The time for your child’s 1 year birthday nears and you want to throw a party, but without spending your entire savings…is it possible? With some tweaks here and there you’ll be able to cut costs and eternalize this important moment. However, you must be willing to ask for some help from family and friends, roll up your sleeves up and get to work with your creativity and DIY skills. Are you ready?

Here you will find 10 tips on how to decorate a simple and cheap party without skimping on the celebrations.

1) Go outside for a picnic

If your child’s birthday falls in a warmer or more seasonable time of the year when it doesn’t rain too much, a picnic at a local park or square is a guaranteed success and very economic. There, kids will have plenty of space to run around and distract themselves with toys you can bring from your own home or that you can buy for cheap – footballs, hacky sacks, frisbees, aside from the park’s playground.

Decorations also aren’t as difficult or demanding: all you need is a banner of sorts or even string lights to hang and balloons – one could even be the child’s age number. You probably won’t need a table if you don’t want one, but, because of the cake and other sweets, we suggest you take one or two folding tables or milk/fruit crates to avoid ants from crawling all over the food. Due to the more rustic and outdoor theme, a homemade chocolate cake to sing happy birthday with is a good option.

Lay out blankets and sheets for guests to sit down and don’t forget to provide large containers for drinks – you could even use a kiddie pool. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can bring the party inside your house (crayons and paper can help distract the kids). Just don’t forget to let all your guests know if there’s a change of plans!

2) Use all the colors of the rainbow

Parties with character themes can become expensive because of the licensed products. A good way to save money is by opting for colors related to a particular character. For a Frozen-themed party, for example, you can use different shades of blue, cotton balls and references to snow. For a Batman-themed party, use lots of black and yellow, besides paper bats. In fact, superhero-themed parties look great with small boxes on the table that mimic a city landscape next to the cake.

3) Paper or EVA cake toppers

Cake toppers can make a party decoration glow without having to add other sweets to the table to go with the cake, which tend to be expensive. With a stick, paper or EVA paper, scissors, tape and lots of imagination, you can guarantee your child’s birthday party decorations in the smallest details. If the theme is Baby Shark, for example, all you need is a shark fin to decorate sweets and sandwiches. For superhero themes, go for action onomatopoeias: Bang! Boom! Pow! Zap! Hearts, clouds, cacti, stars and mermaid fins can all be DIY.

4) Paper roses

All you need to do is buy colorful papers, fold them up and glue them to each other – there are plenty of online tutorials. It’ll look great and you won’t need any other kind of decoration for the walls. If you want a sturdier rose (albeit harder to fold and glue together), you can use cardboard paper. The best option, however, is to opt for a more malleable material. Make these ahead of time so the glue can really stick and then tape the string of roses to the wall.

5) Kraft paper, a great ally

Widely used in wedding decorations for a more rustic and vintage look, why not use the look and practicality of a roll of kraft paper to decorate your child’s birthday party? You can tape the paper to the wall and pull it down all the way to the floor – write and draw on it with a white or black marker. It can also just be used to give the table a pop of color, allowing for the ends to fall over the edges.

6) Colorful drapes

With strings and colorful paper you can also improvise a curtain made of strings of paper, which can be used to decorate the walls and the front of the table.

7) Ribbons

Instead of strings, you can DIY a ribbon curtain with crêpe paper, a perfect alternative for colorful, unicorn-themed or rainbow-themed parties. You can also add balloons to the top to simulate a cloud.

8) Tassel garland

Another solution that’s becoming more and more popular in birthday parties is the tassel garland (which looks like a fringed curtain), that can be put on the wall or used to decorate the top part of the table. You can make it at home, all you’ll need is malleable paper like crêpe or tissue paper and a nylon string.

9) Personalized balloons

With a piece of paper, permanent marker and transparent or colorful adhesive tape, you can customize balloons and adapt them into the theme of the party: farm animals, cats, dogs, jungle, cacti… The children will love them and they can substitute other forms of presenting certain characters.

10) Paper windmills

Easy to make, these can be a great option to decorate guest tables. Just place them in jars, which can be reused marmalade or jam jars, small bottles, cups… And, inside, there’s the room to fill the rest of the container with candy: marshmallows, chocolate balls, gummy bears…