What hostess doesn't love the moment when everyone gets cushy on the couch? Be ready with a coffee table topped with more than just a pile of remotes. The artsy team behind iCarve designs show us how to turn the table trendy using a few packs of balloons. Buy a sheet of wire mesh from the hardware store and cut it into pieces. Tie long balloons (forming knots at either end) through the wire weave to create a textured design. Then secure them around glass vases with extra pieces of wire or twist-ties.
The best part of starting a school year is shopping for fresh supplies. But don't let the kids toss last year's pencils. Heather Brosman, an art teacher in Rochester, New York, and winner of our back-to-school-inspired centerpiece contest, showed us how to turn them into a homework table topper that'll make hitting the books less of a drag. Heather's idea: Stick the blunt ends of short colored pencils into mini Styrofoam balls. Prick a full-length No. 2 pencil into each base, then bury the "stems" in a garden trough filled with pistachios, almonds or another healthy after-school snack. (If the posts are too wobbly, add a wedge of floral foam for stability.)
How to Make a Sock Vase Centerpiece
Finally, the perfect project for those unmatched socks! Let your kids pick their favorite ones and add pops of color to your potted plants.
Dr. Quinn has a new career -- in home decorating. Actress Jane Seymour, a mother of five is also a painter, which inspired this bright idea: Cover the table with butcher paper, bistro-style, and put out art supplies. It's sure to get your kids and their friends painting in no time.
Paper may be flat, but star stylist and interior designer Robert Verdi showed us it's not one-dimensional. He used basic printer paper to create these rumpled-chic topiaries. Cut and paste your own the day before a party, so they have plenty of time to dry. Shred a hefty amount of paper in colors you like, or pick up some pre-shredded paper from a craft store. Drizzle glue on one side of a Styrofoam ball and roll it in a pile of the cuttings, pressing lightly to adhere. Fill in any bare spots and repeat on the other sides. Cover as many foam balls as you like, then let dry. Pile them on top of one another with dowels (or chopsticks!) and place in flowerpots or cluster in the center of the table.
Fresh flowers get plenty of centerpiece play, but make it easier and more fun for your kids with this low-maintenance fill-in by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. Print out pictures of flowers and butterflies, then clip them into a store-bought photo hanger and place in a flowerpot. You can even quickly spray-paint a basic terra-cotta pot for a new look. When the kids are done, move the "arrangement" to a windowsill or coffee table.
Unless you're a dog owner, you'll never find a use for all those plastic grocery bags. Problem solved with this idea from eco-friendly design guru Danny Seo that your kids will love to make: Just cut the bags into squares, layer and cinch together, then tie to skewers. You can take the recycling one step further and put the bouquet in a coffee-can vase.
How to Make a Martini Glass Centerpiece
You may not want kids handling martini glasses, but let them choose the fun things you place in the glasses, like candy!
On the Fly
Even if you weren't that kid who sailed paper airplanes at the teacher, you and your kids'll love this idea from Mrs. DeVore's art class at Stonington High School in Connecticut. The students answered our call for a back-to-school-inspired centerpiece with this concept: Attach floral wire to paper planes and arrange in a vase. It's easy -- if you know how to fold 'em!
Derek McLane might be the set designer for the musical Grease on Broadway, but his stellar centerpiece is simply out of this world. Inspired by the hues of the iconic Pink Ladies and T-Bird jackets, McLane turned a funnel on its end and attached painted foam balls to it with skewers. We love it for a kids' party -- or any bash that needs an eye-popping splash of color.
Here's a good excuse to splurge on sewing supplies and super-simple project for your kids: David Stark -- event designer and author -- slips spools of embroidery thread over test tubes to create homespun bud vases. Mix and match, or stack up a single color for dramatic effect. Either way, you'll have this centerpiece all sewn up in minutes.
Take your candy bowl to new heights with this perfect-for-kids project. Dylan Lauren, owner of confection megastore Dylan's Candy Bar, decorates her table with this sweet centerpiece. Fill plant pots with Conversation Hearts, jelly beans, rock candy and Red Hots and nest lollipops in the mix. Bonus: it doubles as dessert!
How To Make a Lentil Centerpiece
Create the perfect centerpiece in minutes by letting the kids mix and match different colors of dried beans. Watch our video and learn how!
When we asked fashion designer and former Project Runway finalist Daniel Vosovic to dress up our dinner table, we knew he'd come up with something cleverly stylish. His idea: Drape stemmed glasses with necklaces, bracelets and earrings -- whatever you have in your jewelry box -- for a perfectly accessorized meal. Make it fun for kids by using costume or play jewelry.
We've seen it jiggle for decades -- finally, Jell-O gets to play a bigger role at the dinner table. Evette Rios, one of Rach's go-to design gurus, elevates the translucent dessert to art with this nifty trick: Combine six boxes of Jell-O powder with half the amount of water specified, chill the mix in a glass vase for half an hour, then just push flowers into the semi-firm gelatin. Let your kids design their own -- in any color!
How to Make an Armani Leaf Bowl Centerpiece
Pre-cut the flowers and hand over the project to the kids. Watch our video and learn how to recreate this gorgeous centerpiece created by style icon Giorgio Armani.
Let your kids help you prep for a party with this mighty high design from Babies"R"Us products designer Amy Coe. Amy's idea: Elevate the ordinary! Pile thick spools of brightly colored ribbon in the center of the table, and top the stacks with small salad plates.
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Check out these birthday party necessities for all ages!