Reader Question: Bar Mitzvah Decorations

Reader Q&A

My good friend Dana asked a great question last week on Facebook. Since I’m nowhere near having Bar Mitzvah aged kids, I’m not much help to her… but I bet some of my readers will be.

I am looking for inspiration. My son’s Bar Mitzvah is in November. I want to make DIY center pieces. Everything I have seen on the internet is schlocky. Do you have any ideas for elegant center pieces I can make myself?

So dear readers, can you help out my friend Dana? Share ideas, share links to ideas, share links to pictures and tutorials… whatever you’ve got! Dana (and I) appreciate it!


  1. Miriam Leah Schwartz says

    Ask Alisheva Givre!!! (her blog is My Shtub) She is SO creative and has made centerpieces…….search for her on facebook 🙂

  2. I cannot help in the DIY centerpiece department…the rest of my florally talented family got that gene.. I am always in awe of the creations that one of my cousin comes up with…she has been in such demand that she even just recently started a business called ‘A Fling of Flair’.
    Friends of mine have turned to Oriental Trading Company to get fun, reasonably bulk items like glow sticks etc. for the kids at the event to use. Not to use as centerpieces, but just as fun things for the kids. They are ‘schlocky’…but a HUGE hit with the kids! If you can tell everyone the ‘Theme’, maybe we can come up with ideas. Good Luck.

    • Jennifer Barnes says

      it depends what you want to go with. do you have a theme already for the event? what is his name? is there signifigance there that can be played up? anything specific related to his bday (historical event/day, etc..) what are his interests? once you narrow that down, you’ll be able to figure out what you want on your tables and it will be easier to figure out how to get what you want.

  3. check out this creative mom’s blog she has done centerpeices in the past. really nice stuff.
    and Alisheva (myshtub) is also very creative….


  4. Daniela Kabins says

    I agree that it depends on the theme. I’ve seen styrofoam covered in glitter in various shapes (sports, movies, whatever). Feathers or balloons are also cheap and can be purchased in bulk. Good luck!

  5. for a november event, fall colors should work… do you want something tall or short? it can look thanksgiving-ish with a twist, or you could do blue and white (israeli theme colors). there’s the black, white and silver/gold theme that you could make styrofoam tefilin centerpieces…. or a jelly roll torah…. or you could stick to simple flowers in a vase (3 roses in a pretty vase with ribbon on each table). how big do you want it? hydrangea are beautiful (yet possibly costly) and gladiolas are nice and tall….

    • The nice thing about hydrangeas is that they come in large clumps so they often actually cost *less* for the quantity of flowers that you get.

      You can use glass (or plastic) vases and fill them with water and floating candles. Very easy, very pretty, very frugal.

      For our wedding, we bought vases at the dollar store and donated them afterward to a local gemach.

  6. I think readers could be most helpful with some direction. Inexpensive options abound.

  7. These are beautiful, although I have no personal experience with making them.

  8. Something that I will add….the Dollar store here in my tiny town has really beautiful glass vases and bowls. It is a good place to get voltive candles and holders too. I bet in larger cities, the selections are even better. The glass containers would at least give you a nice base in which to start your centerpiece.

  9. I have a few aunts that made tefillin for the centerpieces and they came out really nice. It was cardboard and maybe styrafoam spraypainted black, and they set them on mirrors with candles around (2 teffillin on each table)

  10. so i made this really long post with ideas and links and i dont think it went through i want to cry

  11. Miriam in savannah says

    I’ve done the same idea as Mussy suggested and used black ribbons for the straps. I’m nervous about candles in general (seen one to many napkins aflame), but large colored glitter (1-2 bags from the $ store) should work . . . got lots of complements.

    Always ask the caterer (or the shul) for what they have to work with — most have mirrors, glass bowls, colored tablecloths, etc. It usually doesn’t take much to use this stuff till the fullest.

    I saw a really classy looking thing with tall glass vases that had clear cellophane in it with seltzer water and ice. This particular display had red rose petals throughout it and set on a mirror with some tealights against a black cloth tablecloth . . . very striking!

    You could do a variation on this using different colors, sequins, etc

    mazel tov

  12. As other said it depends on your theme, but making centerpieces with things to donate to an organization as a chesed project is a great idea. You can contact any social service agency and see what they need and create your centerpieces with baskets of items to donate. Can goods to fill a food pantry in Nov. or any time of the year is very helpful. Also Chai Lifeline is always collecting toys for Chanukah for children who are sick. Hope this helps.

    Any invitation or bencher questions I have a business-contact me at


  13. For our wedding we had live beta fish on the table… $1 each, and the cost of bowls. I’m not a flowers girl so much 😉

  14. amazing savings says has some cute hanging balls that we used to make and spin at my son’s upshernish with a simple motor attached to it. they also have some really nice serving ware and dinnerware.

  15. Thank you everyone for the fabulous ideas…..Sorry for being so late in replying. I did not get online prior to Shabbat and then have been enjoying this long week-end with my family.

    My son’s name is Ilan. We do not have a ‘theme’ per-say but when I asked him, he is interested in doing something with his name and perhaps trees. He is an outdoor kid and loves birds (especially birds of prey i.e. Eagles) and wants to be an ornithologist when he grows up or be in the Air Force…US or Israel’s is yet to be seen. Of my kids he seems the most likely to make aliyah.

    He is an athletic kid, but he does not really follow any sports teams. So I won’t go with a sports motif. I like the idea of a fish on the table from Becky. Of course, that would probably creat a lot of unhappy parents as children throw a tantrum to take one home. The floating flower Jenny posted is really chic. I am sure I could do something not to feminine that he would like.

    I plan to avoid all candles. I have seen 4 or 5 Jewish events where something has caught on fire. So I plan to mitigate that risk. And I actually do follow MyShtub blog. So I will reach out to Alisheva. I have seen her crafts on her site and they are spectacular!

    When I figure it out, I will send a photo to KOAB and perhaps Mara will post it for all to see. Thank you all so much.


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