Grace's Arts and Crafts DIY Birthday Party

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We can hardly believe she's six ourselves.

For Grace's Birthday party this weekend, I was thrilled when she asked if we could decorate the party ourselves. You mean no Walmart shopping cart (like we normally do per birthday girl orders) filled with everything matchy-matchy Barbie Birthday?  No offense, Barbie, but I was struggling to suppress my squeals of delight.  

Instead, we bought one pad of scrapbooking paper, some tissue paper, craft bags and a few American Girl Craft Kits (I thought these would be fun for her to do on her own) and started crafting. Most of the projects are made with paper and glue.

 As you look through these photos, count how many projects are DIY.

My most favorite project for the party was the pennant banner or paper bunting banner.  It was the biggest impact for the smallest cost, and it was fun and fast to make.  If you need a custom party banner, this is the way to go - check this video out on how to make a paper bunting banner yourself.

Of course, I waited until she came home from school to finish the rest of her name.  This banner was a fun kid friendly project that you could use to decorate a bedroom too.

The banners are also an inexpensive way of filling up dead wall space or bringing the party colors to different parts of the room.

The backs of the pennant banners are finished too, so you can string them across rooms for double the decorating.  

On the front window, I traced wood letters on scrapbooking paper and cut them out.  Grace decoupaged them to the wood letters and we double stickied them to the window.  Above her name is a store bought banner kit from American Girl that she put together herself.  I love those craft kits!

But it was the tissue paper pom-poms that really made the biggest impact in our great room.  With it's high ceilings, I wanted pops of color to bring the party to our great room.  So Grace and I made tissue paper pom poms.  

You probably already know how to make these, but just in case you don't, it's pretty simple.  Stack 8-10 sheets of tissue paper and accordian fold together.  Tie in middle with bread ties and cut ends.  I cut points, cutting into the fold about 3" or so.  Then separate out the tissue paper and POOF! You've got a pom pom.  Here's a step by step picture tutorial so you can see how easy it is to make them.  And at about $1 in tissue paper, if you are looking for a fun way to decorate on a tight budget, give these tissue paper pom poms a try.

You can use recycled tissue paper too!  This green pom pom was made entirely of tissue paper reused from packaging.

For the dessert table, we dressed up a $5 cardboard cupcake stand (I promise, I'll get to DIYing a wood one at some point!) with you guessed it - scrapbooking paper and leftover tissue paper!  Grace and I just taped it on with double sided sticky tape. 

Some of the elements are not perfect, but they are hand crafted with a six year old, who proudly told her guests that she made all her own party decorations!  

From the banner kit on the front window, I stole extra pieces to make gift tags on the gifts.

And dressed up some cheapo bright colored gift bags with the leftover tags, giving each party guest a monogrammed gift bag as a party favor. Inside the gift bags are arts and crafts projects, and for the party the little girls made necklaces, rings and paper crafts.

The party favor bags were placed inside almost done (waiting on hinges to come in the mail in December takes forever!) cabinets that we DIYed just in time for the party.

Yes, the upholstered seat is DIY too!  Cannot wait to share with you how easy it was to make the upholstered bench seat for the banquette.  

We had an old set of high quality frames in storage, so I used them to fill up the space between the cabinets, above the upholstered seat.  Not having enough time to print photos, I just cut out leftover scrapbooking paper and filled the frames.

It's the little things that tie everything together!

My dear friend Jaime from That's My Letter made me the canvas for the teepee (you can make one too - here's the tutorial!) and it was a HUGE hit for the kids!!!  They loved hiding in it, and the teepee added so much charm to our handmade arts and crafts birthday party.

We saved piles of cash by opting for plain paper tableware, $1 as opposed to $3-$5 for character partyware!  I used stickers to label cups and Grace made the napkin rings out of paper from an American Girl craft kit.

The party decorations cost about $100 and Grace and I spent four nights after school crafting before the party.  We really enjoyed creating the party decorations together and that's what I will remember about this party.  

For her?  It's all about the candles and cake.

Happy Birthday Grace!!!!

How many DIY elements did you count?


Were did you get the light that is hanging in the pictures?

Hi Ana,

I just had my son's birthday party this weekend and did all the decorations myself as well. I love that by doing it yourself, you can really personalize things to the exact way you want them. I'm sure Grace had a wonderful birthday party and really appreciated the time she got to spend with Mom making things for it! Happy birthday to your little girl...if she's anything like my son (who is now 5) then she's growing up WAY too fast!

Would love to know how to build the cabinets. Are the plans posted yet? Also will you share the paint colors. Thanks so much.

I see10 DIY projects (including the cabinets and upholstered bench...gorgeous!!!). Love that room and the fun and pretty birthday decorations! Great job, Grace!

Love the decorations. I also did all the decorations for my sons Mickey Mouse birthday party (he's 2) and saved a LOT of money. So much cheaper than buying all the pre-made character decorations (and generally better looking too).
Happy Birthday Grace!

Why not let Grace do an instruction video on the cupcake stand.... if you (the mom) pre-cut and pre-drill the lumber... it would be a good first project for her... and she'd feel great and brag to everyone that she built it!

Hi Ana,
I was wondering what program/software you made to create the letters for the banner? Also, what font and size was your font?
Very cute!

Bamboo, like any type of hard wood can be shaped, cut, or stained to any color. But the main difference between hard wood and bamboo is that it's very sustainable and environmentally friendly. Unlike traditional lumber, bamboo does not need to be replanted and is one of the fastest growing plants in the world Anaheim water damage. It also rapidly self-propagates with minimal land footprint. Bamboo has the highest per acre yields and harvesting it has low impact on the environment as well.

It looks like you had a lot of work to make all those decorations, but I'm sure your daughter's excitement made it worth. I hope you were both well-organized and didn't have too much clutter to clean after the crafting was done, I imagine there was enough paper leftovers to fill your recycle bin!

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