Graduation Centerpieces
Plus A Meaningful
Memory Book Gift Idea

Personalized graduation centerpieces are a great way to show the graduate how proud you are of their accomplishment. 

We give you plenty of photos and suggestions to get you started with a basic concept for your centerpiece. Then, personalize it!  Use ideas based on the graduate’s future goals, past activity involvement, or perhaps a meaningful item.

These centerpiece ideas will work for either a high school graduation or a college graduation party. The memory book idea I give is what I made for all four of my own kid's when they graduated from high school.  "The Book", as we refer to it in our home, was a huge hit then & still is meaningful now, years later.

How to Personalize Your Graduation Centerpieces & Fun Party Ideas...

Sports Theme:

Was the graduate a football star, cheerleader, basketball player, softball pitcher, or maybe a track or cross-country runner? If so, graduation theme parties are always fun. Simply incorporate items from each particular sport into the graduation decorations. For example, turn a small ball, pom-poms, a jersey number, trophies, or even a pair of (clean or new) running shoes into a great looking graduation centerpiece. Scatter the balls or items down center of table. Using smaller versions of the actual balls looks cute (check the toy aisle in stores) but if you have room on your table for a full size ball then go ahead and use that. Guests can sign a larger ball to give as a keepsake for an extra graduation gift!

Use this pack of 12 Mini Football Beach Balls for scattering around table, yard, or even attach to a balloon stick and insert into centerpiece.

Mini Football Beach Balls

Arts Theme:

If the graduate was involved in theater, band, or chorus you can make graduation centerpieces from copies of music pages or use theatrical masks. Perhaps you still have a program from a performance you attended that could be used as part of your graduation party decorations (or a copy of it if it’s something you want to keep). You can also buy mini musical instruments to incorporate into your graduation table centerpieces or to use as party favors (mini musical instrument Christmas ornaments would make really cute graduation party favors!).

For the grad who loved music, these 9" Music Note Plates are the perfect musical touch to the graduation table.


Zebra Theme:

There are so many cute products available these days that have fun animal prints on them.  A graduation party can have any theme or color.  It doesn't always have to be based on school colors or activities. Zebra prints are super popular and so many cute products are available, such as zebra printed plates, napkins, and balloons.  Add some solid colors as well to tone down this wild print.  Start with these fabulous graduation invitations and then check out all the great coordinated items that go with them:

Grad Party Pink Zebra Invitations Pkg/50

Grad Party Pink Zebra Invitations Pkg/50


Use balloons for your graduation centerpiece. They’re available in many colors. Mix and match them to display the graduate’s school colors or buy graduation balloons with sayings on them such as “Congratulations Graduate”. Most party stores carry them or you can buy them online. Helium balloons work great for floating above the table. Use a balloon weight, or something cute like a graduation teddy bear, to hold them in place. You can also make a centerpiece with several balloons attached to sticks and inserted into a vase.

Plenty of balloons for centerpieces and decorating! Graduation Multicolor Balloons Pkg/72

Graduation Multicolor Balloons Pkg/72

Go here for more balloon centerpiece ideas.


Photo collages are a great way to reflect back on the school year. Make copies of photographs of the graduate doing different things. Cut and paste them onto one sheet of paper to make the collage. Then make photocopies so you’ll have at least one for each table at your party. Next, insert photo collages into picture frames to create fun graduation centerpieces, or simply place them around the table.


Secure photos of the graduate, along with family and friends, directly onto your table (or onto an inexpensive plastic tablecloth). Then, cover with a clear plastic tablecloth. Now your whole table has just become one giant collage guaranteed to provide a lot of memories and smiles at the party!


Insert photos into a few small photo display stands, like the little wire ones with the clips on top to secure photo, and then place them down the length of table.

To use on table or for giving as a keepsake. Two Tone Graduation Picture Frame

Two Tone Graduation Picture Frame

Find more graduation products available for purchase at bottom of this page!

Graduation Centerpieces...

This photo shows "basic" ideas for how to start your graduation centerpieces. Personalize yours by by using school colors, accessories, or personal photos.

•Line the inside of a glass cylinder vase with a sheet of construction paper. Use school colors (brown and orange in this photo). You can write the year, graduate’s name, name of the school, or anything else you want on the paper before inserting it into glass vase. Or if you prefer, insert photocopies of music pages, programs or photographs of the graduate.

•Insert small tree branch into vase. Turn branch into a “memory tree” for the graduate to keep. Supply small squares of paper (already punched with a hole and tied with a ribbon in school colors) for guests to write graduation wishes to the graduate on. Hang notes on tree branches.

•Fill a variety of vases with snacks, candy, or flowers. (If you want to use real flowers, simply wrap construction paper around outside of vase and tie with a ribbon to allow for water).

•Provide these cute individual snack bags for guests! Fill with popcorn or a pub mix. These make it easy to snack and socialize at the same time. Simple cut a basic brown paper lunch bag down to desired size. Insert a paper napkin inside (use school colors) as a liner for bag. Then punch 2 holes on front of bag with a hole puncher. Insert a school colored ribbon into the 2 holes and tie into a bow on front of bag.

•Accessorize table with additional items to personalize it, such as the small soccer ball shown here. Consider the activities the graduate participated in.

•Add napkins tied with ribbon (again, in school colors) for finishing touch.

Cap and Diploma
Graduation Centerpiece

This photo shows a graduation centerpiece idea that merely uses the diploma, cap, and commemorative school medal.

Simply place cap on top of a glass jar that has been filled with mint candies wrapped in cute graduation wrappers (see mints available for purchase below). You can also fill vase with school colored paper shreds, or something else that represents your graduate.

I recommend replacing the actual diploma with a photocopy in your graduation centerpiece to prevent it from getting ruined by a spilled drink or greasy hand.

These mints are perfect to use in the graduation centerpiece idea shown above!  You can also put them in a serving bowl or include in favor bags for guests to eat:

Graduation Party Mints Pkg/50

Graduation Party Mints Pkg/50

Graduation Bubbles...

Now that you have ideas for graduation centerpieces let's move on to graduation favors.  Here are some really cute bubble bottles.  Hand them out to guests at the party for extra fun or give them out as a take home favor:

Smiley Face Graduate Bubble Bottles

Smiley Face Graduate Bubble Bottles

Consider a Memory Book
For a Great Personalized
Graduation Gift Idea...

Consider this memory book idea for a great graduation gift. Even if you don’t have any scrap booking skills (like me) you can do this! It’s the kind of gift the graduate will love and treasure forever because the personalized content makes it special, even if it isn't artistically perfect.  After all, who wouldn't love reading about themselves?

I made one of these memory books for each of my 4 children when they graduated from high school, and one for my mother-in-law for a “big” birthday. It also makes a great anniversary or birthday gift.

Now don’t shy away from this super gift idea just because you don’t think you are “crafty”. You CAN do this!

Think how much they will cherish the book for the rest of their lives. It will become even more important to them in the future. Next time they feel alone at college, want a good laugh, need a bit of encouragement or advice from a family member they will pull it out and read it. In later years, they may want to reflect on the letter of a lost loved one. The pages you create for this very special graduation gift will help them to get through tough times when family isn’t around and remind them that someone cares about and loves them.

Here's How I Made A M
emory Book...

My goal was to provide a book that would be a review of their life up until that point, but from others perspective, not just "mom".

• I asked every family member (grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, everybody, including myself and husband) to write a short paragraph or full page letter to the graduating child. They can write about anything...perhaps a specific memory they have with the graduate, a vacation memory, a funny incident that happened, or perhaps advice for the future from the “experienced one” in the family. Whatever it is, it will be meaningful to your child (and sometimes eye opening for you!).

You may have to follow up with some people, so plan as far ahead as possible. Suggest they email or fax it to you to get it quicker. There's no need for them to use any special or fancy papers. Notebook paper works, if that's all they have. It also doesn't matter whether it's typed or handwritten. Make it easy for them - you're going to cut the letter and decorate around it anyway.

• Once you receive the letters, cut around the written portion so they won’t be plain rectangular shapes…think cloud shapes, or scalloped edges. Glue the trimmed letter to another paper, either a cute scrapbook paper or a piece of construction paper (I used a plain glue stick…I’m sure a better glue is recommended by the professional “scrap bookers”, but mine are still holding together years later).

• Now that your letter is secured to the background paper, it's time to make photocopies of any pictures you have of the graduate (preferably one that also includes the letter writer in it). If you don't have one, ask the letter writer if they do. Have them send it to you. (You are making photocopies of it, so you can always return the original to them if necessary.) As an alternative, use stickers or other cute items if you don’t have photos (cute scrapbook supplies can be found at craft stores or online).

Once you’ve selected your photos, then begin to cut around the graduate (along with letter writer, when possible) from each picture and paste those all around the letter. You are creating a page for each letter writer.

Next, use paint pens or permanent markers to write comments about funny or memorable moments the graduate had with that person. Write directly above or around the pictures and the letter. (Hint: Don't know what to write? Use comments in the letter or expressions in the photographs to help you with ideas).

I also used the pens/markers to outline both photos and letter. It gives depth to the page and it looks cooler too!

Additional Options To Consider For Your Memory Book...

After completing each family member page I then added a page “written” by our dog(reflecting on the "dog's memories" with that child, of course!)

The last 2 pages I used for a copy of the graduation ceremony program and a “future goal” page. On a "future goal" page include pictures and things related to whatever the graduate’s goal is. For example, if they want to become a teacher or a vet, cut out magazine pictures or stick related items onto that page (they have awesome embellishments for just about any topic wherever scrapbook supplies are sold).

If the graduate doesn’t really know what they want to do, as was the case with one of my children, I simply used that page to put things related to the college she was going to attend. I used school colors, logos and things related to the university that I found on the internet or had from brochures we had collected from visiting the school.

As an alternative, create a collage of photos showing different things the child did over the years that you weren’t able to use in other parts of the book. Or you can devote a page to something that was important to them, perhaps their first car, their church, a sport, or anything else. I showed a picture here where I devoted a page to "twins", as my twin daughter's had a special bond.


I purchased and used a plain photo album which contained one large clear sleeve per page for all of my books. You can purchase additional pages, if needed. I prefer the photo album over a scrapbook album because each page is protected by the plastic sleeve (and if that plain glue stick doesn’t hold in 50 years, it’ll catch anything that falls off! Ha!). Also, look for photo albums that have cute designs or built-in picture frames on the cover, for additional personalization options. As you can see from this photo, I used the cover to put a picture of my daughter on it and decorated it with her name and year of graduation. The flower design was already there, however, I tried to mimic it by cutting out the shapes around her photo.

This project was a lot of fun to do. It also brought a few tears to my eyes as I read the letters and looked at the photos…. where does the time go?

Now you have a party idea, graduation centerpieces, and your graduation gift. Have fun and congratulations to all those graduates!

Graduation Party Products
You Might Like...

Great personalized graduation party invitation idea!

Stylish Swirls Graduation Photo Cards 5x7 Glossy Finish Invitation

Stylish Swirls Graduation Photo Cards 5x7 Glossy Finish Invitation

I love this!  What a great addition to have on the table or as part of a dessert buffet at your graduation party.  Fun for guests of all ages:

MY M&M'S(r) Class of 2013 Candy Dispenser

MY M&M'S(r) Class of 2013 Candy Dispenser

Confetti can be used in a variety of ways.  Drop a few inside invitations before sealing the envelope,  scatter a few around the graduation centerpieces, sprinkle some on the dessert table, add to inside of a balloon, or you can even glue them onto a wrapped box to make your own gift card box.  There are other colors available, too:

Graduation Cap Confetti Blue

Graduation Cap Confetti Blue

No time to make your own centerpiece?  No problem.  Here's a simple and inexpensive one that you can purchase:

Graduation Cap Print Cascade Centerpiece

Graduation Cap Print Cascade Centerpiece

Just one of several graduation theme labels that are available on these delicious lollipops. Personalize yours and hand out to guests or make a cute lollipop centerpiece:

Flying Graduation Caps Milk Chocolate Lollipop Personalized Milk Chocolate Lollipop. Hand out these cute pops to guests, or...

Flying Graduation Caps Milk Chocolate Lollipop Personalized Milk Chocolate Lollipop

Learn how to make a fun lollipop centerpiece here.

Don't forget about overhead when decorating for the graduation party!  Add something like this to the ceiling or in a doorway:

Mega Pack Hanging Decorations Silver Pkg/30

Mega Pack Hanging Decorations Silver Pkg/30

Everyone loves cupcakes, right?  What better way to display them at the graduation party than by using this cute cupcake stand:

Graduation Cupcake Holder

Graduation Cupcake Holder

Go here if you'd like more ideas for edible centerpieces.

Consider personalized jewelry for a graduation this beautiful  Tiffany-style necklace!

Stainless Steel Chain Necklace with Heart Pendant 18 Inch

Stainless Steel Chain Necklace with Heart Pendant 18 Inch

This necklace proves that stainless steel jewelry can look just as nice as silver! The heart allows a line of text to be engraved on both sides - perhaps a special name and date? The necklace is perfectly complimented by our matching bracelet: CAL1027. 18 inch anchor chain included!

Ideas for Anniversary Centerpieces

Ideas for Birthday Decorations

Return from Graduation Centerpieces back to Party Centerpieces

Return from Graduation Centerpieces to Centerpiece Home

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