I don’t know about you, but I love any opportunity to turn something into a “party.” Especially when Harry Potter is involved. So on several occasions when I got together with my HP obsessed friend group to watch an 8 movie marathon (okay so we had to break it up into several different weekends- they are incredibly long movies!) we didn’t just consume the movies in all of their glory. We also decorated the whole house.
The best part about these decorations? We are all young professionals with not a ton of money burning a hole in our pockets, and we were only trying to entertain ourselves, so we found the cheapest AND easiest ways to do all of these crafts.
But don’t worry, I’m confident that they will impress a guest list way beyond my group of 5, and I’ll be sure to include my difficulty ratings when applicable, not to worry. You can make your next HP bash as complicated or simple as you like, by just adding one or two of these sprinkles of magic.
EASY FOOD IDEAS
Harry Potter’s Birthday Cake
This one was very appropriate for our party and for most HP functions, because this scene is in the first movie and only about 20 minutes in. Even your guests with the smallest of attention spans will understand this reference.
Supplies needed include Strawberry frosting and green icing, both of which can be found at Walmart, or online:
Pillsbury Creamy Supreme, Strawberry Flavored Frosting, 16 oz
Wilton 704-0143 Cookie Icing, Green
Difficulty rating: 2/10
Usefulness/fun rating: 9/10
Create time: 10 mins
Cost: $5-10 depending on the cake
My version of this cake is about as easy as it gets. I simply bought a $6 cheesecake from Walmart, spread some strawberry icing on the top (which surprisingly didn’t make it too sweet, but that’s in my sweet-tooth opinion!) and then wrote on it with a small green icing pen.
If you want to make your own cake so that it has that homemade quality or is healthier or different, you of course can. In fact, all you need is some kind of round dessert, and you can create this in a jiff.
The only reason I give it a 2 out of 10 is because some people have a much harder time than I do writing with frosting or paint pens. My best advice is to hold the tube of icing about a half-inch above the pink icing so that it glides over the surface and then lays down. Never touch your icing pen to the surface, or it will not come out in straight lines.
And don’t forget, never spell the words on the cake correctly, or that would be an insult to the memory of Hagrid. JK Rowling wouldn’t allow it. 😉
Ferrero Rocher Golden Snitches
This brilliant idea comes from Party Delights. They have a very helpful tutorial, but I can see from the picture that anyone could create this in a snap. All you need is to cut out the wing shapes that you want from paper (construction paper or card stock which are a bit thicker than printer paper would hold their shape well) and then draw little lines all over it to give the feather effect. Or, even better, use their free printable wings to print out and cut.
Then your last step is to lift the middle sticker on the chocolates up a little bit and stick the wings underneath. And voila, they are ready to fly away out of your sight!
Supplies needed include Ferrero Rocher, a printer and the wing design to print out (which can be found at the Party Delights blog.)
You can find the chocolates on Amazon here:
Ferrero Rocher Hazelnut Chocolates, 48 Count
Difficulty rating: 3/10
Usefulness/fun rating: 9/10
Create time: 20 mins (depending on how many you want to create)
Cost: FREE for the wings, definitely not free for the Ferrero Rocher. (Although I believe you can buy three at the Dollar Store at certain times of year for… you guessed it… a dollar.) If you want to buy more in bulk, you can find them at the Amazon link above, usually $15 for 48 chocolates.
The only reason that I can see this craft being “difficult” is if you wanted to create a high quantity of them, because it would be a little tedious and take a while. But as far as a project that requires one-by-one items be made, this is one of the easiest I have ever seen.
Source: Party Delights
5 Ingredient Butter Beer (in Wizard packaging!)
We have tried a couple of recipes for butter beer, and this one from Design Dazzle is definitely my favorite for the easy factor. Not only does it take just a couple of minutes, but it only takes 5 ingredients. The most delicious recipes take a few more, such as butter extract and vanilla extract put into the cream which is then whipped with a mixer, but I suppose you could take a hybrid of the easy and difficult ideas and just add some extracts to this recipe.
Difficulty rating: 4/10
Usefulness/fun rating: 10/10
Create time: 15 mins
Cost: $6-10 if you buy your items at the Dollar Store or Walmart. (NOTE: Cream Soda is usually hard to find, so don’t assume it will be at the Dollar or 99 Cent store, although I always check there first.)
Regardless of which recipe you choose, you CAN’T have an HP party without it. AND, I love this website because it provides these adorable labels that you can fit on almost any shape of bottle. Don’t present the butterbeer in a lame plastic pitcher when you can cover your cream soda bottle with just the help of your printer! Now all you need is a classy beer glass and you’re ready to enjoy.
EASY DECORATION IDEAS
As long as you have a little drawing skill, this one is very easy! I love the “party” touch it adds as balloons automatically do, but it is also a classy homage to the sassy bird everyone knows and loves from the series, as well as an homage to the importance of owls in the Wizarding world. Plus, it goes GREAT with the Hogwarts letters idea below, so I recommend making both!
Difficulty rating: 3/10 (time consuming if you want to make a bunch of them)
Usefulness/fun rating: 8/10
Create time: 20 mins
All you need are some white balloons and a black ! Buy as many balloons as Hedwigs that you want flying around. We only needed about 6 Hedwigs to make our food table arrangement and the front door area festive enough.
First, I recommend buying white helium balloons for the party store (they are pretty cheap at your local grocery store, and affordable enough at Party City) so that they will float in the air themselves. If you are short on time or budget, just blow up normal white balloons to a decent size (not too big or they won’t last long) and place them in cute places, like perched on your table, etc. I wouldn’t recommend letting them just sit on the floor, because that’s not what an owl would do! Next, draw the Hedwig pattern onto the balloon, similar to the photo. And check out Kara’s Party Ideas for her use of them among other more elaborate and beautiful HP decor!
I think the addition of some yellow in the eyes really make it stand out and perfectly clear about the character we are creating!
To make the idea even better, and to also make sure that your balloons are weighed down enough, attach a Hogwarts letter (keep scrolling for this craft) to the string on the helium balloon. They may even float around the house and deliver letters as they go!
Platform 9 & 3/4 Hallway
I love this idea for multiple reasons. One, it is a reference that fits across almost all of the movies, no matter which one your party group will be viewing. Two, it allows you to feel in a more interactive way that you are entering into the platform as our besties Ron, Harry and Hermione always do. You TOO will just fly right through the brick wall into the hidden wizarding world!
Difficulty rating: 6/10 (time consuming)
Usefulness/fun rating: 10/10
Create time: 30 mins
Cost: $2-15 (depending on whether you have some leftover red paint or not, and depending on how many red tablecloth strips you would like in between the brick ones. If you want to cover an entire hallway, you are obviously going to need more. But if you want to keep it simple, you can keep the cost WAY down.
This tutorial from Hover Dad Inc has a great tutorial on how to accomplish this look yourself. Essentially he takes a white tablecloth, finds a sponge and dips it into some red leftover paint and stamps bricks onto the tablecloth. Obviously, you place them about an inch apart from each other and try to keep your lines straight when it comes to the rows of bricks. If you can stagger the next row so that the bricks meet in the middle of a brick above and below it, it will look very realistic. Lastly, he found the 9 & 3/4 circle icon online, print and cut that out and then taped it to the top middle of the brick wall.
And if you want to step it up even more so that it truly FEELS like you’re walking through an entire wall, you can hang red plastic tablecloths behind the first brick one cut all the way up in strips (so that it is easy to walk through. And I imagine it would tickle a little bit) and then hang another brick one on the other side (create two brick walls instead of one) so that either way you start the wall you are looking at some pretty brick.
If you are short on time or REALLY don’t want to create a whole brick wall from scratch (because I can see this taking a pretty long time and creating a little bit of a mess, although it looks fun) then you can find the pre-made version which looks fantastic HERE.
Hogwarts Letters Flying from the Fireplace
This is one made by yours truly. And boy did I have fun making it, although it does take a little while because it is repetitive. However, I CAN tell you that it is absolutely worth it in the end. It is an adorable reference to the beginning of the first movie (Man I really do love those references, don’t I?) and it will be extremely visible to a party showing any of the movies, because it can be a decoration near your TV or coming right out of the fireplace.
Difficulty rating: 5/10 (A little time consuming)
Usefulness/fun rating: 10/10
Create time: 20 mins
Cost: $5-8 (If you have envelopes already that you just can’t find another use for, this is the time. Not much else is needed except for red Play-Doh which is only about one dollar!)
It may look complicated, but you can trust me that it is not. Simply start with an envelope (a rectangular shape is most like the movie, and if the flaps come in a triangle it will be even cuter. I would just avoid long skinny envelopes and square flaps.) and write the following on the front, each line starting a little more toward the center as you go (as shown in picture.)
“MR. H POTTER
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive,
My husband is English, so I can confirm that this does indeed look like a strange English envelope. Their addresses are very different from the way we write them in America. Fun fact!
Now, turn your envelope over. Taking a small ball of red Play-Doh, about as wide as your thumb, squish it down over the flap of the envelope to seal it. Now take a penny, and squish it in the playdough ball to flatten it. Lift the penny up, and it should create what looks somewhat like a Hogwarts seal!
Don’t worry if Abe Lincoln’s face isn’t completely visible, it will still definitely get the right effect and point across for your guests. And one of my favorite parts about this craft is that once the Play-Doh dries, it is almost permanent! It doesn’t come off of the envelope very easily after it dries and it is so rock hard that the seal never gets damaged itself.
Lastly, hole punch one corner of all of the envelopes. I recommend doing them in all different corners, but mostly on the top right corner and top left corner. Take some floss, tie a knot through one of the hole punches you just made so that it is securely attached to one of your envelopes. Now tie the rest of this piece of floss to another envelope. Keep doing this over and over until you have a long garland of envelopes tied together (the envelopes should be just a little bit apart, but almost touching each other. Hang this garland by tying it to a tack, pushing the thumbtack into the ceiling, and then tacking the other side of the garland to right above the start of the fireplace. (Note: if you don’t have wall above the start of the fireplace like we do, try taping it to the brick of the fireplace instead. If you have the garland going almost vertically, it should stay put with not too much effort. However, it will become heavy with all of the Play-Doh so don’t attempt to hang it diagonally. Imagine your letters from Hogwarts floating into the sky and then all around the room, not shooting directly at you.)
Create another shorter garland of letters, tack them up next to the first one and then attach them at the end near the fireplace so that it looks like they are shooting out together in the same line but then separate into more lines of flying mail. And there you have it, you DID receive your letter! And I just thought of a cool variation of this– address the letter to yourself but use the same kind of hand writing! All your dreams are coming true!
HP DECORATIVE SIGNS
Goblet of Fire
I count this all as one project that I created for our movie marathon, but I will give some explanation to each sign in case you are only interested in creating certain ones. This is one of the easiest, most personalized and customizable craft ideas for any party at all. Have a favorite book? Make a sign in reference to it. Like a different movie the most? Make a sign. Have a favorite or least favorite character? Make a sign! Scrapbook paper and a sharpie marker are all you need to transform your party space.
Difficulty rating: 1/10
Usefulness/fun rating: 8/10
Create time: 5 mins per sign
Cost: FREE – $5 (if you want to purchase scrapbook paper just for this occasion)
Our first sign, the Goblet of Fire, is relatively easy, especially if you are good at copying a font while looking at it. I took a piece of dark green scrapbook paper, found a picture of the Goblet of Fire book so that I could copy the font in the logo (you know, to get the lightning bolt in the “Fire” word perfectly?) and drew the words on it with a Sharpie. If you are feeling less confident in your drawing abilities, write it in pencil first and erase and re-try until you get it the way you want it.
Fun fact: I messed up somehow on the first try. So I took a gray piece of paper and glued it over the mistake, and then wrote ETERNAL GLORY. The arrows underneath were perfect to point to our other idea, which was to use this blue wine glass as our goblet. I simply cut a piece of orange scrapbook paper into two or three pieces, stuffed piece by piece into the cup so that it was sticking out on both sides but pushed all the way down in the middle (basically a U shape for each piece) so that all of the pointing corners looked like flames. Make sure you’re 17 before entering your name or suffer the consequences of Dumbledore’s protection charms! (Wow I sound like a nerd, but I love it.)
Bathroom Signs & Decor
As you can see, none of these signs or ideas are fancy or difficult. And yet, they add so much humor and fan fiction flare to your loo!
First, take a tube of red lipstick that you don’t mind getting ruined (and use a better color of red than I did, one that is more vibrant) and write on the mirror “THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS OPENED, ENEMIES OF THE HEIR BEWARE.” And make sure you spell it correctly, because a lot of those words sound the same but have completely different spellings! Oh, the English language how we don’t understand your rules. And don’t worry, it comes off with some Windex.
Then, with the help of your printer, print this picture of Moaning Myrtle on any type of paper. Cut around her silhouette, and tape her to your bathroom mirror. She will stalk you as you sit on the porcelain throne, just as she does to the poor students that try to use the bathroom on the third floor. And it will be hilarious.
Lastly, write MINISTRY OF MAGIC THIS WAY on a piece of scrapbook paper, with a downward arrow (of course) and tape it to the back of the toilet. Or if you’re feeling even more mischievous, tape it to the inside of the lid so that your guests don’t see it until they open it up. Heehee.
These two signs are some of my favorites. To the left, you will find just a small piece of scrapbook paper with the label “Espresso Patronum,” and it’s hilarious to post right next to or on the coffeepot.
And of course, you can’t have a Harry Potter party without the Deathly Hallows symbol above the tear-jerking cursive words of “Always.” If you still haven’t seen the last movie then I won’t ruin that reference for you yet, but you need to make it your mission to see it so that you can feel all of the HP feels. And if you and your guests already understand this reference, then you will understand the importance of never ever forgetting to include it in your party decor. The most hated character is- in this case- the easiest to love!
So whether you’re throwing an HP birthday party, an HP Halloween party, or just want to spice up a movie marathon with your Muggle friends, I hope you can use these easy and cheap ideas to add some homemade flair to the atmosphere. Don’t forget that some ideas, even when they take 5 minutes and cost less than $5, can be the difference between just another day and something purely magical.
Your turn: have you used any of these ideas before in your Harry Potter shindigs? Were any of them easier or harder than you anticipated? What’s your favorite way to add some Harry Potter to your day?
Let me know in the comments! And be sure to subscribe in the sidebar menu so that you never miss a DIY thing.