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Wait Til You See This Simple Graduation Party Decorating Idea

You’re gonna love this simple, budget-friendly idea for decorating at a graduation party with custom paper mache numbers of the grad year.

Do you love decorating for special days?

Like birthdays?

Or anniversaries?

How about graduations?!

So do we!

Decorations can help make a special day feel that much more so.

But it’s important to us that party decorations are also budget-friendly.

AnnMarie’s family has a super fun way to decorate for birthdays every year!

We both love decorating with photos and parties are the perfect place to do that.

Anne created a huge photo display for her son’s graduation party a few years ago.

And then AnnMarie came up with a different kind of photo display for her daughter’s 16th birthday that could work for a graduation party too.

But one of our favorite easy (and inexpensive!) graduation party decorating ideas is to use the numbers of the graduation year!

Console table decorated for a graduation party with a bulletin board of photos and memorabilia and painted paper mache numbers with the graduation year

AnnMarie combined photos and paper mache numbers to decorate for her son’s graduation.

Isn’t that a fun display?

I love how easy this idea is, so when I began planning how to decorate for my twins’ graduation I decided to try something similar.

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Ways to Decorate with a Graduation Year

I didn’t want to do the exact same thing as AnnMarie.

Wouldn’t that make me a copycat?

So I took a trip to one of our local craft stores for inspiration.

I liked these wood numbers.

Woman's hand holding wood numbers for a graduation year at a store display.

But I wasn’t sure how I would actually display them?

I don’t have a lot of free wall space, and they would need to be hung somehow.

And they were also a little more expensive than I wanted.

So I kept looking.

Over in the party supply section I found these fun foil balloons.

My girls’ high school colors are navy blue and gold, so these would be great!

Not only would they be easy, they’d add a playful touch.

And they’re not very expensive.

Hand holding packages of foil balloons for a graduation year

In fact, they hopped in my cart!

I have some ideas for how I’m going to display them that I’ll share with you soon.

But I kept going back in my mind to those paper mache numbers that AnnMarie had used.

Maybe I could use them to decorate for my girls’ graduation party too?

After all, there are lots of ways to decorate paper mache letters and numbers!

I could make them look different for my girls, right?

Decorating with Paper Mache Numbers

AnnMarie used spray paint to paint the numbers for both Gavin’s and Jake’s graduation parties.

Spray paint is definitely an easy way to make these numbers (or letters) fit your party’s color scheme!

Store shelves filled with spray paint cans in a rainbow of colors

There are so many spray paint options!

You can even choose between matte and gloss finishes.

Or metallic!

But I had something else in mind…

I picked up a few different sizes of the paper mache numbers and some acrylic paint in their school colors.

And some patterned paper.

Some glitter…

And got busy creating some unique graduation party decorations to help them feel special, even if they won’t be having the kind of graduation party we had originally hoped!

Be sure to read to the end of this post to see all my fun ideas & links to the products to make your own!

Papier mache numbers with supplies to decorate them

Simple Ways to Decorate Paper Mache Numbers

I’m so excited to share these ideas with you!

First, I painted the 3D numbers with acrylic paints and raided my ribbon stash.

Each number got a different kind of ribbon, tied in a little different way.

Paper Mache letters painted with school colors and decorated with ribbon for a graduation party on brick steps with sunflowers.

For the next set of numbers, I painted them with the acrylic paints.

And then?

I cut out patterned scrapbook paper and attached it!

Papier mache numbers decorated with paint and patterned paper for a graduation party, birthday party, or anniversary party decoration on a wood pallet.

I tried something similar for the smaller set of paper mache numbers.

They got a coat of acrylic paint.

Two of them got some patterned paper.

And two of them?

Well they got some sparkle and shine, just like my girls, with some glitter!

Paper mache numbers decorated with school colors for a graduation party on brick steps with a graduation cap

You can see the difference in the sizes of the numbers below.

I’m not sure yet where each set of numbers will go, but I’m loving how they turned out!

Not only were they easy, it was so fun getting creative decorating these graduation year numbers.

I’ll definitely be sharing pictures from their celebration soon, so be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss seeing any of the photos!

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Two sizes of papier mache numbers decorated with patterned paper, glitter, and paint on stone pavers with sunflowers to decorate for a graduation party, birthday party, or anniversary party.
collage of product images to make paper mache numbers for party décor

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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