not to push the other end through the other side of the smaller ring. I used two skewers close together just to provide a little more strength and stability. Then, repeat the process with the skewers, this time using the longer ones. You'll want the bottom of the large ring to rest along the top edge of your base container, so judge your skewer length accordingly. I used three skewers here to keep everything in place well.
Prepare the base of the snowman. Since we were on a very tight budget, I found a variety of florist woven baskets from the thrift store that were all the same size, then spray painted them all black for uniformity. You could use any type of container that you'd like... a flower pot, small urn, etc.
Trim a styrofoam brick so it fits tightly in the container (you'll want to have to force it in slightly). I put a few drops of hot glue on the corners just before I dropped the foam in so it would be more secure. If your base if very lightweight, you might want to add some pea gravel or small rocks around the foam to make it slightly heavier to avoid the snowman tipping over when you're finished.
Now, just make him cute! I used a sheet of fun foam and folded it in half, then cut side pieces out to make it into the shape of a top hat (the folded side is the top of the hat). Use hot glue to close the edges of the hat, leaving the bottom edge open to slip over the snowman's head. Add ribbon, a sprig of greenery, etc. on the hat if desired.
For the event at the church, we used 8 snowmen and scattered them throughout about 60 tables. We didn't need one on every table, but one every once in a while was enough to look cute. Several ladies brought their own plaid or Christmas colored scarves to wrap around the snowmen's necks, so we didn't have any expense there.
When I used the snowmen on my Christmas tablescape I wanted their scarves to match, so I bought about 1/3 yard of fleece fabric then split that into 2 scarves. It was the perfect length and after cutting the ends to make a fringe they turned out cute!
Finish it off by filling the container with something to cover the foam. For our event we just used shredded colored paper from Dollar Tree, but on my table I used mini ornaments in colors that complemented the table. Fresh greenery sprigs would look great too, cotton balls for "snow"... the options are limitless!
If you've helped with table decorations for large events, I'd love to hear what you've done in the past too. We're always looking for new ideas for the next event!