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We need some ideas for centerpieces for our tables for a sports banquet. Do you have any dollar stretcher ideas?
My husband is a principal of a Christian school, so we've had plenty of opportunities to decorate for stuff like this on the cheap! Here's the best one:
Get the cafeteria to save some of the big institutional cans. Put some rocks in the bottom to secure. Wrap the outside of the can with construction paper or spray paint them. Then wrap in that shiny clear paper (I forget what it's called, but you get it in rolls at places like Wal-Mart in the gift-wrap department). Get the right color balloons to make balloon bouquets, blow them up with helium, tie them together with a rock, plop it down into the can, stuff with some more of that shiny paper, and you're good to go. It's wonderful, because it sticks up high. Usually these things are in high-ceilinged rooms, like a gym, and there's lots of visual void if you don't have something high up. We've also used sprayed twigs sticking up (but not with the balloons!) inside cans.
One more thing: consider having your school buy a helium tank. We use it for fundraisers. You know, send your kid a balloon on his birthday, have it delivered by the sponsoring club, pay $5).
I did this once for a girls softball banquet at our local high school. I used the girls' uniform shirts. I stuffed them with newspaper so they would stand up on the table, scrunching up the bottoms, so only the shoulder area and arms were stuffed. I asked a local nursery if we could "borrow" some blooming plants for a night. They had no problem with lending plants to us. I used chrysanthemums because they were the school color. We put the plant in the neck of the uniform so it came out the middle. It went over really well, and was extremely cheap. Didn't cost us anything.
Another time for a track banquet we did a similar thing only we used the kids' track shoes. Of course we cleaned them up a bit. We used small pots of plants this time and put them in the opening of the shoe. Very cute!
If you have a local career and technical center (still known as "Vo-Tech" high schools in some areas), inquire if they have a floral design program. I work for such as school, and the students do lovely work. Our school provides beautiful fresh or silk floral arrangements for various non-profit groups, local high school functions, etc. for a fraction of the cost of a regular florist. The students get experience in their future profession, and you'll get a beautiful product.
Use a bag that they use to put gifts in (miniature shopping bags) in the colors of the school or whatever. Fill them with some goodies, such as a can of soda, bag of potato chips, candy bars & etc. get balloons in the colors and tie them to the bags for each table. Put a number on each bag, one for each person sitting at the table, and draw for the winner at each table after the event. They get to keep the bag.
My running club actually considered using old running shoes as centerpieces until we thought through the prospect of eating off the same table! But you could use footwear if wrapped in cellophane or use some other bit of equipment specific to your sport that you could borrow from participants (football helmets, for example).
Another idea is old trophies--even if you don't have a lot of them to borrow from people, they can often be found at flea markets and yard sales very inexpensively.
Ask around to find old basketballs, footballs, playground balls, soccer balls, etc. that are in people's garages, attics, playrooms, etc. It doesn't matter if they are deflated. Wash them up and buy a couple of small, inexpensive pots of ivy per ball. You will also need spaghum moss. Now cut a hole in the ball large enough to stick in the 2 pots of ivy. You might need to crumple up old newspapers to stuff in first so that the pots are elevated enough to show the ivy well. Stuff in a little spaghum moss to cover the rims of the pots. Add a couple of carnations in the school colors in the tiny little holders that you can buy cheap at hobby supplies or floral supplies. Use sprigs of greenery, either real or fake, to rest these centerpieces on in the center of the table. That's it!
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