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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

What to Put in a Piñata Besides Candy

Thursday, July 1st, 2021


Piñatas are becoming a staple for pandemic era parties, but what can you put in a piñata besides candy? After all, most adults are watching their waistlines, at least a little bit. Some adults have health problems that mean they’re trying to stay away from sugar. Many parents are trying to keep their kids off sugar. What’s a party planner to do?

Turns out there’s lots of options! You don’t have to settle for cheap plastic toys that just end up becoming junk. You can put fun, useful items in a piñata, too.

Piñatas: Not Just for Kids Anymore

First, let’s talk about what’s making piñatas so popular, and why they’re not just for kids anymore.

Primarily, they’re the perfect outdoor party activity. They let you engage everyone in a fun game while ensuring everyone continues to social distance. You have to be six feet away from a piñata to work it safely, so everyone’s already playing safely. And hey, what do you even need a blindfold for when you’re already wearing a mask?

taco pinata

All jokes aside, let’s face it. Beating some of your pandemic-era frustrations out on a big colorful object is the kind of fun just about everyone can get behind right about now.

Of course, kids still love piñatas too. Nobody wants to be cooped up with kids while they’re high on sugar, so we’ll include a few age-appropriate candy-free ideas below.

Ideas to Make Your Piñata Party Awesome

Consider playing around with a theme. This can help both with choosing a piñata design and with what to put inside.

For example, if you and your friends are all craft enthusiasts then you could do a craft-themed piñata. Just choose a really pretty piñata and then fill it up with all sorts of craft supplies. Who couldn’t use more yarn and washi tape?

Ideas for What to Put Inside a Piñata for Kids (that isn’t candy!)

For kids, think of toys with some actual value:

  • Yo-Yos
  • Chinese jump ropes
  • Blacksmith’s puzzles
  • Play Doh
  • Tops
  • Masks
  • Playing cards
  • Miniature notebooks with pens attached
  • Packets of balloons
  • Finger traps
  • Finger puppets
  • Friendship bracelets

 Ideas for What to Put Inside a Piñata for Adults

unicorn pinataFor the aforementioned craft party:

  • Yarn
  • Knitting or crochet needles
  • Washi Tape
  • Lanyards to make keychains
  • Prepackaged DIY crafts
  • Pincushions
  • Embroidery thread
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Fuzz Balls
  • Glue
  • Paper

For a true grown-up party:

  • Small bottles of alcohol (make sure they’ll fall on a soft surface)
  • Jewelry
  • Healthy snacks
  • Gift cards
  • Nicer pens and pencils

You might have even more ideas. Consider:

  • Items people can use more than once
  • Items that aren’t too large so they can fall out
  • Items that fit the party’s theme

A little creativity can take you a long way in filling a piñata with something other than candy!

Paper Plus has dozens of piñatas, as well as plenty of items you can use to fill them up! Or, make your own piñata! Stop by to see us today.

Staying Close to Loved Ones in Assisted Living

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

childs artwork for family in assisted living

The Covid-19 pandemic has been very hard on the relationships between people and their elderly relatives. Many people in assisted living facilities have had almost no contact with their loved ones.

While phone calls and video chats are nice, they aren’t available to all seniors. In addition, it’s sometimes nice to have something tangible to hold on to during a tough time.

As a result, there’s been a real resurgence in card-making and care packages.

Using Card-Making to Make Communication Stronger

Many people think of cards as things that are sent only on birthdays and holidays. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

Take home a stack of blank cards and keep them close. Write whatever messages or daily reflections you come up with. Tape or glue recent family photos to your cards, or slide them inside the card and envelope. Discuss family updates or even just the events of the day.

Your senior wants to know. Remember, people in assisted living lockdowns don’t necessarily have much going on in their lives. This can even limit their ability to maintain a phone conversation because they won’t have much to talk about.

child creating artwork for assisted living residentThe physical reminder of connection can make isolation and separation easier. They also make calls easier. You’ll be able to discuss the topics on your cards and will remember them better. Often the events of a single day fade in the onslaught of a busy week. Your elderly loved one will have all those little stories right in front of them, though, and can ask you about them.

It’s a talking point for you both, and it can really help.

Note this is a tradition that children and grandchildren can really take advantage of. They can add stickers, draw pictures, write little notes to show the recipient is being thought of, and otherwise participate in the process.

Tip: use cheery, colorful card stock. Vision is dwindling for many seniors and bright, colorful cards can make the messages easy to send.

Putting Together a Great Care Package

assisted living resident with phoneThe residents of assisted living facilities used to get visitors on holidays to have meals together. This is no longer happening. So consider putting together an old-fashioned care package!

Grab a pretty box. Add pretty tissue paper. Send a baked good. Add some crafts that the children made. Add puzzle books like Sudoku puzzles or crossword puzzles. Add a nice new book to read and perhaps some more pictures or magnets. If you can think of any other little thing that your senior will love it’s a good time to add that, as well.

This Resurgence Is Here to Stay

While the pandemic may be over by next year this is a tradition that seems like it’s going to have some sticking power. The pandemic has definitely taught us all about the importance of family ties, and about the ways that separation can harm us all.

Let’s face it, receiving a tangible reminder and love and care is important to seniors no matter what is going on in the outside world.

So stock up on supplies, and remember to keep your senior firmly in mind even after the pandemic comes to a close. Our lives can get busy. Theirs can get lonely. This tradition is a wonderful way to keep in touch.

Stop by Paper Plus for all your card-making and care package supplies! We have boxes, tissue paper, card stocks, envelopes, stickers, glitter, care package gifts, and more. We’re still following Covid protocols in our store, so don’t be afraid to pop by and see us. 

Celebrate Graduation 2021 with Graduation Balloons

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

berkeley school color graduation balloons red and yellow

The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, which means another round of graduates won’t be able to walk the stage with their peers. We don’t know exactly how schools will be handling their graduations this year–perhaps with a drive-thru celebration? We do know it won’t be what it was before, with hundreds of proud parents packed into a stadium, waiting to watch their child pass this important milestone.

As humans, we’re designed to celebrate accomplishments. While we can’t do it the way we want to, we can find ways to go all out for our graduates. The pandemic has robbed them of the ability to enjoy so many important milestones. Here are some ideas to help – hint, they include graduation balloons!

Graduation Balloon Bouquets

One easy way to help your grad celebrate is with graduation balloon delivery. Create a gorgeous bouquet in the school colors, and have some fun with them. For example, some balloons have latex grad caps on them. Why not spruce them up a little more with some tassels?

Sending a huge, grand, over-the-top balloon bouquet is a great way to show your grad that you care. Make sure it has some encouraging messages on it. Your grad needs all the warm well wishes they can get!

Zoom Graduation Balloons

If you are on Zoom you can have the balloons in the background!

The thing about a Zoom celebration is it has to feel like a real celebration. It can’t feel like a cop-out gathering. So decorate it like you’d decorate a real party.

To give a nod to the fact that you’re all online, why not take advantage of some emoji graduation balloons? They’ll be fun and funny and your teens, especially, will love them.

Go Nuts with Home and Yard Graduation Balloons and Decorations

graduate in cap and gownShout your grad’s accomplishments to the entire neighborhood by turning your entire front yard into a giant graduation tribute!

Go all out. Try a balloon arch and have a front yard graduation walk.

Go all out with graduation balloon decor all over the yard.

Personalize the front yard with crepe paper, window spray, and banners. Got yard signs from your school? Personalize those and attach some balloons in the school colors. Add balloons that offer a tribute to sports or hobbies so you can celebrate everything your graduate did.

Even people who drive by will know how awesome your graduate is!

Want to carry the message out to the whole world? Take a moment to decorate your car, too.

At a Socially Distanced Graduation Party

Some schools are doing socially distanced parties at convention centers. You can use balloon bouquets to help your party find you safely and with ease. As your customized graduation balloons rise high in the air it will be easy for the rest of your Covid pod to find you quickly and safely.

The balloons, of course, will also make your graduate feel appreciated while making the entire day feel festive and bright.

2022’s Graduates Will Have it Better

happy graduate in capWe won’t have to come up with creative ways to make our graduates feel special for much longer. By next year, graduation should be back to normal.


We have 40 different kinds of graduation balloons at Paper Plus, from kindergarten graduation balloons to PhD balloons. We’ve got all kinds of messages like: Congrats, you did it! Way to go, you rock! We’re so proud of you, Class of 2021! We also deliver; call the store to check availability. 

Easy Thanksgiving Decorating for Your Zoom Dinners

Sunday, November 1st, 2020

metallic thanksgiving balloons

Most people won’t be doing a lot of travel for Thanksgiving this year. Instead, we’ll use Zoom to get our togetherness time while stopping the spread of the pandemic.

Yet there’s no reason to think you can’t be just as festive as you were when the entire family gathered in your dining room. With a little creativity, you can make your virtual Thanksgiving just as special as your in-person gatherings.

Decorate the Gathering Space

easy thanksgiving decorations - cornYou don’t have to decorate your whole house this year, and that might be kind of nice! Instead, you can just stage your Zoom background.

Of course, nothing says you can’t decorate the whole house, especially if your immediate family will be there, celebrating Thanksgiving with you. Indeed, going all-out might help you create a festive space in the middle of an uncertain time.

Banners and crepe paper in festive fall colors are an easy way to get this done. If you want an even easier way, think outside the box and go with balloons. Some examples of great Thanksgiving balloons include beautiful latex balloons with leaves, which come in burgundy, gold, brown, and yellow, and which have elegant prints. You might also opt for metallic gold and silver balloons with a chrome finish, or look for the same in mauve or rose gold. Another option would be to go for mylar balloons with Thanksgiving-themed graphics on them, like turkeys, cornucopias, scarecrows, bales of hay, or ears of colored corn.

Allergic to latex? Mylar balloons are a solution.

Of course, don’t neglect the basics, like a stunning Thanksgiving table.

Outdoor Gatherings

easy thanksgiving table decorations for outside zoomIf you and your family have formed a “Covid Pod” then you might be doing an outdoor gathering this year. Look for decorations that won’t be defeated by wind. If you’re doing balloons, add weights to them to keep them in place.

Use cloth napkins outdoors…paper napkins tend to fly all over the place.

If you’re still Zooming with remote family members remember to set up the Zoom area inside…wind can cause a lot of mic interference and the Wi-Fi signal usually isn’t as good outside the house.

Wear Hats

If you don’t want to go all out with decorations for a Zoom call, hats are a great solution! You can DIY “pilgrim” headwear, or make boppers with turkeys on them. Make a cornucopia fascinator, or just find some premade hats.

They’ll be funny and festive, and you can take them off when it’s time to get ready for dinner in your own home.

Remember It’s About Connection

red fall leavesThere’s no glossing over the fact that a Zoom Thanksgiving isn’t “the same” as the festivities you’ve enjoyed in the past. Try not to let that get you down. If you treat your call with your family and friends like an event for the day that allows you to connect and catch up, and go out of your way to make it as festive as possible, then your holiday can still be meaningful and special.

Remember: this pandemic won’t last forever. You can still make memories this year while looking forward to better ones.

Want lots of options for your Thanksgiving decorations? Come to Paper Plus, where we’ve got a huge selection at incredible prices.

Celebrate the Mask, It’s Here to Stay

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

cartoon faces with masks

Wearing masks on the regular was an adjustment for everyone, but now they’ve become an integral part of every day life. Given Covid-19 may not be going away any time soon, they’re the one reason we can live, work, shop, and play outside.

If we can’t get rid of them, we might as well make them fabulous! Celebrate them! Done right, masks can be anything from an elevated fashion accessory to a fun excuse to dress up in costume every day of the year.

Fashion Masks

woman wearing pink maskGet more than one mask. You need more than one because you have to wash them anyway.

Buying an assortment will let you mix and match your masks to your outfits. Try to get an assortment of colors that work well with any outfit, from business to casual. Don’t forget to have fun, too: if you love rocking animal print there are plenty of masks that will let you do just that.

The next thing you’ve gotta do is get the right fit. A mask that’s too baggy won’t look any better than a pair of pants that’s too baggy. A mask that’s too tight will feel unbearable to wear.

Another tip? Use masks with earloops. They let you keep your hairstyle nice.

Fun Masks

Got a holiday coming up? Match your mask to the occasion! This is an especially fun technique on Halloween. It’s effortless to integrate a mask into a ninja, samurai, or bandit costume. Full-on face masks like traditional monster masks still count for masking purposes.

faces painted on masksAre you a super fan of a TV show like Star Trek, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, or Stranger Things? There are plenty of face mask makers out there who will make a mask with your fandom in mind. Try Etsy for just about every kind of mask you can think of, or make your own.

Have a special, socially-distanced outdoor celebration with your Covid pod coming up? Add a holiday-themed mask and make things festive. Use falling leaves for Thanksgiving, or a festive red and green theme for Christmas.

Mask Comfort Tips

Don’t like the feel of a layered or flat mask against your face? Try a “beak” style mask, which only puts a little bit of pressure on the bridge of your nose, your chin, and the sides of your face, leaving your mouth and nostrils clear. They’re also easier for glasses-wearers to adjust, which means you don’t have to deal with foggy glasses.

Pay attention to the fabric you’re using, too. Silk, for example, isn’t going to breathe very well. Denim is easy to mix and match to your outfit, but it can be downright miserable when the day gets hot.

Masks for Kids

adult putting mask on childHaving trouble getting your kids to wear their masks? Remember to lead by example…if you don’t wear yours, your children won’t wear theirs. Yet you don’t have to make it grim and gloomy. Get the masks that are fun for your kids! Help them think of getting to wear a mask as being akin to getting to play dress-up every time they go out. Help them get masks that are comfortable for their face, and let them choose the ones that make them feel special.

Mask Etiquette

According to the CDC, you should wear your mask every time you go out in public while continuing to practice social distancing. You should be sure to wear your mask correctly by pulling it over your mouth and nose while securing it under your chin. Your mask should fit comfortably on the sides of your face.

If you’re just walking around outside, it’s okay to keep it down, but pull it up if you pass people on the sidewalk.

Remember, masks are how we protect each other from the virus. Any one of us could be a “silent” carrier. If we all observe this basic courtesy, we can all get back to life as we know it a lot faster.

Want supplies for a fabulous costume mask? Come to Paper Plus, where we’ve got a wide selection of options for you to choose from.

How to Keep Kids Connected to Friends While Staying Safe

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

childs hand with crayons and coloring social distance activity

A socially distanced summer doesn’t have to be lonely, and your kids don’t have to stay glued to screens to stay in touch with their friends. With a little creativity and a few art supplies, your kids can have fun, connect with their besties, and brighten the days of all their friends.

Here are five easy, inexpensive activities you can do with your kids this month. Many encourage you to strap on your mask and get out for a walk or a drive, which can help add a sense of excitement and adventure after months of being locked down at home due to COVID-19.

1. A Good Old-Fashioned Chain Letter

Chain letters may carry some crazy connotations for those of us who grew up in the 80s, but their basic concept is both simple and innocent. Someone starts a letter and mails it (or drops it off at) the house of a friend.

The friend adds a bit of artwork, or a message, and then passes it on, like a long relay that only grows more fun as the letter grows.

You can send it with US Mail or you can walk it or drive it over to the next-closest friend. Whatever makes sense for you and your family.

Get creative! Nothing says the chain letter message can’t get a little 3D. Add some glitter, or forge an actual tiny construction paper chain to dangle off the side of it. The important thing is to have fun both reading and contributing.

2. Cards for Classmates

If you’re willing to spring for more stamps or know everyone lives close enough for a walk-by mailbox delivery, then kids can make cards for all their friends and classmates. Think “summer Valentines,” without all the pink.

If you’re not going to mail them, and you’re feeling a little fancy, you could even make small goodie bags. Include tiny favors like stickers, pencils, and erasers, wrap them in nice paper and add a bit of ribbon. It’ll be a summer surprise sure to leave a smile on every face.

3. Sidewalk Chalk Messages

sidewalk chalk messages for friendsIf you want to encourage your kids to get out and get walking, then this can be a fun low-investment idea that still brings a lot of cheer. Grab some sidewalk chalk, then visit friends’ houses one by one. Leave a quick message in the driveway or on the sidewalk.

Get together with other parents so they can encourage their kids to do the same. Seeing the list of messages grow can be exciting and a lot of fun for kids.

One caveat: if you live close to all your child’s classmates it may be a nice idea to visit every classmate you can find, not just every friend within your child’s circle. If everyone lives close together less-popular children may see messages and grow upset when they don’t get any. By being conscientious about this, your child can work to make everyone feel included.

4. Rainbow Windows

rainbow and hope painted on windowsGrab some window paint and paint a bold, beautiful rainbow (or anything else your child wants to paint). Include an encouraging message for friends, the neighbors, essential workers, or anyone else your child wants to give a shout-out to.

Coordinate with other neighbors to fill the neighborhood with them, then go for a walk to see all the fun messages. It will be a little like the tradition of going around the neighborhood to see the holiday lights, minus the holiday (and the lights).

Be sure to get washable window markers or paint for this project so you can safely remove the message later.rainbow and clouds painted on windows

5. Stuffed Animal Safari

This idea is better for younger children. Coordinate with your child’s friends. Get as many of them as possible in on putting stuffed animals in their window. Make a checklist of each friend’s house and then take a walk to find each animal. Match the animal to who it belongs to.

You might even have your child make a small blue ribbon to mail or deliver to the home of the kid who successfully found the most animals.

Stay creative and optimistic!

stuffed animal bunny outsideThis summer doesn’t have to be a drag. With a little work, you can make it one of the most memorable your child has ever had. Don’t forget to schedule in other fun arts and crafts activities for you and your children, like this one for Father’s Day! They may appreciate the extra time with you, and with a little luck, they’ll be a little less bored (and distracting when you finally have to sit down for that conference call).

Don’t forget, Paper Plus has all of your arts and crafts supplies, and we’ve modified our store to remain as safe as possible for social distancing due to COVID-19.

You can even walk up and pick up your order at the curb if you don’t want to come inside. We’re all in this together!

How to Celebrate Your Birthday While Social Distancing

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

two handfuls rainbow sprinkles

Though the Berkeley area is gradually reopening, social distancing as much as possible will remain a smart idea until a COVID-19 vaccine is found and is widely available. This can be a bummer for those who have to stay at home on their birthday. It can be especially rough on kids in quarantine.

COVID-19 is forcing all of us to get creative. Fortunately, creativity is the key to launching an amazing socially distanced birthday party! Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Launch a Socially-Distanced Birthday Parade

You’ll need to recruit family, friends, and neighbors to support your loved one on their birthday. Have them decorate their cars with streamers, happy birthday posters, and whatever else their creativity can come up with.

Then ask them to drive by the house. Have each person bring one balloon, and you’ll have one big birthday bunch at the end.

This idea is especially great because it gets to the heart of what a birthday celebration is all about: showing someone that they’re loved! It doesn’t take a huge party to accomplish that, and the effort it takes to organize and turn out for a parade does such a great job of communicating the sentiment while making the recipient feel special.

2. Go Big on Yard Decorations

backyard birthday celebration chocolate cakeIf you’ve got a yard then put it to use! Go big with large-letter signs, posters, balloons, and more.

You don’t have to be the sole source of these decorations. Ask friends and loved ones to stop by and add giant cards to the mix. Your birthday person can read the cards when it’s time to return the yard to normal.

Going big can be hilarious and can make your loved one feel extra special.

And how about a night of backyard camping?

3. Get a Cameo

Does your loved one have a favorite celebrity? If so, they might be on, especially right now. This site accommodates everyone from Instagram influencers to Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson in ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD.”

You’ll find celebrity chefs, reality show stars, rock stars, and baby animals all waiting to make a video, especially for your loved one.

Each star sets their own cost. When the video is done you get a link, which means you can send it to them by email, text, or via your favorite messenger program. For the true fan being personally recognized for a short video can be an absolutely thrilling experience, and may entirely make up for being stuck at home.

4. Party By Mail

birthday cardsThis is an especially effective celebration for family and friend groups who are scattered across the country, especially if video chats aren’t an option. Pick out one thing your loved one really enjoys: bears, frogs, teacups, unicorns, whatever.

Then, use social media or email to recruit as many people as possible into sending pictures, cards, and small tokens on this theme. These don’t have to be expensive! A teddy bear picture or construction-paper cut out can be just as meaningful as an actual teddy bear.

Try to arrange this all about a month before the birthday so the mail will all come in at once.

This is especially lovely for younger children, who are often absolutely enamored with the idea of receiving any kind of mail.

5. Participate in a Global Scavenger Hunt

small white dog outside with birthday hatIf you haven’t heard of GISH yet, now might be a great time to check it out. GISH stands for the “Greatest International Global Scavenger Hunt.” Usually, GISH takes place for one week every year and inspires people to do things like create giant replicas of board games or to do silly things in costume out in public, all while earning money for the charity Random Acts, which has gone on to do a huge amount of good all over the world.

Right now GISH is hosting 24-hour quarantine “hunts” at home, and each scavenger hunt item is designed to be do-able at home. Some involve Zoom chats, others involve making art, and still, others involve making funny videos. At the moment, all funds are going to keeping kids fed during the COVID-19 crisis.

If your birthday person’s special day happens to fall on or near the next hunt, you could form a team of family or friends and spend the day competing to finish as many items as possible. It’s a great way to bring everybody together while making a difference…and yes, younger kids can participate too!

6. Host a Virtual Party

virtual birthday via zoom showing two dogs on zoomVideo chats have become the coronavirus go-to for social interactions of every kind. How can you turn it into a party?

One way is to get everyone to dress up. Have a princess party, space party, or zombie party by having everyone dress up. Host some good video-chat party games like charades or Pictionary. Or just get together, have some good food, and chat.

If you need a little more structure you might try a karaoke party. If you have Discord or another streaming platform you can share party games like the ones put out by Jackbox Games.

The Netflix Party app is another awesome option, allowing your family and friends to watch a movie together while commenting in a shared chat.

Plan, Get Supplies, Go Nuts

child celebrating quarantine birthday with cakeThe specifics of what you do don’t really matter. What matters is showing your love for each other on your birthday, spending time together, and having some fun. Think outside the box, gather some art or party supplies, and try not to let your disappointment over not having “normal” birthday activities bring down the mood.

Still, don’t forget to order some ice cream and cake via delivery. We don’t want to throw all the traditions out the window just because this virus might be around for a while, and cake is sacrosanct.

Come on by!

Starting May 9th, 2020, Paper Plus is offering all your party supplies, as well as some essential items, in a properly socially-distanced environment. Grab your mask and visit our store to stock up on all your birthday needs. We are located at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, CA. Question? Give us a call at 510-525-1799.

5 Epic Backyard Camping Ideas

Friday, May 1st, 2020

There are lots of reasons why pitching a tent in your own backyard makes sense. The number one reason right now is that in California, we are all sheltered in place due to COVID-19.

Backyard camping is always an option! If you have little kids who want to experience camping you get to let them do it without taking them too far from their own comfy beds, toys, and routines (many will want to go inside eventually). If money is tight you can this is the perfect idea for a fun staycation.

Here are some fun backyard camping ideas that with a little creativity won’t break the bank.

1. Pitch a Perfect Tent

cartoon gray tentIf you’ve already got a tent then pitch away! Then jazz it up with fun decorations, strings of light, and a big air mattress. Since you don’t have to worry about car space you can bring your own sheets and blankets, creating a bed that’s both more attractive than a standard sleeping bag and more comfortable.

Don’t have a tent and don’t want to buy one? If you have a tarp or fabric lying around, you can make one of your own. There are quite a few tutorials on YouTube on how to do so, and figuring out how to make a tent could be a fun family activity in its own right.


2. Bring on the Bonfire

roasting-smores-over-firepit-while-backyard-camping-If you have a fire pit then you’re all set, but what if you don’t? What if you live in a neighborhood that bans open flames?

You could create a fake bonfire out of LED lights. Simply wind coils of orange and white lights together and set them in a circle, or use a wide basin or birdbath to contain them. Or just hang light strings: the effect is magical, and it will make you all happy to be outside once the sun sets.

Doesn’t look ‘flamey’ enough? Try cutting paper flames out of orange, red, and yellow tissue paper, then gathering them together on cardboard “logs.” You can again use a birdbath or other basin to contain your ‘fire.’

Obviously the fake fire is for backyard camping with kids. If you’re backyard camping with adults skip the fake fire and go straight to the barbeque pit, or pop open a bottle of wine under the stars.


3. Don’t Forget the Food

smores-supplies-on-table-in-front-of-fireWhy not pack a cooler and have a picnic? Grab s’more supplies and make them. You don’t have to have a fire: you can make skillet s’mores.

As for other things you might serve, the sky’s the limit. Hot dogs and hamburgers are popular and fun. Chips and healthy vegetables with dip offer fun finger foods. You could even set out a big bowl of trail mix to keep the camping theme going strong.

If you’re having a party you can have even more fun with this. For example, you can get compostable plates, cups, napkins, spoons, and forks. That way you’ll be helping the environment even as you enjoy your camping fun.


4. Let the Games Begin

girl-using-sidewalk-chalk-backyard-patioWhat would your staycation weekend be without backyard camping games? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use sidewalk chalk to make a giant copy of any one of your favorite board games, then let your kids pretend to be the pieces.
  • Create a scavenger hunt with a number of clues appropriate for your kid’s age: 3-5 for a younger child, 5-10 for an older child, and up to 20 for a tween.
  • Go classic with horseshoes, croquette, or cornhole
  • Wear animal masks and play “wild animal hide-and-seek” with stuffed animals.

Add a few more outdoor activities that aren’t competitive. Bring out the soap bubbles, or bust out the sidewalk chalk again so the kids can decorate your back patio.

5. Have a Wind-Down Plan

Eventually, you’re going to want your kids to go to bed, and this break in routine might make it difficult if you don’t have a plan.

Signal the beginning of nighttime activities by passing out wearable glow sticks. Get a family clean-up effort going so your back yard “campsite” doesn’t get overrun with flies and ants.

Then it’s time to settle in for a story, or perhaps a movie under the stars if you have a projector and a screen.

Sleeping arrangements are up to you. Some kids will want to sleep in the tent. Others will be ready to go back to their own beds. Use your judgement.

In the morning, give yourself a high-five! You’ve planned and pulled off an amazing family day activity that will be the subject of good memories for years to come. Have a victory mimosa at breakfast to celebrate a successful backyard campout night. You’ve earned it!

The Best Earth Day Activities for Kids and Adults

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

earth day letters around earth

Earth Day is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to do your part as a steward of the planet. If you have kids, this is a wonderful opportunity to empower them with the tools and knowledge to create less waste, more plants, and a cleaner future. Here are five Earth Day activities for a fun, informative, and helpful celebration that takes into account our current social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

Nothing tastes better than vegetables, herbs, and fruits that you planted yourself. Not only is gardening meditative, but it’s also fun for kids. Children love getting dirty and then watching their hard work grow to fruition. Having a garden helps reduce your carbon footprint while creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape. Include your community by sharing the

children planting garden earth day

bounty at harvest (be sure to socially distance while sharing). It’s also a great way to teach kids that our food doesn’t just come from the grocery store.

If you live in an area or home that isn’t conducive to having a garden, or you just don’t have time, purchase your produce from local farmers. Find the schedule for your local farmers’ market or sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, and get fresh, local, and seasonal produce every week.


Earth Day Crafts and Activities for Kids

child finished artwork for earth day activityGather your kids and recycled and reusable materials to create fun, practical, and decorative crafts. Look for items around the house that you aren’t using anymore and find creative ways to upcycle them.

One easy and useful craft is creating masks out of old shirts and shoelaces. Or gather old sweaters and make fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm in cooler seasons.  Create a recycled wind chime with old mason jar screw tops, hardware, and anything else you might otherwise throw away.

Commit to Using Less Plastic

Virtually rally your neighbors, family members, and friends and ask them to commit to using less plastic. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store, keeping a stash in your trunk or by your door so you never forget them. Purchase reusable sandwich and snack bags from eco-friendly stores and discontinue your use of zipper storage bags.

Take things a step further and seek bath and body goods that are not packaged in plastic. Every tiny step counts. The trick is to not get overwhelmed; rid yourself of one type of plastic and when that becomes a new habit, move to another.

Celebrate With Compostable Earth Day Party Supplies

corn cup with starsWhen you have wrapped up your Earth Day activities, consider hosting a shelter-in-place Earth Day party, with healthy food and supplies you might have around the house.

Not sure if balloons are suitable for an Earth Day celebration? Latex balloons are compostable and have the biodegradability of a maple leaf. We busted the myth about balloons being harmful to the environment here.  So, go ahead and celebrate Earth day with balloons!

Your party won’t be complete without compostable Earth Day products if you have them on hand. These products have come a long way and you can now find compostable napkins, plates, cups, and utensils that are both stylish and Earth-friendly. So you can celebrate knowing that your Earth Day party won’t be bad for the environment.

While we’re all staying in for Earth Day 2020, for your next Earth Day celebration, call us at (510) 525-1799 or drop in at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkley to browse our wide selection of stylish Earth-friendly decorations, utensils, and more.

Car Window Decorating Ideas for Any Occasion

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019


Car window decorating has become a big deal for a number of different occasions. People have used it for graduation parties, weddings, sporting events, and gender reveal parties. Maybe you’ve even got your own event to celebrate. Now you just need some ideas.

Not to worry! There are plenty of ways you can get the job done. And of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to windows at all.

Car Window Decoration Supplies (Or, for the Whole Car!)

Let’s start by equipping you with your own car decorating kit. You’ll want to make your own both so it will be specific to your event and so you can avoid things which might damage your car, such as silly string. (Why avoid silly string? Because it’s akin to egging your own vehicle).

Many pre-sold kits also come with adhesives. But many stickers can be very hard to remove. They can damage your paint job or lower the value of your vehicle.

Car Decorating Paint

Temporary paint pens are the only ones you’ll ever want to use on your car’s paint job. Make sure the paint pen says “all surfaces” before you use it on the trunk, hood, or sides of your car.

A good car decoration paint pen should be water-based and solvent-free so you can clean it up with a wet rag, later.

Car Window Decorating Markers

Most of the markers you can use to decorate your car are meant for your windows. Liquid chalk markers, or washable window markers, are both good bets here.

The one you choose will depend on the look you’re trying to achieve. The chalk markers really do look like chalk, making them absolutely perfect for senior car decorating. After all, if you’re going to celebrate the end of your school career you might as well do it with a shout out to the school experience!

Markers will give you a more versatile, colorful look. They’re great for wedding cars or gender reveal cars.

Streamers & Banners

Streamers and banners are both fun and traditional. Often you’ll tie them to bumpers or car mirrors to get them into place, and to keep them there.

The sky’s the limit here, depending on your theme. There’s such a wide variety of streamers and banners to choose from. For some, it’s easy enough to make your own if you can’t find anything that suits.


You can use real ones. Artificial ones usually work better.

There are a couple of different ways you can do this. The one that is the least harmful to your car is usually to use a hot glue gun to affix your flowers to magnets. You can then stick the magnets to any non-window surface.

As long as the magnet is powerful enough it will stay until you peel it away. Other options can damage your paint job.


Decorating a “Just Married” car? Tying tin cans to the bumper or trailer hitch is traditional. Some people have experimented with other things like old keyboards (for tech enthusiasts).

Just make sure they’re tied tightly so your decorations don’t break free to threaten other drivers.

Colored Powder

Tire burnout powder or exhaust powder in either pink or blue are both popular options for gender reveal parties. But they come in far more colors than pink or blue.

Tire burnout powder is a small package of colored powder with an adhesive. You peel the back off and place it on your tire. When it’s time to drive, you’ll run over the packet. Festive clouds of color balloon out everywhere! Exhaust powder is made of the same materials. Instead of taping it to your tires you use a funnel to pack it into your exhaust pipe so that bursts of colored smoke pour out of the pipes when you drive.


Want to honor your sports team? Grab some powder in the appropriate colors. This is good for graduation, too, since you can sub in the school colors. It hasn’t caught on for weddings yet, but if you don’t want tin cans on your getaway car you could use powder that matches your wedding colors.

Miscellaneous Exterior Decorations

LED lights, temporary stickers, and other accessories can all be helpful on your quest to decorate your car, too. License plate rims are another cool option. They’re easiest to find for sports teams, but you can find them in assorted colors, too. You can even find license plate rims outlined with colorful LED lights.

Just grab some items in the appropriate colors or with the appropriate motifs, and have some fun!

Car Interior Decoration Ideas

Many people neglect their interiors when they decorate their car. But you can really pull the look of yours together by paying some attention to it. People can see into your car. And the driver and passengers no doubt want to feel festive, too!

The main thing here is you don’t want to blind the driver, or distract the driver. You can do a lot with steering wheel colors. LED cup holder liners can be a lot of fun too. You can stick them inside of your cupholders to make them glow in different colors at night.

You can add little decorations on clips (use small safety pins if the clip isn’t already there). Hot glue gun them to small toys, and affix them to your vents.

How to Decorate a Car for Your Chosen Occasion

Now that you’ve got your car decoration kit assembled, it’s time to dive into some more specific car decoration ideas.

Graduation Car Decorating Ideas

Creative senior car decorating ideas can be hard to come by. Start with the basics! You’ll need the school colors, and a way to paint the name, and the year, and a heartfelt message.

From there, why not use decals or more paint to create the school mascot somewhere on the vehicle? As mentioned earlier, it might also be a cool idea to use colored exhaust or tire powder to poof out the school colors. And don’t forget the inside! A little stuffed animal mascot could be a great addition to any graduation car.

See also: Simple High School Graduation Party Ideas.

Birthday Car Decorating Ideas

Car decorating is becoming a big deal at birthday parties, too, especially for Sweet 16 parties, quinceaneras, and the good old “Lordy, Lordy, someone’s 40” parties.

See also: Quinceañera Decoration Ideas for the 3 Most Popular Party Themes

Here, you can even add a few more items to your car decorating kit. Tying a few colored balloons to the antenna, mirrors, or bumper of your car can instantly give it a birthday look. Try to pull together a few themed colors.

If it’s a 40th birthday, don’t forget the black flowers! Use chalk markers to add some gravestones, too. Hey, it’s all in good fun.

Wedding Car Decoration Ideas

tin-cans-behind-just-married-decorated-carPinterest has thousands of images you can look through, here. Don’t feel compelled to follow the crowd, though.

Here, there are three things you’re going to want to consider. The first? Your wedding colors. Second? Wedding flowers. And third, your wedding theme. A rustic, backyard wedding with mellow outdoor lighting and mason jars is going to suggest a very different scheme than a 1940s-themed wedding at a 5-star venue.

Using “bride and groom” stuffed animals is getting popular. You can hot glue gun these to magnets just as you can hot glue gun flowers. These usually sit on the trunk or hood.

You can also use flowers to spell out the “Just Married” message if you prefer not to use banners. If you’re going for a more rustic wedding you can use a big magnet to add a chalkboard to the back of your car. Use colored chalk to write your “Just Married” message.

Gender Reveal Decoration Ideas

You already know all about the colored smoke, but what else can you do?

One idea could be to use the same magnet method to put a baby doll on the hood or trunk of your car. You could also draw big, stylized question marks in pink and blue all over your car body or windows.

You could even get a little silly inside of your car by adding some GI Joes, Barbies, and other, traditionally “gendered” toys to the dashboard or to the rearview. If you’re feeling bold, you can tie these on the back like you’d tie the tin cans on a wedding car.

See also: Cute Baby Gender Reveal Party Ideas.

Homecoming Decoration Ideas

These ideas stand in for any other major sporting event. But homecoming is a great example.

Sports team colors and mascots are a natural start. You could also add traditional flower varieties in these colors. Many people like to put a large, colorful bouquet right on the hood or on the front grille.

Both flowers and colored banners are great options for anyone who is going to be using their car as a parade float.

Other Quick Tips

First, don’t forget to wash your car before you get started. Dirt on cars can get stuck in markers and scratch the paint job. It can also defeat your attempts to make your magnets adhere to the surface. Nobody wants to shed decorations all the way down the street!

Second, don’t plan your car idea before you’ve looked at your local supply options. You don’t want to get fixed on an idea only to find you can’t quite make it happen.

Where should you start your search?

Right here at Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, where we’ve got banners, streamers, markers, chalkboards, glue guns, and a whole lot more to help your car stand out at your next event.

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