Homemade Graduation Party Favors

With a little ingenuity, you can make homemade graduation party favors yourself that will create a party that rises above the ordinary. Most graduation party favor ideas look to the cap, gown and diploma as symbols of graduation. You can use those symbols to make graduation party favors of your own, but add your own special touches.

A Tip of the Graduation Cap
Starting with the graduation cap, here are a couple of easy graduation party favor ideas. Cut pieces of 2mm rubber mat or stiff cardboard into 3-by-3-inch squares; you can use black, or the color of the graduate's school. Top the square with a tiny tassel; these can be found at most craft or fabric stores. To make your small graduation party favor do double duty, make one for each guest, including the guest of honor. With a paint pen or a marker, write each name on the back of a cap. Now it's also a place card.

Another way to work the graduation cap into your party is not as a graduation favor but as the top of your grand dessert. For a smallish party, make your favorite cake in two 9-inch round layers, and one 6-inch layer. As you frost and put the layers together, center the 6-inch layer atop the two 9-inch layers. In a saucepan, combine 2 ounces of dark unsweetened chocolate, 2 tablespoons of shortening, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir over medium heat until just melted. Cover the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch pan with waxed paper or parchment paper, and pour the melted chocolate mixture into the pan. Spread it out as evenly as possible. Chill until it's firm, then carefully remove the chocolate square from the pan. Place it atop the 6-inch cake layer, and use a dab of frosting to glue on a large black tassel. If you want to frost your cake in the school colors, use 2 ounces of white chocolate instead of dark, and add food coloring to match the frosting. For a larger party, make one or more sheet cakes, frost them and cut them into squares, and cut your chocolate or colored sheet into small squares. Add mini-tassels to match, and place one atop each piece of cake. If your guests don't eat those squares, they can take them home as graduation party favors to remember the party by.

Diplomas of Delight
Make mini-diplomas as graduation party favors using paper and ribbon. Cut sheets of parchment-colored paper -- or decorated paper of your choice (such as one with caps and scrolls) -- into 3-by-6-inch strips. Roll up the strip and tie it with a ribbon in one of the school colors, or multiple ribbons using all the school colors. Set a mini-diploma beside each place if your party is a dinner, or put them in a bowl on the food table or by the door. If you write on the inside of each mini-diploma graduation favor, you can customize them for a discussion or a party game. If you want a discussion, you can write a question on the back of each, such as "Who was your favorite teacher?" or "What was your favorite subject, and why?" For a party game, you can write down an object (school- or graduation-related) and have one person look at his or her diploma, and the rest ask "20 Questions" to guess what it is. Your game can be anything that best suits your graduate. For preschoolers, you may have them write their names or color a picture. You could also write a number on the back of the diploma that corresponds to a number on a special graduation party favor. Choose items that you and your graduate think will please everyone at the party, from a pen and pencil set to a sketch pad, to anything you think suitable and affordable.

Ring in a New Life
Another great graduation party favor is a faux graduation class ring. Buy a roll of gold-colored braid, cut it into lengths that will go around a finger, and use a fabric glue to connect it. Place a faux gemstone on the spot where the ends are connected, and you've got your class ring. To give it a little more class, purchase small cardboard boxes and paint them with the school colors. Place the ring inside and tie the box closed with the leftover ribbon from the diplomas. Again, all these items are inexpensive and available at craft stores. If your graduate is male and wouldn't appreciate the ring idea, stick with the box but put inside it something that is personal to your graduate and his interests. This may be movie tickets, tickets to a sports event, low-dollar gift cards to sporting goods or music stores, guitar picks and/or strings, or anything else that would make truly personal graduation party favors that your grad and his guests will remember for a very long time -- at least until their 20th reunion!

Finally, for your graduate's own special gift, take a photo of each guest as they arrive and have them write their name and a note on a page in a journal or scrapbook. Place each photo on the appropriate page. It will complete a party that your special grad will never forget.

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