Our decorating idea guide includes crafty decorating tips that will turn any birthday party into an impressive event! Read on to learn how to incorporate your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table and how to make your own party decorations.
Planning Your Party
Once you’ve selected a party theme, it’s time to think about how to give your home (or party space) a matching atmosphere. When decorating, simplify by making the party table the centerpiece of the room. If you want to go all out, decorate the floor, ceiling, walls and doorway too. Here are some tips to turn tables into fables and walls into a wonderland!
- Chances are you and your child will pick a theme that matches their interests. Themes could include a cartoon character, favorite animal or hobby. Try decorating with all the matching pictures, stuffed animals, toys and games you have already purchased for your child. For instance, if you’re having a Toy Story party, you can decorate your child’s room to look like Andy’s room with Buzz Lightyear bedding, Toy Story action figures and movie posters.
- If you don’t have a particular theme in mind consider decorating the party with a simple concept such as all pink, polka dots or inside out (bring things that are normally outside indoors!). This type of theme is common for first birthdays since, more than likely, your child has not developed specific interests yet. Have fun. Get inspired by a color, pattern or wacky idea that encompasses things you already own or your home’s decor. Then, use that idea in every aspect of your decorating such as tableware, food, favors and even craft activities.
- Include your party guests in the decorating! Ask everyone to arrive in costume or give all the guests a hat, headband or costume accessory to wear as they arrive. This is a great way to make everyone feel more involved and who doesn’t love playing dress up?
- Remember; think outside the box when considering the location of your party. A garden party doesn’t necessarily need to take place in a garden. You can create your own garden indoors with the help of tissue paper flowers, plastic butterflies and a child’s tea set. Create a winter wonderland on a hot summer day by decorating with fake snow and serving frozen treats. So don’t let the time of year affect your choice of theme!
The ceiling isn’t the only place to hang balloons from a string or tape streamers. Be creative while decorating. Choose colors that match your party theme and then add a couple Mylar balloons into the mix.
Tip: Check out our guide to learn how to properly inflate a Mylar balloon.
Here are some balloon and streamer ideas to inspire you.
- Decorate balloons with construction paper, markers and tissue paper to create animal faces. Just tape on ears and draw on the face with a permanent marker.
- Create a balloon canopy by hanging a tarp or sheet from four poles above the party table. Then fill dozens of solid color balloons with helium and let them float under the canopy without strings.
- Create a balloon ball pit by blowing up dozens of balloons without helium and placing them in a boxed off area. The children can walk around in the balloon pit and toss them in the air.
- Tape balloons to the wall in the formation of your child’s age. This will create a dramatic and colorful wall display.
- Wrap streamers around poles, stairwells and chairs. You can leave white space while wrapping the streamers or completely cover the surface to create a solid colored decoration.
- Create a streamer chandelier by gathering 6-8 long streamer strips by one end. Tape one end to the ceiling and then fan out the strips to all corners of the room. This will look really pretty if you use alternating colors or rainbow colors.
Your party guests need to eat so why not use that as an opportunity to stun them with your decorating skills! Here are some tips to get you started.
- Use theme related items to hold your food. For example, a clean cowboy hat could hold chips at a western themed party and a milk pail could hold cookies at a farm party. Look around your kitchen for ideas and look in the toy box too!
- Use your theme to inspire the food you serve and then label things accordingly. For instance, if you were having a Dinosaur Party you could label vegetables are for herbivores and hamburgers are for carnivores. Action figures, toys and stuffed animals can hold the food labels next to each dish.
- Yummy treats such as cupcakes, cookies and candy are naturally colorful and can add flare to your food table. Top cupcakes with small toys or candy, wrap cookies in decorative tissue paper and place colorful hard candy in mason jars to make your food table pop.
- Place large swirl lollipops in pretty vases along with silk or tissue paper flowers. Pass these out as favors for your guests. You can even add a personalized sticker on the front of each lollipop to send your guests a special message.
- Arrange cupcakes in the shape of your child’s age on the party table. You can also arrange cupcakes in rows that are decorated with the letters that spell “Happy Birthday.”
- Silly straws come in a variety of fun shapes and can also be taken home by your guests. Make sure to use silly straws with tall cups to prevent tipping or trim the bottom of each straw before serving in smaller cups.
- Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into different shapes. Use shapes that match your party theme. For instance, star shaped cookie cutters can be used for a Rock Star or Space Party.
- Finish the party off with the perfect party cake. Use a Wilton cake pan that matches your party theme or check out our cake idea guide for more ideas.
When it’s time to set the table, be prepared with a few extra tricks up your sleeve. Here are some ways you can use plates, cups, napkins, cutlery and table covers to create perfect place settings.
- Use paper cups from your party’s theme to hold small bouquets of flowers. These can be used as centerpieces on the party table.
- For each place setting, place a small patterned paper plate on top of a large solid colored paper plate. This will prevent the color palette from looking too busy. On top of each small plate place a party hat or blower that matches the theme.
- Cut solid color napkins into fun shapes with pinking shears. Some possible shapes are hearts, diamonds, flowers or stars. Choose napkin colors that match your party theme.
- Wrap a themed napkin around colorful plastic cutlery and tie with ribbon.
- Create placemats for each party guest. You can cut and decorate placemats out of felt, fabric or even thick paper. Alternatively we offer personalized placemats that can be customized with each guest’s name.
- When choosing a table cover, think about how the color will contrast with your place setting. You can either use a themed table cover or choose a solid color to complement your color scheme. If you have several party tables, you may want to choose several solid table covers that are different colors to brighten up the room.
- Place several theme-related items on the party table to liven it up. For instance, if you were having a Robot Party you could place several windup toys on the table. For a Pony Party, you could find plastic horseshoes to scatter around the table.
If you have the time, you can impress your guests by making some of the party decorations yourself. Click on one of the items in the list below to get directions and photos of each project.
- How to Fold a Basic Napkin Utensil Holder: Create a colorful utensil pouch out of a paper dinner napkin. This decorating tip includes step-by-step folding instructions with photos and display ideas.
- How to Fold a Fancy Napkin Utensil Holder: Here is another way you can fold a paper napkin into a utensil pouch. Step-by-step folding instruction with photos and display ideas are included.
- Kirigami Picnic Baskets: Kirigami is just like origami except the paper is cut and folded. This craft is a perfect way to make nametags for your guests. All you need is origami paper and our folding instructions to create beautiful nametags or favor holders.
- Tissue Paper Flowers: Not only can tissue paper flowers be used as centerpieces but you can also make large ones and then hang them from the ceiling. Small flowers can be placed behind each guest’s ear at a luau or garden party. Choose your size and get creative with this easy decorating craft.
Here are some more decorating craft ideas:
- Use a shaped hole punch and construction paper to create confetti. Sprinkle the confetti around the party table.
- Instead of a plastic table cover, place light-colored craft paper on the party table. Tie together four crayons with ribbon and place a bunch at each child’s place setting. This will encourage the children to color pictures on the craft paper.
- Decorate the birthday child’s chair with extra balloons and a theme related item. For instance, you could place leis around the chair for a Luau Party or add a tail to the seat of the chair for a Cat Party.
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Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
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