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DIY Summer Pool Party

Another school year is in the books and summer is almost upon us. What better way to celebrate the most relaxed season of them all than a backyard pool party?! Invite your friends, invite your family, invite the neighbors and don’t worry if you don’t have an in-ground pool out your patio door because there are plenty of DIY ways to turn your lawn into a tropical oasis fit for bathing suits and flip flops.

We’ve crafted an aloha summer for under $200 (food and all), and you can do it too! From invitations and decor to games and food, these simple projects give your guests a party to remember—and let you keep your cool to boot!

PREP WORK

Noodsicle Invites

Total cost: $0.45 per invite

Difficulty level: Intermediate

MATERIALS

  • Pool noodle
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Popsicle/craft sticks
  • Sharpie marker OR printed invite
  • Scissors/Exacto knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spray adhesive

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut a length of noodle to approximately 6 inches.
  2. Shave off the 2 outsides of the cut noodle, and trim them into popsicle shapes.
  3. Trace the shape of the noodle popsicle shapes onto scrapbooking paper, and cut out your trace.
  4. Hot glue all the pieces together in this order:
    • Sticks to the back of scrapbooking paper
    • Noodle to sticks and paper (put hot glue on paper NOT noodle to adhere)
  5. Trim any excess paper around the edges of your assembled noodsicles.
  6. Use spray adhesive to glue the printed invite on, or write invitation in Sharpie marker.

These whimsical “noodsicles” are a great place to set the theme of your aloha summer bash. Choose a noodle in your favorite color (or mix it up with multi colors), and select complementary scrapbooking paper to set that endless summer mood. DIY Tip: Keep unused bits of scrapbooking paper to make signs for games and accentuate other decor to carry your theme throughout the party. These little touches can make a good decor really great.

DECOR

Tropical Parasol Wreath

Total cost: $8

Difficulty level: Beginner

MATERIALS

  • Noodle
  • Cocktail umbrellas
  • Ribbon
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Form noodle into wreath shape, and tape the ends together (noodles are cheaper than wreath forms).
  2. Stick cocktail umbrellas into the noodle in a pattern of your choosing.
  3. Cut off the pointy ends of umbrellas that may be sticking out (safety glasses recommended).
  4. Tie a ribbon of your choosing around the top to hang.

Who said the holidays are the only time to have a wreath on your door! Greet your guests at the front door (or fence gate) with this colorful parasol wreath. This is a great place to use that leftover scrapbook paper to add a “Come on in” or directional sign to your wreath, saving you trips to the door and allowing time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Tropical Parasol Topiary

Total cost: $11

Difficulty level: Beginner

MATERIALS

  • Cocktail umbrellas
  • Sand bucket
  • Styrofoam ball and block (in the floral department)
  • Wooden dowel (plain or painted)
  • Sand
  • Knife

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the styrofoam block to a size that fits snugly inside of the sand bucket, and set in bucket.
  2. Stick the wooden dowel in the top of the styrofoam block.
  3. Fill the bucket with sand to cover the styrofoam block.
  4. Stick cocktail umbrellas into the styrofoam ball in a pattern of your choosing, leaving a space at the bottom.
  5. Stick the completed ball onto the top of the wooden dowel.

These low cost, easy to craft topiaries make for the perfect table centerpiece. We’ve kept it basic here, but you can jazz it up by painting the wooden dowel to match your theme, or even add a smaller cocktail umbrella and bit of tropical cloth to simulate a beach towel and umbrella. Use them solo (one on each table) or group them in assorted heights (like we did for our food table here) for an eye-catching display.

Beach Ball Columns

Total cost: $25

Difficulty level: Advanced

MATERIALS

12 large beach balls

  • 8 inflatable water rings
  • Quick dry plastic bonding glue
  • String or bamboo for wooden support

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Inflate all beach balls and rings.
  2. Figure out the pattern you want for your columns and lay them out in that order.
  3. Glue the beach balls and rings in that order.
  4. Secure using string or a wooden support

These super cute beach ball columns aren’t a difficult project in theory, but you’re going to want some help setting these up. Extra sets of hands are key, and the larger the beach balls, the easier it will be. For the more experienced and adventurous DIYer, you can also try a full beach ball archway—don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Easy Extras

Total cost: $50 total

Difficulty level: Beginner

Add some easy extras like this beach ball sprinkler (we purchased on the cheap from Amazon), and leftovers from your projects (cocktail umbrellas, sand buckets, inflatable beach balls and rings) to add to your decor and ensure your theme is prevalent throughout the pool area or yard.

If you’re feeling particularly crafty and have some extra time before your party, why not include some other beginner level projects? Grab any cute bucket you have around the house and fill it with water balloons for kids to grab and go. Or, create a dramatic focal point with nothing but marbles, balloons and string. Just drop a marble in each balloon, blow them up and tie them off, then hang from a nearby tree in large groups.

We’ve also used an inflatable baby pool (for under $10 from Amazon) to hold beverages and used a blue foam kick board we found at Dollar Tree as a backdrop for our food table. Signage like this can be made using a vinyl lettering machine, a graphic design program or the old-fashioned way—by hand.

When you’re lucky enough to have a backyard pool, the party games are ready made. For those throwing their party on the lawn, these fun themed games add some beachy flair and some splashing good times:

GAMES

Beach Ball Croquet

Total cost: $14

Difficulty level: Beginner

MATERIALS

  • 9 noodles
  • 18 wooden dowels or skewers
  • Beach Balls (4: 1 for each player)
  • Yard sale stickers
  • Sharpie marker

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set up croquet court in style of your choosing by stabbing 2 wooden dowels into the ground for each noodle.
  2. Slide noodles over wooden dowels.
  3. Have each player write their initials on a sticker with the marker and adhere to their beach ball

RULES

The object of the game is to advance the balls through the course by kicking them through the noodle wickets in the correct order. The winner is the first person to make it back through the starting wickets. Each player only has one shot per turn— unless a bonus shot is earned by scoring a wicket (going through a wicket) or hitting another ball.

Aloha Skeeball

Total cost: $10

Difficulty level: Intermediate

MATERIALS

  • Sand buckets
  • Ping pong balls
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush/sponge
  • Paper
  • Sharpie marker OR vinyl letters OR printed graphic design
  • Duct tape
  • Noodle

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Paint ping pong balls to look like beach balls or just in beachy colors to match your theme, and let dry.
  2. Make value signs for buckets using Sharpie marker and paper, vinyl lettering machine and paper or printed from graphic design program.
  3. Affix signage to buckets using duct tape
  4. Fill bottom of bucket with sand to level on grass surfaces and limit movement.
  5. Arrange on lawn in ascending order.
  6. Use a noodle for the throw line.

RULES

  1. Organize players into a line behind the throw line.
  2. Each player takes turns attempting to throw allotted number of ping pong balls into the valued buckets.
  3. Keep track of each players point total.
  4. After each player has had a turn, the player with the most points wins (have a prize or prizes ready!)

Water Balloon Piñata

Total cost: $8

Difficulty level: Beginner

MATERIALS

  • Pack of water balloons
  • String
  • Pencils, wooden skewers or plastic bat
  • Bandana for blindfold

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill water balloons using yard hose, and tie them off.
  2. Tie string to each balloon.
  3. Hang balloons in staggered spacing from a tree or trellis (if you don’t have a tree with lots of branches or trellis, tie a string between 2 posts or trees and then hang balloons from that).

RULES

  1. Organize players into a line.
  2. Blindfold the first player, and spin them around 3 times.
  3. Give the player the bat, and let them swing for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat with next player in line, and repeat until all balloons are popped.

FOOD

Beach Blondies

Total cost: $14

Difficulty level: Intermediate

INGREDIENTS: Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, rainbow sprinkles, royal icing, powdered sugar, merange powder, water and food coloring.

Sea Cucumber Dip

Total cost: $4.50

Difficulty level: Beginner

INGREDIENTS: 2 large cucumbers, 8 sprigs chopped dill, 1 package cream cheese, mayonnaise and blue food coloring.

Fresh Fruit Pops

Total cost: $3.50

Difficulty level: Beginner

INGREDIENTS: 1 batch Crystal Light lemonade, fresh blueberries, fresh strawberries and popsicle molds.

Pop Popcorn

Total cost: $6

Difficulty level: Beginner

INGREDIENTS: 2 bags sweet and salty popcorn, white chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles and blue food coloring.

Full recipes available online at www.CallUsSuzy.com.

ABOUT THE CRAFTERS

Long-time Cobb Life writer Meredith Pruden loves getting crafty with her friends. In fact, they had so much fun for the holiday decor DIY piece in December, they’ve decided to come back for round two. She lives in East Cobb with her son, Kaine (17). Find her at pinterest.com/mere13.

Lesley Jones is a Cobb native who works in medical device sales— preventing cancer by day and getting crafty at night. She lives near the Chattahoochee River corridor in South Cobb with her rag doll cat, Baby. Find her at pinterest.com/buggyjones.

Lesley’s crafty business partner, Kathleen Brown, created all the fun food for our DIY summer pool party. You can find her online at www.CallUsSuzy.com to get the full recipes for Beach Blondies, Sea Cucumber Dip, Fresh Fruit Pops and Pop Popcorn and also on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/callussuzy.

Megan Thomas lives in Canton with her husband, Spence, and their three children: Brady (15), Griffin (11) and Addison (7, and our model for the games). They also have a son, Cole (18) who is a freshman at Kennesaw State University. Find her at www.pinterest.com/meg4kids.

LOCATIONS

Special thanks to Vinings Main in Cobb County for the use of their pool and to Woodmont Golf and Country Club in Cherokee for the use of their lush green grass.

Find Vinings Main (3621 Vinings Slope SE, Atlanta 30339) online at www.viningsmain.com, or call them at 770.433.0401.

Woodmont Golf and Country Club (3105 Gaddis Rd., Canton 30115) is online at www.woodmontgolfclub.com, or call them at 770.345.9260.

*Originally published in the June 2015 issues of Cobb Life and Cherokee Life Magazines.

mpruden