Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {In a Box!}


This May 29th is a very momentous occasion.  My sweet sister Lisbeth will graduate with her Master’s in Counseling from Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania.  And since I cannot be there in person to hoot and holler as she crosses the stage to accept her diploma like the proud sister I am–I thought I would send some fun graduation party decor to do the hooting and hollering for me.  I give to you…

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}!  Sending love through the mail....  via

Graduation Party in a Box!

With a little A LOT of help from my friends over at Shutterfly and LooksiSquare and some D.I.Y. savvy, I created a collection of graduation party decorations I cannot wait to shower upon my sister in care-package form.  Because what better way to celebrate three rigorous years of late night paper-writing sessions and snowed-in winters and deeply-rooted friendships than through a par-tay?  Right?  Right-o!

Graduation Announcements & Seals

Well, my decor inspiration all stemmed from two different Shutterfly graduation announcements:

  1. The Photo Snapshot Collage Announcement: when I saw this one, I immediately caught a vision for an Instagram-themed party, which is truly perfect for my sister because she can rock an Instagram filter like the best of them.  Also, we have a “slight” obsession with hashtags.  Yes, we’re those people you probably roll your eyes at with gratuitous and super duper long hashtags.  Tee hee.
  2. “In His Plans” Announcement: the Bible verse quoted in this one, from Jeremiah 29:11, is a family favorite and oh-so fitting for graduation, when so many question marks lie ahead; yet we can stand firm in the knowledge that God has got it all figured out…and it’s going to be even better than we can imagine!

So, I found a way to incorporate both designs into one!  I ordered Lisbeth’s graduation announcements using the first design, but just had one of the snapshots feature the Bible verse, which I wrote atop one of her Instagram photos using PicMonkey!  Whad’ya think?

The inspiration behind an Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}! via

The inspiration behind an Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}! via

Pretty snazzy, right?  They turned out even better than they looked on the computer screen when I designed them!  And to dress them up even more, I decided to use my Silhouette machine to make Lisbeth some silver seals, one a monogram and the other a signature banner!  (Here’s a tutorial for a similar project if you’re curious about how to do such a thing.)

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box!}.  Seal your graduation announcements with custom silver seals!  via

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box!}.  Seal your graduation announcements with custom silver seals!  via

Once I settled on an Instagram theme (with Jeremiah 29:11 for additional motivation), the rest of the decor just fell into place.  Shall we take a tour of all the goodies I stuffed into her care package?  Wonderful!

Table Runner

The Table Runner is one of those items that I was a bit skeptical about when I ordered it because I thought it might look a bit cheesy, but in person, it’s a knock-out!  Even Mark let out an audible, “Whoa!” when I first unwrapped it from the packaging.  It’s 90″ x 14″ long with vibrant colors and gorgeously woven fabric; I still don’t know how they were able to print the photos on the runner so crisply!  This will lay the groundwork for a gorgeous tablescape at Lisbeth’s grad party.

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}.  Create a custom table-runner on with a collage of Instagram photos for an eye-catching tablescape!

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}.  Create a custom table-runner on with a collage of Instagram photos for an eye-catching tablescape!

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}.  Create a custom table-runner on with a collage of Instagram photos for an eye-catching tablescape!

Hashtag Confetti

And yes, that is D.I.Y. confetti that you saw in the background of the above photos, but did your keen eyes catch exactly what kind of confetti it is?

Hashtag Confetti!  For Instagram-Themed or Teen Parties.  FREE Silhouette cut file via

Yup!  It’s hashtag confetti!  And it was one of those rare moments of genius that struck me late at night.  I busted out my Silhouette machine to cut some double-sided scrapbook paper into teeny tiny hashtags that I scattered across the table.

To me, it’s tiny D.I.Y. details like this that can really make a party so memorable.

Hashtag Confetti!  For Instagram-Themed or Teen Parties.  FREE Silhouette cut file via

Click HERE to download a freebie Silhouette cut file of the hashtags, so you can easily make your own, too.  Go confetti crazy!

Party Plate

Customize a plate with a special word of your choice on!

I know this personalized “Beloved” Plate is really going to warm my sister’s heart; not only because it’s a fun way to serve sweet treats, but because of the significance of the word “BELOVED.”

My sister actually has a blog, too, called squeeze it into little inkdrops where she shares spiritual musings, thought-provoking passages from her studies, beautiful photo montages, and hilarious videos.  She actually played a role in inspiring me to start The Thinking Closet back in fall of 2012!

But while I call you all my “dear readers,” my sister refers to her readers as “beloveds,” inspired by the book of James.  And when I asked my sister what word has been on her heart lately, it was the first one that came to mind.

Cookies will most definitely taste better on a “Beloved” plate, don’t you agree?

Customize a plate with a special word of your choice on!


I also had four of my favorite of Lisbeth’s Instagram photos from her time in Glenside and Philadelphia, PA transformed into Photo Coasters.  I love that these will not only serve as fun (and practical) decor for the party, but catch drink-rings for many gatherings to come.

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box!} via  How precious are these custom photo coasters?

Desktop Plaque

I also created a Desktop Plaque for my sis, which will not only be a lovely display at her party, but I imagine it will grace her future counseling desks!  The photos feature C.C.E.F., the counseling center where she has interned and served and poured her heart into so many counselees.  It has been such a blessing to me to have watched my sister not only discover her life’s work these past three years, but to really thrive in it!

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box!} via  The Desktop Plaque doubles as party decor!

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box!} via  The Desktop Plaque doubles as party decor!

Instagram Photo Banner

I love the look of Polaroid images, but I upturn my nose at the price-tag Polaroid film boasts!  And where there’s a will…

So, I figured out a way to give Instagram photos a Polaroid border and just print them on regular photo paper.  Here’s the quick n’ dirty run-down:

  1. Take screenshots of your Instagram photos or upload square-cropped photos.
  2. Open them up individually in PicMonkey and give them a Polaroid border.  Re-save the images.
  3. Open up the “Design Canvas” in PicMonkey, sized at 5″ x 7″.
  4. Place two Polaroid images per 5″ x 7″ canvas (or 2000 pixels x 1428), allowing a small gap in between the images as well as a small border on each end.  See image below for an example.
  5. Print your 5″ x 7″ photos on Shutterfly, at your local photo printing center, or from your home photo printer.  And smile how much money you just saved!

How to transform Instagram photos into faux Polaroids...on the cheap!  via

After printing my faux Polaroids, I just cut them out using scissors and then wrote the Jeremiah 29:11 verse in black sharpie across 13 of the images…

How to transform Instagram photos into faux Polaroids...on the cheap!  via

…and attached them to cotton twine using my favorite mini-clothespins!

I’m digging the finished look:

Instagram Photo Banner Tutorial & How to Print Photos Like Polaroids {on the cheap!} via

Instagram Photo Banner Tutorial & How to Print Photos Like Polaroids {on the cheap!} via

Photo Book

Have a photo book on display at a graduation party to share photo highlights from the last several years!  via

I then pulled a bunch of Lisbeth’s snapshots into an 8″ x 11″ Colorful Moments Photo Book and opted for the $4.99 extra for Storytelling Style, which I’m so glad I did.  That’s what really gave me limitless layout options and scrapbook style embellishments.  This was by far my favorite of the Shutterfly items to design, and the one I’m most eager for Lisbeth to see!

Have a photo book on display at a graduation party to share photo highlights from the last several years!  via

It’ll be fun to have on display at her party for guests to flip through and see the story of her Westminster Days!

Have a photo book on display at a graduation party to share photo highlights from the last several years!  via

Magnet Party Favors

You never get too old for party favors, right?  So, when I saw the option to create Photo Magnets on Shutterfly, I jumped at the chance to transform some of my favorite of Lisbeth’s Instagrams into 2″ x 2″ magnets.  Not only will they be a great way for guests to take home a piece of the party, but they will serve as mementos of sweet times shared together at Westminster!

Instagram Photo Magnets: the perfect party favors for an Instagram-themed Graduation Party {in a box!} via


Now, you’re probably wondering,

How does stationery fit into a graduation party, Lauren?

Well, here’s my thinking: Lisbeth will undoubtedly receive a few gifties, will she not?  And now, she’ll be equipped with brand spankin’ new Thank You Cards to write of her gratitude to her gifters, personalized with her very name!

Personalized stationery - - "thank you" notes at the ready for Graduation gifts! via

I just love the chalkboard style of these cards, too!

“If You Instagram” Printable

And here was an idea that was so last minute, it almost didn’t make the photo shoot, but I’ve seen some of these “If You Instagram” signs used at weddings, so I thought it would be the perfect way to actually use Instagram at the party: with a shared hashtag!  So, I used PicMonkey to create my chalkboard-style design, as well as a free Instagram icon, and voila!  It’s sized perfectly for an 8″ x 10″ frame to set out at the party!

FREE "If You Instagram" Party Printable!  Make use of a shared hashtag to collect guest photos from your party: pure genius!  via

In case you’re not quite sure how hashtags work, if you take a photo and type #lisbethsgradparty in the caption before posting it on Instagram (or Facebook or Twitter), it then it becomes clickable.  And anyone who clicks on that hashtag will be taken to a collection of photos that all share that same hashtag.  So, after her party, Lisbeth will be able to review a whole catalog of new Instagram photos taken at the party in her honor!  Nifty, huh?

Free Printable

Wanna download another freebie?  Click the image below to download your FREE “If You Instagram” Printable from  {Fine print: this design is for personal use only and is not to be used for commercial purposes.}  Just fill in the banner with a hashtag of your choosing with marker or using a photo editor like PicMonkey and print it in high quality using your photo printing settings.  Done and done!

FREE "If You Instagram" Party Printable!  Make use of a shared hashtag to collect guest photos from your party: pure genius!  via

Click HERE for your free pdf download.

Boxing it all up!

So, here’s the whole kit n’ kaboodle of graduation party decor splayed out on our living room table…

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}!  Sending love through the mail....  via

…and here it is being boxed up to ship off to my sweet sister in Pennsylvania.

Instagram-Themed Graduation Party {in a box}!  Sending love through the mail....  via

I’m just so thankful I can be a part of my sister’s graduation celebrations this spring even though I’m not physically able to be there.  Ah, the magic of the Graduation Party in a Box!  #sisterlove

Thanks for following along, friends!  I hope you’re feeling inspired to send a party in a box to someone you love…and that you tag me in your Instagram photo of it all, so I can share in your joy!

{Linking up here.}

Full Disclosure: I received free product from Shutterfly to facilitate this review and was compensated for my time; however, you can bet your bottom dollar that all opinions are 100% my own!  That’s how I roll.  For more policy information, click here.


Lovely comments so far...

  1. Soooo… I’ll let you know when my graduation rolls around next year, yes? Okay, glad that’s settled!
    Haha but seriously, how wonderful of a sister are you?! You should give mine some pointers.. she’s pretty dang fabulous, but sadly, I’m the only one with the DIY bug ’round these parts!
    I know your sister will appreciate this so much, and I’m sure her party will be just fabulous!
    Happy Wednesday, friend! <3

    • Aren’t we graduating at the same time, Jo?
      That’s awesome, because then Lauren can also put some things for me in the package!

      (Okay, if Lauren is not going to send us something, I will send a package to you. Only a bit smaller. And if I don’t forget until next year!)

      But, what I really wanted to say:
      Lauren! You’re unbelievable creative! And an awesome sister! I’m pretty sure Lisbeth will love all the things :)

      Love, Midsommarflicka

      • Well if you’re also planning on graduating in Summer of 2015, then yes!
        And how about we just send each other a fun package? Saves Lauren some postage ;)

        • You girls are too funny! And your comments never fail to give me the warm fuzzies. And I would LOVE to send you each something special to commemorate those big graduations when they come around…so don’t hesitate to give me a lil reminder tweet when the time comes. ;-) K, Johanna and Mid. K!

  2. Lauren, from start to finish this is amazing! Your sister is going to be blown away when she receives this box full of love! I really like the Instagram theme for the party, and I love how personal everything is with the help of the photos from Shutterfly and all your little details. It’s so meaningful and will be so memorable for her. When I need to throw a party, will you come do it for me?

    • Aw, Amy, thanks so much, Amy! Oh yes, it was oh so easy to build a personalized party in a box with the help of Shutterfly! And I’m sort of Instagram-obsessed, and thankfully, so is my sis…so the theme couldn’t have been more perfect for this project. Ha ha, and I’d love any excuse to fly your way and hang out for a spell. So, you let me know when that party is…and we’ll see if we can make it happen! {Hugs.}

  3. Best. Gift. EVER!!!

  4. Pretty sure you win sister of the year award! What a great little box of surprises, she’s going to love it! Great ideas :)

  5. Karen Lewis says:

    Lauren, my dear, you are NUTS! I wish I had a sister like you, or better yet a daughter like you! How thoughtful you are. Love it all!

    • Ha ha. Can’t argue with you there! (About the NUTS part.) Tee hee. And I’m tempted to put together a party-in-a-box for you just being sweet Karen and leaving me some of the best comments a blogger could dream of. Thanks, friend!

  6. Wow…this post just kept on going and going jam packed full of awesome-ness!! What an incredible box for your sister to open up. So many creative ideas – especially the hashtag confetti! Also, that is quite the epic GIF. Love it. Great job on this!!

    • I know! It was the Energizer Post! Lol. But it was definitely one of those projects that I was energized while working on. I just kept getting more and more excited about how Lisbeth would react to receiving it…as well as her party guests to enjoying it all! And thanks for appreciating the hashtag confetti as well as the crazy long GIF. I actually exceeded the 30 photo limit during my first upload…it was going to be even longer! I definitely live by the philosophy that “too much is just right.” ;-)

      • Meredith! I just read your comments and realized I wrote (and feel) some of the same things you did. That the post “kept going and going” and that the GIF was “epic!” :) Great minds think alike! Laur it was totally the energizer post…props to Shutterfly for providing so much material and major PROPS to you for creating such beautiful creations!

  7. What an amazing and sweet sister you are to pour so much love into a DIY party! Of all the graduation memories your sister remembers, I’m sure this will be one of her favorites. Love all of your ideas… I’m going to use a few for my son’s party when he graduates from high school in 2 months..

    • Wow! That’s super exciting that you have a graduation party to plan later this spring, Wendi! An early congratulations to your son. And I’m delighted to know you may have picked up a few ideas from my Graduation Party In a Box! That was my high hope.

      And thanks for the warm words. It really was sheer joy to work on this project for my sis and to shower some extra love on her in this way. ;-)

  8. I only have one word for this —- EPIC! I love parties, party decor, and those little special details! Congrats to your sister, I’m sure she loves her party in a box.

  9. This is amazing and I agree with Valerie, EPIC! The only thing to make it “more better” would be if you could tuck yourself and Mark into the box and come to the par-tay! But we can’t always do everything we’d like to do, this will be a way for you to definitely be there with some hooting and hollering and splishing and splashing going on!

    Each item is so thoughtful and creative. The Instagram theme, hashtag confetti, Jeremiah 29:11 verse along with the use of the word Beloved, all the photos on the table runner and banner of friends, WTS, and CCEF, are just precious and so meaningful! I can’t wait to see it all and look at the photo book, too!

    My heart is warmed to see this sister-love and the sharing of the free cut-files to spread the love to others! Really liked the GIF of filling the package at the end. Sending love and hugs!

    • Ha ha, I love the idea of Mark and I popping out of the box when Lisbeth opens it…terrifying though that may be at first! Lol. And you made me smile with your “splishing and splashing” reference. You know that’s what I love to here over at The Thinking Closet!

      Thanks for all the specific feedback, Mama. You speak my love language! And thanks for all the “parties” you have thrown for me over the years through your many care packages. That’s definitely what helped plant this seed of an idea in the first place! I dub you: Care Package Queen!

  10. WOW!!! Great work. SO many fun things in that box. I love the table runner, will have to look into making one of those!! EMily

    • Thanks, Emily! Oh yes, I was super duper impressed with how the table runner turned out. You won’t be disappointed! I’m almost thinking it might even make great wall decor, too. It’s just too eye-catching to fold up and store away in a drawer, ya know?

  11. Um. Wow. Your thinking closet is FULL! I couldn’t believe how many more personal and adorable ideas kept scrolling by as I read this post. Amazing! Congrats on a great party.

  12. What a fabulous way to help celebrate from afar! What a lucky sister you have. Love the gif at the end, too. It put a smile on my face imagining the love that went into packing that box.

    • Aw, thanks for the generous praise, Nikki! I feel like the lucky one with a sister as incredible as Lisbeth. ;-) And I’m glad you enjoyed the GIF. I’m *slightly obsessed with them these days…tee hee.

  13. I love this party in a box idea. Fantastic and on point. Love.

  14. What a totally amazing gift for your sister! I am also Instagram addicted and love all the ideas you used, especially the table runner!! That is so cool! Great post as usual!

  15. HASHTAG confetti – BRILLIANT.

  16. I love that hashtag confetti! And the polaroid banner! And the gif! :) Fantastic job!!

  17. What a great party theme!!!! My 13 year olds birthday party is next Saturday..I’m wondering how many of your projects I can replicate in time!! #challengeaccepted (p.s. That photo table runner is crazy cool!!)

  18. This looks amazing Lauren. I have downloaded the printable because I know I will be able to use it!

  19. As you know, I was going to wait until the package arrived before seeing your amazing work on the thinking closet. However, I couldn’t last but 3 days before giving in…I just had to see the post!!!! My own words feel inadequate to express my amazement, so I’ll begin by borrowing the words of our dear Bill Shakes: “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.” But I do want to try and express my gratitude in my own words, as best I can, though it will not be as succinct as ol’ Billy boy. Though I will dearly miss your presence on May 29th (and Mark’s!), I already feel like you’ll be there. I echo so many previous comments about you being “THE BEST SISTER EVER.” I can testify to that!!! It’s true folks. Lauren is who she appears to be on this blog and more–compassionate, faithful, sacrificial, loving, other-centered and INSANELY GENEROUS. I can’t believe how this post just keeps on going and going. And going. From the table runner to the photo book to the desktop plaque to the polaroid banner (you totally surprised me on that one!) all the way to the littlest details (the hashtag confetti)!!! This is going to be the best grad party that evah was. I’ll have to Skype you into the party so you can see your deliciously delightful decorations in action. And so many of them are gifts that will keep on giving, like the “Beloved” cookie plate. I heart that so much. That GIF at the end is also epic…I had to watch it like 15x to soak it all in, and I think I could watch it 15 more times. I probably will. I also am so glad you included the pix of you and me, and me and Mark! You two have been ESSENTIAL in me completing graduate school–from your visits to see me, and my visits to you for much needed breaks, to your many prayers for me, to your wisdom shared during some desperate phone calls, to cards of support, to care packages (including fun address labels for each new abode), and much needed fun over board games when we’re together. Thanks for being my supporter over the past several years…no strike that, since the day I entered this world. You’re my best friend, Laur, #myfellowhashtagfanatic.

  20. Lauren, this project is amazing! I love all the little details, because the details are what make things like this amazing. And congrats to Lisbeth!

  21. This is such a great gift. What a great sister you are!

  22. This is incredible Lauren! You are a truly wonderful sister! I love all of the meaningful details you packed into this party, from the table runner to the banner to the hastag confetti (amaze-balls) and the thank-you cards! Wow! your sister is a lucky girl!!

  23. This is such a great idea!! Way to go!

  24. That is awesome! Such a good idea! I wish I had that for my grad!

  25. Lauren,

    Your picture post always look so clear . . . . what software to you use?


  26. If I were your father, I’d wonder if you were getting enough sleep, eating right, etc. But since I am your father, I just know it’s just you being you–witty, warm, and wonderful to the sister you wuv. I am so proud and impressed with the plethora of party thangs you were able to create in such clever ways. Polaroid eat you your heart out. You made it all come together as the perfect gif. Now get some sleep!
    Your Dad

  27. I can’t get over how awesome those polaroids are! I think they are better than the real polaroids. My favorite thing in this post was the GIF where you packaged up the box to send… ingenious. Really great work on this.

  28. Lauren, sending parties in a box is so much fun! I LOVE your glittery graduation box…you are amazing!

  29. Oh my goodness Lauren, this is such a thoughtful and amazing gift!! The confetti, banners, table runner are all amazing:) You have inspired me to send more parties in my boxes to FL! I am featuring you this week!

  30. Melissa McWhite says:

    Wow, wow and more wow! What a lovely way to celebrate your sister’s success! You are both very blessed to have each other. I love it all. My oldest daughter is graduating from college in May and my youngest daughter is graduating from high school in June! There are so many great ideas that will appeal to them – it is sometimes hard to find things that they think are cool – but your post is overflowing with them! I love-love-love the Polaroid banner! That is something that can be used at so many events. I am thinking it would be awesome for my daughter’s youth group “roasting of the graduating seniors” dinner this month! Thank you for sharing your talent!

  31. You ROCK for linking up this week to Tip Me Tuesday Mitzi. {high fives} Just a heads up, Tip Junkie can help you index your blog more effectively if you upload at least 2 images, 2 steps, and blog post URL into your Tip Junkie craft room! Simply login and click “add a project” on your profile page to get started. {yep I’ve got your back!} ~ Laurie {a.k.a. the Tip Junkie}
    Link ~

  32. This was terrific! I’ve always loved a party in a box (!) but I will be using some of these ideas for my daughter’s college graduation party IRL this summer. Thanks for a great post and I’m glad to have found your blog.

  33. I love your polaird idea and found you from Pinterest to do it. I used pic monkey like you said, but when I want to put it in design canvas it wouldn’t let me place two photos in there, only one. Do I have to upgrade or have an account? Or am I just looking in the wrong place?

    I was super excited about this project and really want to make it work, especially after I’ve done all this with the photos. Any help would be seriously appreciated!

    • Hmmm…that’s odd. So, make sure you’re starting with a blank canvas, then hit the butterfly icon, then select “your own” at the top. You will have to add the images one by one (not in bulk), but it should allow you to add as many as you like through that method. Let me know if you get it squared away! Excited to hear about your finished project!

      • Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I’m so excited that absolutely helped. I will try to remember to post a picture of the finished product. I’m re-doing my room and am so excited about this edition. Many thanks for your time & advice!


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