I try to make most things for my parties out of material scraps I have lying about at home or free natural materials. But sometimes you just need to buy stuff...without spending a fortune...! This is when Daiso (the Japanese S$2 store) comes in! Where I look for customizable magic! Here I find all sorts of things I never imagined, that fit nicely into my small budget.
Handles for a bag become the structure of a dream catcher craft at an American Indian party.
Daiso the $2 Store
At first glance when looking around the shop, it might seem there is nothing obvious that could be used. However, with a bit of thought, there is plenty that can be customized to make fun and appropriate things for your party theme. Sometimes when I am there, ideas fly around my head, other times I take photos of things that catch my eye. I then go home and think through how I could use some of them. Although there is a danger in this last approach, as the stock is constantly changing! Several times I have gone back later to buy and everything I wanted was gone! So, I've learned the hard way, that ideally, I need to know the numbers of kids attending the party first. Only then should I head down to Daiso, where if at all possible, I need to think and buy on the spot.
A nondescript plastic container transformed into a little turtle aquarium for a 4 year old's'Under-the-sea' party.
As you know by now, I am not a fan of plastic things, especially the cheap and pointless 'made in china' toys often found in party bags. But sometimes it's very hard to avoid, especially when you are trying to keep your costs low. However, I justify buying plastic, when I feel I can customise it into something that will be kept or used over and over again. But generally I manage to find things made of bamboo, paper, glass and other more environmentally-friendly materials.
It's hard to suggest how one should customize things. Obviously it depends entirely on the thing itself and your party theme. However, sometimes as little as adding a printed label or a ribbon, can transform something from ordinary to special.
Simple chopsticks and fans used for a craft to make pretty accessories at a Japanese party. Plain boxes become super cute with the addition of some paper flowers. Paper petals added to a lollipop. Both going home presents at a 4 year old's flower party.
Some of the things I've had fun with, were adding a little wooden ladybird, a material flower and a ribbon to a $2 watering can. This for a 3 year old's Little Garden Party. Making an aquarium for a turtle, using a $2 plastic container, for a 4 year old's Under-the-Sea Party. For a Japanese theme, buying plain bamboo fans for the kids to decorate with cherry blossom. Also beautifying chopsticks and combs for their hair. Buying packs of $2 tennis balls that I covered in balloons to make cute, colourful juggling balls for a circus party. Using bag handles to make dream catchers for an American Indian theme. Transparent beads for making wire snowflake decorations for an ice-skating party that was close to Christmas. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
Even hitting the gardening section for a trowel and plant pots for my chocolate mousse (soil) and marshmallow flowers 'cake'!
So visit your local $2 store. Don't always take items at face value, think through how you can customize or transform them. More often that not, they will turn out more interesting, more appropriate to your party theme and you will save a ton of money. It's also a lot of fun...!