Challenger:  Carolyn Horten Events

Theme:  Valentine’s Day Play Date

I created a Valentine Friends play date similar to what I would have done when my children were
young. The items I used were from around the house, I didn’t go to the warehouse and borrow things,
but tried to keep it as simple as possible using things anyone would have access to around the house.
Since I knew I was on a serious budget I scoured things I had first so that I could keep my purchases to
a minimum. No matter what type of party you are trying to create on a budget, my advice would be
to see what you have the most of first and then create the theme from there it will definitely keep the
costs down. There are no table signs or food signs because I think for a party this small it isn’t necessary,
and keeps with the budget theme of keeping it simple, budget friendly and stress free.

I set up two tables a 6 ft. table I had for the snack table and a kneel down craft table using a patio coffee

For the snack table most of the décor were things that I already had, the only things I bought for the
table décor was the white wood heart basket that I got from the goodwill and spray painted with paint
I had, the embroidery hoop and the felt flowers and pennants I made. The dark brown burlap was in my
stash of fabrics from a house upholstery project gone wrong The bubblegum machine was strictly for
decorating since I have had it forever and it doesn’t dispense gumballs anymore; I just took out the non-
valentines colors and stacked them on empty pots with a small platter to add some height to the table;
the pink plastic heart plates I have had forever, I put used Styrofoam bricks in the basket and stuck in
the plastic cutlery sets which I had left over from a party. I used leftover shred to cover the Styrofoam
in the wagon and basket. The pink riser is a candlestick that I painted pink (I had 2 at the beginning of
the set up but broke one I’m notorious for breaking things) and stuck a clear plate on top of it with glue
dots added a pink felt doily and stacked the sandwich bites on it. The green ball is from my personal
house décor and I decorated it with more felt flowers that I made as well as the friends sign I had in the
house. For the felt banner on the wagon I simply cut triangles out of felt and sewed on the buttons,
the extra buttons I used on random felt flowers. The ribbon pieces I used were all out of my scrap tub.
I kept the food simple mini sandwiches, cinnamon pinwheels, marshmallows on a stick and pink dippy
things and milk to be drunk through straws that make the milk pink. Keep food simple children don’t
really eat a lot at parties and tend to nibble. I created the backdrop with more left over burlap and some
pennants I had, I like to have some type of divider between an outside wall and food it just feels cleaner.

For the “kneel” down table I used more burlap that I already had as a table cover for a patio coffee table
and I used a valentines tablecloth I had for under the table for guests to sit on. For the centerpiece I
spray painted a house urn in white spray paint that I had and used another topiary ball from my house
decorated in handmade felt flowers to add color. The place settings were wood frames from Michaels
and each guest had a plastic heart shaped box topped with a felt flower with a chain inside to create
their own heart necklace. Once the necklace was complete they could store their necklace in the box as
a keepsake. I actually had the heart beads and chain leftover in my stock from another party but I did list
them separate from the budget just to give you an idea of the cost.

The party favors were leftover favor bags filled with Luv Ya fortune cookies for the guests to take home.

Sit-down Table; table, tablecloths, urn, topiary ball- FREE

Lunch Table; wagon, gumball machine, platters, burlap fabric, pennants, candlestick riser, plastic carafe,
drink glasses, pink plastic plates, friends sign, red plastic cutlery, wood skewers, misc. ribbon, paper
shred, peanut butter & jelly, white spray paint -FREE


Pecan pinwheels 1.08
Marshmallows 2.83
Licorice 1.08
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches .99
Milk 2.49
Pink milk straws 2.49
Felt-Michaels 3.29
Paper 3.41
Mini Wood letters-Michaels 1.27
Large wood heart-Michaels 2.17
Keys-Michaels 6.59
Mini frames- Michaels 6.59
Wood frames-Michaels 4.39
Plastic Heart shaped boxes 8.76
Fortune cookies 4.47
Wood basket-Goodwill 2.74
Buttons 3.28
Yim yams 3.56
Embroidery hoop 1.64

Total including freebies would be $83.68

Cost of “freebies” that I had laying around

Beads 5.48

Necklaces 2.19

Favor bags 3.29

Pink plastic plates 4.35

Plastic cutlery 1.09

Paper shred   3.28

White spray paint 1.08


  1. L♥Ve every detail. The heart shaped sandwiches in the heart shaped boxes….genius!

  2. So many beautiful elements in this party. One would never believe the budget. Fabulous!

  3. Pamela ~Pamela Smerker Designs says:

    Darling party, love all of the little handmade flowers, heart sandwiches and mini ribbon banners. SO sweet!!

  4. Kori Clark says:

    Oh my wow! My daughter would LOVE this! The beads to make necklaces….kids would LOVE that! Of course I am a huge fan of burlap, so all of the burlap touches are perfect, especially the little burlap leaves! Such a great and inexpensive idea!!

  5. Jill Overn says:

    Carolyn, you had me at burlap. Incredible!!

  6. HeathRobShort says:

    <3 this! putting on a vday themed 1st bday for my baby girl and <3 the ideas you have given me!

  7. What an incredible attention to detail and still be able to make a budget! Like the little garlands with burlap and ribbons.

  8. I LOVE the fabric flower details and the topiary. Pecan pinwheels on a stick?!? YUM!!! It’s all in the details and this one takes the cake.

  9. DeVonda@SimplyLavishWeddings&Events says:

    So much attention to detail. The buffet is so intricate. The heart shaped sandwiches in the heart shaped boxes were the best to me. You made great use of the budget. Yea!! 4 You!!

  10. […] of Carolyn Horton Events! Carolyn recently competed in the $100 Designer’s Challenge on Sparkling Events and Designs and the moment I saw her design I asked her to share how she made the adorable felt flowers […]

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