Set your celebratory table with one of these fun graduation centerpiece ideas.
The ceremony is over, the diploma was awarded, and caps were thrown in the air. Now it’s time for the big party with family and friends. If you’re hosting, you’ve probably spent weeks determining the guest list, choosing what’s on the menu, and planning any activities or games. One thing you don’t want to forget about is the décor—especially setting the table with an eye-catching graduation centerpiece. We have a couple of exciting graduation centerpiece ideas that will make your table really stand out—some are DIY projects; others are ones you can purchase online if you don’t have time. Plus, with one of these, you might not have to do much table decorating aside from setting out a tablecloth and adding some place settings (don't forget name cards if there’s arranged seating). Some of these you can even keep for the next gathering—or have lucky guests take home at the end of the night.
Painted Photo Bottles
Print out some of your favorite photos of the graduate throughout the years and put them on display for your guests to admire. These colorful painted photo bottles are so easy to make and can be done a few days before the big party. Collect clear glass bottles with corks and buy some acrylic paint. Pour the paint into the jar and swirl around, then let dry. Attach the photo to a paper clip and insert it in the cork. The grad might even want to take a few of these mementos to her dorm or first apartment as a nostalgic reminder.
Photo and idea from Eighteen25. Get the instructions here.
Congrats Grad Spray Centerpiece
If you don’t have time to DIY your own centerpiece because you’re busy prepping the party snacks, or setting up the tables, chairs, and the drinks station, purchase one of these affordable festive decorations. The flashy metallic design makes it party-ready. The centerpiece consists of black, gold, and silver foil sprays, a black cardstock mortarboard, and a weighted base so it won’t topple over (and will keep your tablecloth in place, too). At just five dollars, it’s budget-friendly enough that you can buy one for each guest table—and maybe even the buffet or bar.
To buy: $5; partycity.com.
Inspired by a Target find, this typography vase lets the graduate know that you’re proud of her achievements and it’s time to celebrate all of her hard work. “Yay” is a great choice, but you can also try other (longer) words like “Congrats” or “Hooray” and place them on bigger tables or even the buffet station. Purchase some paper mache letters and cut the tops with an X-acto knife. Cover them with acrylic paint in the graduate’s favorite colors (or school colors), and, once dried, glue the letters together. Place flowers and succulents inside and you’ve got a cheerful centerpiece.
Photo and idea from A Kailo Chic Life. Get the instructions here.
DIY LED Planter
This centerpiece idea is perfect if your party goes well into the night—it lights up. The LEDs will illuminate your table, but add some tea lights or lanterns for an even brighter spot. To make your own, take a planter and wrap rope and strips of jersey fabric (in the graduate’s school colors) around it. Wrap battery-powered micro LED lights around the middle of the planter. Once that’s done, it’s time to pot the graduate’s favorite blooms or plants inside. To top it off, you can create a small sign in the shape of a mortarboard or inscribe a plaque with the graduate’s class year to stick inside.
Photo and idea from Brit+Co. Get the instructions here.
Graduation Mason Jar Centerpiece
Use this glittery centerpiece set to add some pizzazz to your party table. It comes with one large mason jar, complete with a graduation cap and two smaller ones that can be used to display flowers. It also holds straws and utensils so guests can help themselves. If you want to put flowers inside the jars, the Etsy seller recommends placing a small plastic bag filled with water inside so the jar doesn’t get wet. And if black and gold isn’t part of the party’s color scheme, you can customize your order to match the graduate’s school colors.
To buy: $29; limeandco.etsy.com.