Graduation Party}The Decorations

Graduation Party Decor Ideas - lots of fun ideas  from

Today I am going to share the decorations we used for the Sail Away Graduation party.  It was such a fun party to decorate for.  Having a theme makes things so much easier.  We decided not to do the “traditional” graduation party but rather use a fun theme.  Our nautical theme was perfect!  I love red, white and blue.

What would a nautical party be without a boat and a pirate?

Sail Away Graduation Party

Cali made the boat out of a box from a piece of furniture.   I had the plastic nautical flags already(they came from Oriental Trading).  My mom painted the pirate for me on a big piece of cardboard.  The idea came from here. I borrowed the oars from the theater department at school and cut their school names out on my Cricut. The sail was made out of some muslin I had in my craft room and the pole came from the garage.  I bought the plastic anchor and wheel at a local party supply store (Lippmans)

Sail Away Graduation Party

Sail Away Graduation Party

Sail Away Graduation Party

I used the little BYU and YAY pennants I had made for the Smart Cookie Party and just added in some for OXY (Occidental)   Thought they looked pretty cute in some clear canning jars on my new table Jim made me.  For the table runner I just hemmed a piece of long burlap.

Sail Away Graduation Party

My chalkboards came in handy too – for the directions to the Italian Soda Bar and a fun Dr. Seuss quote on the table.


Sail Away Graduation Party

Of course you have to have balloons for a party.  We created this fun, festive balloon banner following the directions over at Design Mom.  One of the best things I have bought in a long time is a little hand pump for blowing up the balloons.  With help from Scarlet (the other graduate’s mother) we were able to blow up the balloons and string them together in no time.  The trickiest part was getting the big banner out of the house once it was put together without popping any balloons.  I love the color it added to the party!
Sail Away Graduation Party

Sail Away Graduation Party

For the tables, I covered them with an assortment of red, white and blue tablecloths I already owned.  I added the fabric pennant banners I made to the front of the tables and to the fence.

Sail Away Graduation Party

Sail Away Graduation Party

I just used straight pins to attach it to the table and thumbtacks to the fence.

For the backdrop for the pictures on the table I used a wooden shipping palette.  Thanks to Dana for delivering two of them to my front door!

I had a fishing net already and just draped it across the palette and then using my staple gun I added photos of the girls that we took during their fun invitation photo shoot.

Sail Away Graduation Party

The wooden life preserver came out of the garage and originally came from Michael’s craft.  Fortunately Tessa had a nautical theme for her cabin at girl’s camp last year so we had quite a few things on hand.

We also had a photo booth at the party – the kids LOVED it!!  I used the large piece of red fabric from the invitation photo shoot and hung it on the front of our shed.  You want to make sure it is in a shady area – no direct sunlight so you don’t get shadows and squinty eyes in the pictures.

Sail Away Graduation Party

We set the camera up on a tripod and they took hundreds of photos throughout the night.

I had a table full of fun photobooth props that I downloaded and printed out here.

Sail Away Graduation Party

I also made or rather had Jim make some fun chalkboard conversation bubbles that they could hold up and write on.  They did some pretty creative things!



Activities included badminton, bongo ball and a bonfire and of course lots of talking, singing and just having a good time.  There was even some dancing going on for a while.

Next up – The Menu

For more graduation party ideas check out these:

Graduation Party Theme and Photo Shoot

Tips and Ideas for planning the perfect graduation party @yourhomebasedmomGraduation Party Food Ideas

Graduation Party Food Ideas for the perfect graduation party

More Graduation Party Ideas

Perfect Graduation Party

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. linda hads says

    I LOVE your site!!! Im not too good at being computer savvy but I would love to receive your newsletter. What first caught my eye was the fact that you are right in Portland. Since Im in McMinnville, I can actually visit the places you mention and I have! Also, I love to entertain and decorate and cook etc. and I practially drool over all your posts. Thank you SO much for sharing your talents and love of family with all of us out here!! linda

  2. Bianca says

    You are too cute! I want to be just like you when I am a mom! I love everything about this party! Oh, and I am currently at BYU, and I know for a fact that your daughter is going to have the time of her life! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!

  3. Heather says

    Wow – this party looks amazing. I’m full of ideas for my next gathering – love the photo booth idea, the banner and the apple basket you used for the tortilla chips. Looks like you had a ball. With so many parties going on, I have one question – when do you sleep?

    • says

      To be honest, I haven’t been sleeping much lately and it’s catching up with me!! I figure there will be plenty of time for sleep once the girls are back in Utah. I want to enjoy every minute with them right now.

  4. Kymberly says

    Oh how I get so excited when your blog entries are in my inbox!!!!!!! I adore your graduation party theme and am begging…please teach me (or us) how to make those chalk board conversation boards for photos. Oh I hope to make them for the future and hope I don’t have to just wing it or eye it. My hands are not cooperative but with a templet or something, I sure can pull it off.

    Have a beautiful day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jolyn says

    You. Are. Amazing. See, this is why I need websites/blogs like yours. I have not one single creative bone in my body but I found a billion ideas from your website. You’re amazing. I don’t know how you do it. Serious props sista.

  6. Claudia says

    Leigh Anne, the Princess Beatrice head-dress totally cracked me up. 😉 Have been so enjoying reading about your graduation party details. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Meghan says

    Love, love, love! Everything looks absolutely perfect and I too love the photo booth idea. Thank you so much for sharing all of your creativity with us!


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