Build-Your-Own Shortcakes + FREE Printables {Backyard BBQ Inspiration Part 2}

build your own shortcakes bar
Are you ready for part 2 of my backyard bbq inspiration shoot?  Don’t miss Part 1 featuring the seated table and food buffet here.  This display would also be a fantastic 4th of July idea as well.
This post includes the dessert table and welcome table - a great beginning and ending to your party!
  • I thought it would be fun to do a build-your-own-shortcake station and include fresh summer berries and those little sponge cakes that make them so easy to put together.  Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all delicious and your guests can pick whichever they like. 

  • I love finding unique items and re-purposing them for food service.  Just remember to line them with a napkin, parchment paper, or fabric to insure food safety.  This 3-tiered storage container was found at Hobby Lobby and I love that the chalk board labels are built right in. 

  • A can of whipped cream is wrapped in the same paper that I used for the snack cones (below), which also coordinates with the fabric patterns I used.
  • In order to tie in all the different areas, I used the same fabric over and over in different ways: a rag swag used on the buffet table (2-tiered server), napkin pockets on the tabletop, a fabric flower attached to the box on the dessert table, and another rag swag at the welcome table.
  • I bought the retro-style cracker jack boxes from Cracker Barrel!  I knew I wanted to use them but couldn’t find them anywhere!  Luckily I discovered an article by someone (thanks Google) who found them at Cracker Barrel.  Funny thing is they make only a minor appearance here, but I was obsessed with finding them!  They make great takeaway favors for your guests.  I displayed them in an old wooden crate embellished with a DIY fabric flower using the same fabric found in other areas of the party.
  • I believe in having a “welcome” table at a party, especially when you’re outside and have wide open space.  Bring an indoor table outside and set up a sign and snack cones filled with chips.
  • Pre-made cones make it much easy to have a snack and walk around the party freely.  I used an old soda crate to display the cones and tied a mini fabric swag across the front.
backyard cookout welcome table
  • Use some outdoor game paraphernalia as part of the decor.  Here I just placed a couple of crocket balls in a wire basket.
  • Speaking of games, our favorite thing to do is play bocce ball or corn hole.  You don’t need a lot of space for these, nor will you exert yourself too much while playing.

I hope you’ll get some ideas to try at your next bbq, July 4th cookout or any summer entertaining.  See our coordinating seated table and food buffet in part 1, and don’t forget to download your FREE printables herecourtesy of Paper & PigtailsThey will get you started on a stylish bash!


For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!


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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. What a fun idea! Perfect.

  2. I love the way you put together this Memorial Day BBQ!

  3. Christie says:

    Lovin' this, too! Thanks for the inspiration! I am ready for a Memorial Day BBQ! Christie at Three Pixie Lane

  4. Kori Clark says:

    What can I say…I am a SUCKER for shortcake! It looks amazing and so creative!

  5. Brittany @GreyGreyDesigns says:

    I have that amazing little galvanized 3 tier too and I love it!!!

  6. I need this for my first Richmond 4th of July! :) Great job!!!!

  7. Kristy {the purple pug} says:

    I love every last detail. Especially adore the handmade touches. And the taffy. And the shortcake idea. And the Cracker Jack. Fabulous!

  8. melismama says:

    Exceptional! I wanted to know where you got the fan circles from. I love them!

  9. Chris, love this all. Really fun. We usually have a big 4th bash! :)

  10. Chris @ Celebrations At Home says:

    'Melismama' I found the printed fans at the Dollar Tree! How great is that! ; D
    The red ones I already had, leftover from Valentines stock at Michael's.

  11. Natasha @ Fête Fanatic says:

    LOVE IT! How freakin' clever are those chips! I need to use them! I may have to get those fans too! Chris you out do yourself everytime! Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. PartyMom says:

    What a beautiful display! I love the paper cones in the crate and the metal cloches!

  13. Enchanted Expectations says:

    Love it all. Such great inspiration

  14. Marci Coombs says:

    I absolutely adore all of this and am posting a link to it from my blog. Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Chris @ Celebrations At Home says:

    Thank you all! I'm so glad you like it, and that it has inspired some of you! : )

  16. I’m new to the world of blogging, but just wanted to say I love your idea of building your own shortcakes. Creative and interactive … love it! How totally perfect for a barbecue!

  17. this might be my fav 4th of july table/idea I’ve seen yet! So creative…just featured you on my roundup!

  18. gorgeous! love it all!

  19. Just wanted to say a big thanks for all the great BBQ ideas and free printables! I used many of them for my home party on the 4th:) I posted on my blog and gave you a shout out!

    • Karen, your party looks great! Thanks for letting me know, and we’re so happy you used the printables too!

  20. I featured you on my blog today – Live a fabuLESS life! Great idea!

  21. You saved my party!!! Thanks for the free printables!

  22. Jessi B. says:

    So cute! Where did you get the frame for the welcome table sign? Thanks!

    • Thanks Jessi. The frame is actually just a basic wood frame that I hung on a wreath stand. So simple but adds some needed height to the table.

      • Jessi B. says:

        Wow, great idea. Thanks! Also, I really like the printables, what fonts did you use? Lastly, on the BBQ Inspiration Part 1 post, you have a few dark wooden boxes on the tabletop- where did you get those? Thanks for all the great inspiration!

  23. Love Love Love this!!! Such a good idea and i have never seen it done before! I just had to share with my followers too this amazing idea!


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