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Party Bag Ideas on a Budget

Awesome party bags don’t have to cost a fortune. With a little creative thinking you can create party bags on a budget that will delight kids and their parents. If you’re looking for party ideas on a budget, forget the cheap and nasty toys from dollar stores that are looked at once and then thrown away. Instead, check out these creative party bag ideas on a budget that you can make for just a few dollars each.


If you’re hosting a Frozen themed party you can create budget party bags around a build-your-own Olaf kit. Use cardboard noodle boxes from Spotlight or craft stores to fill with the following:

  • Glitter playdough – leave the playdough uncoloured to look like snow and add some silver glitter. If you’ve never made playdough, there are HEAPS of tutorials online. Check out YouTube for easy guides! 
  • A couple of plastic eyes (Spotlight or craft store)
  • Find some suitable twigs from the garden or local park for his arms. You’ll also be able to find some small twigs to use for the top of his head.
  • A packet of orange Fimo from your local craft store can be used to make his nose. Follow the instructions on the Fimo to bake it hard. Or make some orange playdough and let the kids make their own Olaf nose.

Put all the small parts such as eyes and nose in a mini zip lock bag which you can get from newsagencies or Spotlight. To keep the glitter playdough fresh, seal it in a cellophane bag (Spotlight or craft store) and close with a ribbon. Put all of Olaf’s parts into the noodle box then print out a picture of Olaf to cut out and stick to the front of the box.


Transformer themed party bags are a cinch to create on a budget, just add the following to your loot bags.

  • Red and blue balloon
  • Transformers temporary tattoos can be found online and in a LOT of stores! 
  • There are loads of free Transformer colouring pages available online to print out. Roll one or two up and secure with a red or blue ribbon to pop in your party bag. If the budget allows, pick up a large box of crayons and divide them up between the party bags. Tie the crayons together with a ribbon or elastic band.

Print these free Transformer thank you labels from Printable Treats to stick on your party bags


Kids love pirate parties and pirate themed party bags are a steal to make on a budget for just a few buck each. Build your pirate party bag around brown paper bags from art stores or Spotlight. Print off a cute pirate pic and stick to the front for younger kids. For older kids you can design your own customised booty loot bags.

Fill the loot bags with:

  • Pirate bandanas – if you’re handy with a sewing machine or overlocker, half a metre of skull and crossbones fabric can be whipped up into a pirate bandana in next to no time for next to no money.
  • Pirate patch can be made from some black felt and hatting elastic all available from art & craft stores, Spotlight or Lincraft.
  • Temporary tattoos with a pirate theme can be picked up cheaply online or in a variety of stores. 

Strawberry Shortcake

For Strawberry Shortcake party bags that not only fit the budget but are also loads of fun and keep on giving with real strawberry plants, fill a pink loot bag with the following:

  • A couple of strawberry plant rootstocks from your local hardware or plant nursery in a cellophane bag and print out instructions on planting and caring for them stuck to the front.
  • Pink playdough with a few drops of strawberry fragrance oil which you’ll find in most dollar stores. Use the same recipe as the build your own Olaf but add red food colouring to get pink dough. You can also add some glitter.
  • Strawberry stickers – these strawberry scratch and sniff stickers fit the party bag budget at $6.95 for 180 stickers. Simply cut the stickers out individually off the sticker sheet and pop in the bag.

My Little Pony

Pinterest is filled with party bag ideas on a budget for My Little Pony themed parties but here’s some suggestions to get you going.

  • Home made pink popcorn – there are oodles of recipes online using either packets of jelly mix or food colouring and sugar. If you’re using a recipe with jelly, both Coles brand and Aeroplane jelly crystals are free from artificial colours and flavours. Keep the popcorn in a separate clear coloured cellophane bag and secure with rainbow sticker.
  • Use this tutorial to turn plain brown bobby pins into rainbow hair pins using nail polish. Slide them onto a piece of cardboard.
  • Pick up some rainbow grosgrain ribbon from Spotlight or Lincraft. Cut the rainbow grosgrain long enough to use as a head band or for a pony tail. Tie it into a nice bow and pop into the party bags.

Budget party bags that look anything but budget

These 5 party bag ideas on a budget will fool both the kids and their parents – no one will know that these party bags cost just a few dollars each to make.

Wanting to make the party bag a lolly bag? Check out our ideas.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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