PARTY ON A BUDGET: Tangled/Rapunzel Party for $125

by Jillian Leslie on

When I read that Candy from The Party Bakery spent $125 on her daughter’s Tangled Up in Fun Rapunzel Birthday, I almost flipped. How did she do it? Well, I asked her how, and she was kind enough to write up her money saving tips. Thank you, Candy, for all your practical and creative ideas. Take a look…

Have a Little Princess who’s dreaming of a Royal Birthday Bash? Gonna need a fairy godmother to pull it off on your budget? No problem…you’ve got this!





My little princess wanted to have a Tangled Birthday party for 6th birthday this year. Being an excited kindergartener with a classroom of willing party guest she, of course, wanted to invite 18 kids to the party…never mind her siblings, family friends, and family.

We were able to explain that we couldn’t invite every child from her classroom but that she could invite her best friends from the class. Apparently, she has many best friends…lol! So we still ended up with a large guest list when it was all said and done. She skipped away happy as pie, dreaming of her upcoming Royal bash, and I was left a bit stressed and frazzled trying to figure out how we were going to pull this off.

Long story short, we were able to do it and stay very low budget. In all, I spent about $125 on food and decorations and the whole shebang. Now in full disclosure, I do own a party design and printable business. So I was able to make a great deal of the accessories including my invitations for cost. However, you can access printable elements yourself online inexpensively.

So let’s dig in and let me share my top money saving tips with you.


Invitations. You could run out to Party City and buy the 8 pack of the Disney licensed Rapunzel party invitations BUT do you really want the same invitations that everyone else has? Your invitation sets the entire tone of your party! It is in my opinion, the single most important piece of your party. When I design my party sets, I first start with my invitation and then build the rest of my pieces around it. That being said, I love the idea of a custom invitation.


You can find so many wonderful party vendors on Etsy and on the web that have pre-designed invitations, and complete party sets that you can download and print yourself. Or if your budget allows, you can order them ready made. Like I said, I am in the business of party design, so I designed my own invitation which is available in my Etsy shop (shameless promotion time). For $12 you can download the printable file and send it to your favorite photo print shop (Walgreens, Wal-Mart..etc.) or print them at home. Add your Rapunzel braid, and they’re ready to go. A unique party invitation that sets the tone for your party and lets your guest know there in for a unique and fun time!

Tip 2

Decorations. Look around the house and use what you have. If you need something, ask your friends to borrow it before you go out and buy it!

I knew I wanted to serve some of our food items in iron skillets since it plays such a big part in the movie. I did not have a single iron skillet to my name. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy one so I started asking friends and before I knew it I had 5 iron skillets waiting for me. Perfect!

I basically took a walk through my house and looked around for things I could use. I found a cute lantern candle holder that I could place on the table, a little restaurant style standing chalkboard to welcome my guest, a couple cute baskets for holding various items, and some Christmas lights for stringing the trees outside to make a magical forest. All for FREE!

I knew I wanted to created the Snuggly Duggling (the thug pub) in my dining room, and serve all of the food from there, so I would need a table cloth that was rustic and inexpensive. I went to my local Jo-Ann Fabrics and found some burlap and purchased 2 yards. I think it ran me about $4 because I also used one of their 40% off coupons. Woot woot! I love a deal!

I wanted to have something incorporated into my decorations that resembled Rapunzel’s flowing golden hair. My first thought was to use golden yarn and create a huge braid to hang out of my daughters window onto the porch below. Well, after trying to braid the tiny hair piece I made for a photo prop I decided that was going to be way to time consuming and take way to much yarn!! So I found a roll of vinyl table covering at Party City that would be perfect.

The entire roll was $22.00 and quite honestly I barely put a dent in in. If you don’t have a huge area to cover you could easily buy a few of the rectangular table clothes instead.Check the Dollar Store first.  They usually have a good selection of basic colors. I then unrolled a large section and cut it in half and was able to string it from the windows, on the ceiling, and through the tree’s outside. It was perfect! You could even weave some Christmas lights through it and make it look like the glowing hair! Cute!


Next I knew we could not fit that many kids inside our house so we were going to have to utilize our front yard. I planned the party for the evening so that I could create a magical forest outside. Using several strings of our Christmas lights, I put my husband on the task of stringing a big tree on our side yard with lights and Rapunzel hair. Inspired by a Taylor Swift video I had seen, I wanted to have pictures from the movie hanging from the tree branches for the kids to look at as they sat under the tree and ate.

I started Googling Tangled pictures and found a bunch of free high quality clips from the movie that I could print on my home computer and use. If you can’t print them yourself send them to your favorite photo place and for a few cents a print you’ve got some great decorations! Then just use some fishing line or even white thread and hang from the tree. It was really cute and the kids loved running around looking at all of the pictures!



Tip 3 

Games. You have to have something to keep 18 kids busy for 2 hours. I am a huge advocate for the “home” party. I like the way it enables the kids to interact with each other and actually spend time with the birthday girl or boy. Sometimes these parties at other places can feel so disconnected, and I don’t think it gives much opportunity for the kids to really connect. However, you have to entertain them yourself when they are at your house so you better get creative!

We decided an easy game would be pin the nose on Flynn Rider. That is a big reoccurring joke in the movie that his nose is always different on all of the wanted posters. So again I turned to my trusty friend Google and found a free Flynn Rider wanted poster. I printed a few of these off for decorations and for the game. Then I just made some little square pieces of paper with noses drawn on them. A simple blind fold and you have a fun game!

One of my favorite things we did was the painting wall. Rapunzel loves to paint and basically paints her entire room to occupy her time. I wanted to run some paper all the way down the side of our fence and let the kids go crazy but couldn’t figure out how to make that happen with out spending a fortune on paper. Then we had the idea of using the back side of wrapping paper. That was one of those “ah ha” moments! We bought 2 rolls of Dollar Store wrapping paper and covered the entire fence for $2.00. We then bought 2 packs of the Crayola paints and some Dollar Store paint brushes and let the kids line up and go crazy! It was awesome! They loved it and what a great art piece we had when they were done.



Another inexpensive idea was to get some sidewalk chalk..again Dollar Store…and let them draw all over the driveway!

I love when I look at party pictures and they have a cute photo op set up with props. So I scoured the clearance section at Michaels and found a white frame that did not include the glass.  It was only $6 and would work perfectly. Using some yarn I made a Rapunzel braid to attach to a princess tiara that I pulled out of my daughters dress up box. We hung the frame with fishing line from the pretty tree outside and the kids were able to put on the crown and braid and have their picture taken…turned out pretty cute! One tip though, make sure you take a minute and make the kids go over there to take pictures because otherwise you will forget and they will be having to much fun to stop and want to do it themselves!


Lastly to add to the atmosphere we brought out our MP3 player and some little speakers and played the Tangled soundtrack as the kids ran around and ate outside. We downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes for about $10.00

Tip 4

Food. I didn’t want to break the bank on foo, but knew we had to have something substantial for the kids and parents since it was just after dinner time. Rapunzel’s favorite soup is Hazelnut stew…I wasn’t feeling too confident about making and serving actual Hazelnut soup…although the reviews are all great online from people who have made it. I choose to make a pot of potato soup that I made early that morning and just placed in a crock pot. A simple dish of cheese, bacon and green onions to top it off, and it was perfect! We just labeled it Hazelnut Stew to play along with the party theme.

We kept the rest simple –remember you’re feeding kids — they will grab a few small things and then run off to play and not eat it anyway! We did some cheese cubes, fruit and bread, Jell-O cups and my sister made cherry cheesecake cupcakes…Yum!

Now you can make a little look a lot more impressive by just being creative. Take your fruit and make fruit tower kabobs instead of just a bowl of fruit. Use your iron skillets to fill with cheese and bread. Using some cupcake printable circles you can take an ordinary cupcake and give it a unique and custom topper. Work on your presentation of your food and you don’t have to have a bunch to make it look full.


The Jell-O cups were a very easy and fun thing to serve! I was inspired by, where she made these for her Tangled party. Basically you take some blue Jell-o and pour into small clear plastic cups. Then once the Jell-o is set, take a slice of orange and poke a toothpick into the top and using either a piece of purple cardstock or some printable kingdom flags attach them to your toothpick to make Rapunzel and Flynn’s boat. Easy and super cute!


For drinks I made a classic wedding golden punch to resemble the magic flower potion they give the queen in the beginning of the movie. I picked up a few golden flowers from the Dollar Store to place in front of the punch and labeled it “Magic Flower Punch.”


The cake. This is where a lot of people like to splurge and who could blame them! I have seen some amazing and beautiful cakes and it is the centerpiece of your table. So if that’s where you want to put your money, go for it!

My little one decided she was soooo over cake and cupcakes (she’s only 6…really?) so I had to get creative with the cake! I decided to use donuts to stack and make a tower. It was a little harder than I thought to keep them from falling over, and I encourage anyone who wants to try it to use something like a thick dowel rod to place down the middle!

I used some store bought icing and made green and pink and purple, and using a pastry bag I started making vines and flowers around the tower. I was fortunate to have purchased a castle cake set a few years ago that I was able to use pieces from for the window and the tower peaks. If you don’t have something like this, you could simply use a sugar cone for the peak rolled in sprinkles and you could use a fruit rollup to cut out the shape of a window…just get creative!


Tip 5 

Favors. This was my one splurge! I found this amazing local cookie artist, Decorated Desserts, thanks to Facebook, and happened to see pictures of Tangled cookies she did. Gasp! they were adorable and I sooo wanted some! I had saved money on everything else so I ordered 2 dozen Pascal cookies to wrap up as favors. They were adorable and worth every penny! They ended up being about $2 a cookie which wasn’t really to bad for a favor I suppose.



I feel that it’s the extra little things that make a party! I used elements from my printable set to accent my food table and my decorations. Printables are easy and I feel a lot of people get intimidated by them. The beauty of it is that you have creative freedom to make them as fancy or simple as you would like.


So if you can cut out shapes, glue things together and string ribbon through holes…you pretty much can create it yourself. There are various companies that offer printable sets. Prices can vary but most average around $30-$40 for a set. Included in your set you have access to invitations, thank you tags, thank you cards, banners, water bottle wraps, candy bar labels, cupcake topper circles, welcome signs, table tents…etc.

One price, one download and you can print as many as you need. Now granted ink cost can suck up your budget really quickly, so be careful and make sure that your printer can handle it, and if you feel it can’t,check into printing at one of the many office stores.

For my party I used the cupcake toppers to place on top of my cheesecake cupcakes. I printed a Kingdom flag banner to string around the trees outside. I printed the favor tags to add to each cookie to add a personal touch to my favors. All of the food was labeled with food table tents that were themed for the Snuggly Duggling. I also printed my Thank You cards and loved that they matched the theme of my party! So if you want to add the special touches and don’t have the budget to order them ready made, this is a great option!

Whatever your budget you can create a wonderful party that your little Princess and all of her friends will love!

Thank you Candy, for sharing all your tips. I especially love the activities you came up with!

If you haven’t seen the rest of Candy’s party photos, you’re in for a treat, and to learn more about Candy, please check out her blog, The Party Bakery, and her Etsy shop.



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