My daughter turned four last week, and if you've been around here for a bit, you know that art projects with her are a frequent activity. So, naturally, she requested an art themed birthday party (then the night before, changed her mind to a princess/pirate party "like her cousins"--too late my dear, too late). Yes, I might just be crazy: Seven small kids at my house, with paint!! It turned out great though, and with very minimal effort.
When I say minimal effort, I'm not kidding. Not one project here, took me more than 20 minutes or cost me more than $10.00. And what you see in these pictures was the extent of the decorations. I pulled things we already had around the house, made a few things, and called it good. It really is possible to have a pretty party without
all most of the stress and fuss! Over the next week or so, I'm going to share a couple of tutorials and show you how. In the meantime, here's a brief rundown and some, okay, a lot of glimpses of the party.
I find myself gravitating towards the same colors EVERY time I pick stuff out for her parties, so this year, I ventured a little from my usual pink, mint and yellow palette and chose bright variations of primary colors with, of course, a little pink and sparkle mixed in. A tutorial on how I threw together this ribbon chandelier will be up soon.
I covered the table with two 99 cent vinyl tablecloths and a kraft paper runner (one of my favorite party tricks for a great table). I let my daughter pick out the craft paint colors, with maybe just the teensiest bit of input from me, grabbed a big bag of assorted brushes from Hobby Lobby ($4.00 with my 40% off coupon), spread them out on the table and stuck the brushes in some jam jars. Bam! Cheap and functional decorations. (See my folding chairs peeking in there? SO much better than those ugly grey things!)
For the "display", I guess is what you would call it, I used art and books from my little one's bedroom, along with a wood frame and mirror that normally hangs on the wall right above this shelf in the picture. The white canvas was actually going to have something on it (maybe a glittery 4?), but this is what happens when you run out of time, and guess what: who cares?!
To add a little more filler on the table, since we were just having cake and ice cream, I threw a bunch of our art supplies and some candy, leftover from filling our pinata, into jars and added a little print I created with my new favorite font (the printable is coming soon).
Our cake was also in the "easy" category. I just baked a store-bought, Funfetti cake in a bundt pan (dyed purple by request), frosted it with store-bought cream cheese frosting, and went to town with the sprinkles. I had plans for doing this one, but let's just say if my life ever depends on making a level, round, cake, I'll be dead. SOOOO not a baker/cake decorator -- I feel like that last line should be a rap. She thought it was awesome because it looked like a giant doughnut -- winning!
My original plan was to buy each child a canvas to paint, but even the smallest ones were ridiculously expensive and, of course, not on sale when I needed them (and I wasn't about to go back 10 times to use my 40% off coupon). So, I went hunting for other options and found THE JACKPOT in the form of a package of assorted colors of mat board (you know, like for framing pictures) for $5.99 + my trusty 40% off coupon. This stuff is PERFECT. It's thick, textured, and comes in already frame-able sizes. I'll be keeping some of this around for future projects, AND it's perfect for chipboard projects for a lot less $$$. I also purchased condiment cups from the paper products section of the grocery store and gave each child a few to hold their paint.
If you don't regularly paint with kids, you so should. I know it's messy, and it can be frustrating, but it was seriously fascinating to sit there and watch all of their personalities come through in what and how they painted. My neat and somewhat reserved niece: one color not touching the other, deliberate lines, you know--the adorable perfectionist. My cousin (yes, my cousin is my daughter's age--I live in Utah, remember?) who is crazy and fun: painted a slide, lots of bright colors touching each other, but deliberately placed. Then my little one: that would be her you see at the end of the table, with all of her colors swirled together in some not-so-appealing color and pouring what's left of her paints together -- you know, the part where I REALLY have to restrain myself from interfering and remind myself that this is about letting her do her own thing.
And one word of advice if you're planning a party like this: go to your grocery store and buy a cheap roll of garbage bags. They make perfect paint aprons and chair covers. I DID inform all of the parents that the kids would be painting, so to dress them accordingly, but it was another measure of keeping stuff a little cleaner and keeping the paint off of my furniture (and precious folding chairs).
We let the art dry while we had cake and ice cream and did a pinata and then everyone got to take their masterpieces home with them.