DIY party favors: frugal and plastic-free

I have been in a funk. Witnessing lay-offs at work last week has left me feeling a bit blue on the heels of Mother’s Day. But onward we must go…so I am focusing on my daughter’s upcoming 4th birthday party with her preschool and hiking friends. It’s an art party, so it should be fun. I opted to spend the money to have the party at a local, woman owned, independent venue. The owner is just lovely and fills a niche that was desperately needed in our small city. It’s kid friendly, offers open art times, and classes for artists of  all ages.

Like fellow crazy mothers out there, I am making everything myself. With a simple menu consisting of a fruit platter, veggie tray, cheese and crackers, and finger sandwiches, I think I can pull it off. Did you notice I did not mention pizza? (gasp). 🙂

The reason I chose to do it myself was honestly, the pricing. To purchase a sub sandwich, the going price is $17 a foot! I mean, wow. I can make some adult awesome and kid-friendly finger sandwiches myself at a fraction of what the “catering” menu/platter will cost me.  I also went with finger foods because the party time is between lunch and dinner. Snacks are the proper etiquette. Since our theme is “Art” anything rainbow works! I will attempt my very first cupcake rainbow. Wish me luck! 🙂

As for party favors, to be honest I really dislike cheap plastic toys and candy. The plastic toys always end up breaking and eventually in the garbage (landfills, water ways, etc…). The problem with goodie bags is that they can get expensive fast, so I totally understand the idea of dollar store plastic fun, I just want to avoid it if it makes cents.

So I did what any research driven mom does. I started with google and end up on Pinterest. After looking at many different ideas, I decided on doodle pads. Hopefully some of you can relate. When I get into planning a party or designing a theme, it’s like going down a rabbit hole.  I get sucked in. I research for hours and then calculate my costs and make my purchase. Here is what I ended up designing.


I purchased the Melissa and Doug doodle pads directly from the the company’s website. The pads are $1.99 each. I also received 10% off my first purchase and free shipping. These are great because they are small, individually wrapped, and nice quality. Being that the company is eco friendly, I prefer to support them than buy a ‘cheap something’ on Amazon. Our guest list is 16.

16 x $1.99 = $31.84 – 10% ($3.18),= $28.66 plus 8% sales tax (NY) = 28.66 + $2.29= $30.95

Then I looked at the coupons for our local craft store. I got 50% off one regular priced item, so I bought the 100 pack of Crayola colored pencils and $2 craft twine. $13.80.


The washy tape and card stock I already had. I created my own tag using a free design from Canava and copying it into a word document, printing it at home on our printer.

For the grand price of $2.80 per favor, our party guests will take home a high quality, useful, plastic free goodie.


In full disclosure, making party favors and crafts brings me joy. I love it! It’s fun and meditative for me. It’s also a great way to get your kids involved in planning with you. My daughter and I sat together and made the colored pencil bundles. Together we picked out 4 colors per bundle. She also cut each of the strands of twine and hole punched each of the cards. It takes a little longer when you have small helpers, but it’s a great way to get some find motor skill work in and give them a sense of ownership over their party.

Do you DIY your party favors? 



11 thoughts on “DIY party favors: frugal and plastic-free

  1. littlebookworms826336613 says:

    I love hosting parties for my kiddos and I’m always looking for great party favor ideas for them. I am with you on the cheep plastic toys and candy. I’d much rather give something that won’t end up in the dump. I love your notepad and colored pencils. They look adorable with the rainbow tags and twine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Thank you! I love the idea of giving them something related to the theme of the party that is useful. These notepads are perfect for car trips too. With summer coming, they get used a lot.


  2. Camie says:

    I love what you came up with and how you made it meaningful for under $3. I’d say you have talent! I love DIY party favors. Once my son had a Minecraft theme party and we made all the decorations ourselves. I also designed and cut Minecraft swords out of cardboard which the boys painted and that was both an activity and their favor.

    Liked by 1 person

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