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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Preparing for Sleepaway Camp: Here’s What You Really Need to Pack

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

summer camp spelled out in colorful letters

Heading to sleepaway camp is likely to be one of the most exciting events of your child’s summer, but it can be one of the most stressful, too. This is especially true for younger kids who will be enjoying their first time at sleepaway camp. But any child will be off-routine, and may be prone to sleepaway camp anxiety, and homesickness.

In addition to having long conversations about how to survive sleepaway camp, a little preparation goes a long way towards making sure your child’s summer camp experience is positive throughout. And a lot of the work of preparing for sleepaway camp will be centered on making sure he or she feels connected to you and the rest of the family the entire time.

Here’s how to prepare for sleepaway camp.

The Boring But Necessary Bit

Remember when your parents used to sew labels into your clothes?

Who’s got time for that now?

Still, your child needs to be able to find all his underwear. And permanent marker won’t get it, at least, not if you don’t want the “label” to wash out.

The solution? A hot glue gun and some printable labels get everything neatly marked without eating half your day.

Your Super-Parent To-Pack List

 Now let’s talk about what you’ll want to pack to make sure your kid has a blast.

For Homesickness

children playing outside at sleepaway campAdd these items to your child’s duffel to avoid tearful calls from the front office.

Stuffies

Letting your child take his or her favorite stuffie to camp is a risk. There’s always the chance the one toy he or she can’t sleep without, the lifelong, constant companion, could end up lost or stolen.

Instead, why not pick up a few smaller stuffies that share a “species” with the favorite? If it’s a large bunny, for example, you can pick up two smaller ones. The little ones can be the children of the big bunny, or the little sisters and brothers, or the friends. Either way, they’ll go while the Favorite stays home.

If your kids are really little you might even bring the Favorite to see them off: Mom and Mommy Bunny are saying goodbye to all their kids at the same time. Don’t forget to label the stuffies, too!

A Small Photo Album

Pick up a new, small photo album, one which won’t take up a lot of space. Then, fill it with pictures from home.

Your child can pull it out and look at the pictures whenever he or she starts to feel lonely.

Memory Makers

boy using binoculars at sleepaway campOne way to ward off homesickness is to get your kids excited about sharing all the memories he or she is making. Consider picking up a small disposable camera so he or she can document some rockin’ summer camp adventures.

Slightly older kids might enjoy recording their experiences in a blank journal complete with decorative pencils and colored erasers in fun, funky shapes. The “fun” supplies help avoid a situation where your kid feels like you’re assigning homework. Noting what happened can make your children feel connected to you even if you won’t get to read the journal right away.

As a bonus, your child will be less likely to forget anything he or she really wants to tell you!

To Build Anticipation

The more excited your child is about going to camp the less likely he or she is to fall apart once there. Adding some fun items to their bags can help with this one.

For example, what could be more fun than glow sticks for the campfire? Kids really look forward to breaking those out and waving them around during an event that’s already tons of fun.

You can also help kids keep track of when things are supposed to take place. Countdown the days to summer camp with a small calendar and a fun sticker book. As a bonus, they can take the calendar and some different stickers with them, and then use them to countdown the days until they have to say goodbye to their camp friends.

Mail Never Fails

boy eating smores on stick at campfire at overnight campMaking sure your kids get mail is one of the best ways to help with homesickness. It makes them feel remembered!

If you’re in a hurry, you can just grab a few postcards. Use them to write a letter to your child at camp so they get something on mail day. You can slip a couple of self-addressed, stamped postcards in their bag so they have something to send back too (without forcing them to spend precious pocket money). Or, our discounted greeting cards are always a good choice!

If you’re feeling ambitious and the front office allows it, try a care package! Here are a few overnight camp care package ideas. These work for tweens, too! Grab a beautiful box to make it special, and fill it with any of the following:

  • Small toys
  • Puzzles
  • Bouncy balls
  • Silly putty
  • Balloons (including regular balloons, punch balloons, water balloons, or animal balloons)
  • Bingo cards. Make sure there are enough to play bingo with the other kids in the cabin!
  • Drawing materials
  • Extra paper, pencils and erasers

Want to add food? Consider including something homemade in a pretty container, or wrap it up in decorative cellophane. One twist of a twist-tie and you’ll be ready for super-parent status. (If you use a box mix to save time, we’ll never tell).

Don’t forget to fill the box with tissue paper and packing shreds to make sure nothing gets damaged.

Why all this stuff? Don’t we have cell phones now? Can’t they just text?

In many cases (in most cases, even) going to sleepaway camp really is like stepping back in time. There are rarely any cell towers nearby. That’s why you have to get a bit creative to comfort and contact your kids.

But why fight it? This is part of the fun. Do it right, and the steps you take to make your kid feel happier and more comfortable at camp might just be one of the things they remember most about it when they’re older.

Come on down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo in Berkeley and we’ll help you prepare your family for a summer of fun!

Quick Tips For Creating Amazing Casino Theme Party Decorations

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

poker chips and ace playing cards for casino theme

Feeling lucky? Host a casino theme party! Take your guests back to the glamorous casino era, when everyone got gussied up to test their luck on the casino floor. A casino night theme party is the perfect way to celebrate a milestone birthday, a retirement, graduation, or even an anniversary. Whatever you’re planning to celebrate, host an unforgettable casino theme party with these decoration tips.

The Casino Theme at a Glance

ace playing card peeking outThe colors for a classic casino theme party include black, red, white, silver and gold. Glean your inspiration from decks of cards, dice, and the glamour of the casinos as they’re depicted in James Bond films. If you’re looking to go with more of a Las Vegas-style casino theme, then you will have many other colors to choose from, including neon colors!

The fun of a casino party starts with the glamour of the games, winning, and having plenty of money to blow. Provide your guests with stacks of fake currency when they arrive so they get in the high rolling mood. Provide plenty of champagne, martinis and decadent hors-d’oeuvres to fuel the fun.

Creating casino theme decorations can be somewhat time-consuming, as the cards, dice and other mascots of the theme require a steady hand and a good eye for detail to recreate. If time is tight, head to Paper Plus to get ready-made casino theme party decorations. If you’re crafty, we have a wonderful selection so that you can create beautiful casino theme party decorations yourself.

Casino Theme Party Invitations

The excitement starts with the invitation. Depending on which style of casino theme party decorations you’re going for, the invitation could look like a large playing card, a crisp black Casino Royale-style invitation with basic information, or a glittering invitation inspired by the jackpot.

Casino Theme Decorations

large playing card casino party decorations

When it comes to casino theme decorations, bigger really is better. You want your guests to be immersed in the casino experience as soon as they walk in, so don’t be shy with the decorations!

  • Paint half a dozen boxes to look like dice and stack them in corners throughout the venue.
  • Order a balloon arch with black, red, white, and silver balloons for the entryway. We carry latex balloons with casino theme prints that accent the balloon arch nicely. You can also purchase up to 32-inch Mylar balloons shaped like spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds.
  • Cut up some poster board to create jumbo playing cards, and display winning hands across the venue.
  • If you have a large venue, create direction signs so guests can easily locate the games they want to play.
  • Cover your tables with casino theme tablecloths. We have tablecloths with playing cards, dollar signs or table games printed on them.
  • Don’t forget about the walls! Hang casino-themed banners, backdrops, and cutouts near the appetizers and around the doorways. We carry jumbo playing cards, dollar signs, dice and poker chip cutouts as well as banners that imitate casino signs.

Casino Theme Costumes

It’s possible some guests will arrive without costumes, so you’ll want to be prepared. Give out green visors so guests can pretend to be dealers. Provide fake clip-on ties, fedoras, and boas for your costume-less gambling guests so they can play the part. These are items we regularly stock!

Casino Theme Centerpieces

Suits of playing cards in golden glitter

Make your guests feel like high rollers when they take a seat. Hire a cocktail waitress to take their orders.

  • Fill martini glasses with beads, dice, poker chips and even red and black feathers.
  • Scatter some poker-inspired confetti around the centerpieces.
  • Take advantage of clear glass containers, as they make a great foundation for displaying all the flashy chips, beads and ribbons.
  • You can’t go wrong with classic red roses, either. A few dozen bouquets woven into the centerpieces elevates the decorations without going overboard.

If you’re crafty, you can also manipulate playing cards with scissors and folding techniques to create playing card roses.

When it comes to creating the perfect casino theme party, there are so many possibilities.

Use your imagination and your knowledge of the guest of honor to create a truly personal party they will never forget.

If you’re looking for ready-made casino theme decorations, head down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo in Berkeley and check out our wide array of party props, wearables, and decorations.

We also have a huge selection of craft materials so you can make your own decorations.

 

The Quick Guide to Essential Bachelorette Party Supplies

Friday, March 1st, 2019

bachelorette party

If you are the Maid of Honor, then you know well and good it’s up to you to know where to find bachelorette party supplies. While every party is unique, there are some essential supplies that no bachelorette party should be without.

Essential Bachelorette Party Props

Whether you have a silly sisterhood bash planned for the bride or a sophisticated soiree, make sure all the bridesmaids have props. These include, but are not limited to:

  • shot glasses are the perfect bachelorette party supplyThemed necklaces and sashes that say “bride-to-be” and “bachelorette”
  • Photo booth props (use them for social media photos too!)
  • Handheld (stick) balloons
  • Glow sticks
  • Shot glasses, wine glasses, and sparkly goblets
  • Temporary tattoos, glittery tiaras, and hats
  • Disposable or Polaroid cameras

The purpose of the bachelorette party props is to amplify the fun, so let your imagination run wild! You really can’t go wrong with classic shot glass necklaces, glittery tiaras and bride-to-be banners.

Silly Bachelorette Party Hats, Sunglasses Other Wearables

Is there anything more fun than dressing up with your girlfriends and hitting the town?

Tonight is the night to bring that girlhood, slumber party dream of the “ideal bachelorette party” to life and celebrate your friendships.

Some of you have known the bride longer than she has known her groom!

Celebrate the silly, wild, forever kind of friendships with brightly colored bachelorette party hats, sunglasses, sashes, and veils.

bride team logoClassy Bachelorette Party Supplies

If your bride is the ladylike, home-by-midnight type, make sure you pack in as much sophisticated fun as possible before the clock strikes 12.

Make the bride feel like the queen of the evening with a tiara and flowing veil, a personal jeweled wine glass, and a glittering sash that says “bride-to-be” or simply “bride.”

If you pride yourself on your crafting skills, decorate a sash with a custom phrase using a plain satin sash and fabric paint. You can also decorate the champagne bottles with her name, photo, or favorite quote.

It’s also very popular for the group to bring items they can decorate or write on throughout the evening. Sometimes this is a poster, a garment like a headband or hat, or even a small dry-erase board to add “captions” to your social media photos.

Bachelorette Party Kits

Each guest of the bachelorette party should receive a bachelorette party kit filled with both fun and practical items that will elevate the night (and make the morning after much easier).

The bachelorette party kits should have the bachelorette party theme “uniform” (hats, glittery tattoos, sashes or nametags that say “bachelorette” or “with the bride,” etc.) and other supplies like Advil, gum, lip gloss, and makeup remover.

Preparing these kits beforehand will make each guest feel special and will also ensure that everyone has everything they need to make this night memorable.

The bachelorette party is a once in a lifetime event, and so we wish you the very best in making this an unforgettable experience for the bride.

If you’re looking for further inspiration, head down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley to check out our big selection of bachelorette party props, wearables, and other goodies.

Quinceañera Decoration Ideas for the 3 Most Popular Party Themes

Friday, February 1st, 2019

tree in enchanted forest

Before we reveal our knock-your-socks-off quinceañera decoration ideas, here’s some background.

When a young Mexican woman turns 15 she celebrates her quinceañera, a combination of the Spanish words quince (fifteen) and años (years). This is a special day for Mexican women as it symbolizes a rite of passage – or the transition into womanhood – and so it is celebrated with a similar grandeur as a bat mitzvah or debutante ball. The friends and family of the young woman come together to celebrate this special day. The guests give thanks and blessings to the young woman, who is dressed in a floor-length ball gown.

While it is a tradition for the party decorations to match the color of the young woman’s gown, you can still have fun contextualizing the color with a theme. Whether the gown is blue, pink, green or even gold, get inspired by these three themed quinceañera party ideas.

1. Quinceañera Decoration Ideas for an Enchanted Forest Theme

An enchanted forest theme lends itself to plenty of whimsical, nature-inspired quinceañera decoration ideas. This theme works best if the gown is green, burgundy, purple or gold.

Quinceañera Centerpieces

With an enchanted forest theme, rustic bouquets are perfectly acceptable as centerpieces. The best quinceañera decoration ideas for tables include whimsy details. Add a few glittery faux flowers or string lights, or handwrite placement cards on tea-stained paper.

Take Advantage of Quinceañera Party Rentals

The details will make or break the theme, so take stock of what you have and stop by Paper Plus for the rest! We have both table and chair rentals to ensure your guest are comfortable.

Giant Mushroom Props

Whip out your old newspapers or coupons and put your papier-mâché skills to work! You can find plenty of papier-mâché giant mushroom, flower, or tree prop tutorials online, and you can paint them to match the theme colors.

2. Quinceañera Decoration Ideas for a Winter Wonderland Theme

white rock candy for quinceañera decorations for winter wonderland themeA classic winter wonderland theme is perfect for an elegant quinceañera. This theme complements a gown that’s light blue, white, silver or even purple.

Icy Elements

Make the whole venue sparkle with crystal centerpieces, glittering white branches, and frosted string lights. Don’t forget the cotton candy – you can rent a machine from us!

Quinceañera Balloons

Blue, white and silver latex balloons make an elegant balloon bouquet that can be fastened to centerpieces or allowed to float around the venue like snowfall.

Quinceañera Centerpieces

Focus on the “Wonderland” for the centerpieces with jars of white and blue hard candies. Think white rock candy, blue swirled lollypops, Tiffany blue M&Ms … anything sweet and wintery. Fill clear glass containers with the candy and set them on a ruffled transparent blue table runner (or equivalent fabric).

3. Quinceañera Decoration Ideas for a Masquerade Theme

Amplify the mystique of womanhood with a masquerade theme. Invite guests to dance the night away behind elaborate disguises with the new queen of 15. This theme works beautifully with red, rich purple, royal blue, black, gold, and pink gowns.

Masks, Of Course

Buy standard plain masks in bulk and decorate them individually with faux feathers, jewels, glitter, and vibrant paints.

mask for masquerade themed quinceañera decorations

Masquerade Themed Quinceañera Invitations

A masquerade calls for divine invitations. Add elements of surprise to your invitations with invisible ink or elaborate paper folds that reveal the date and time or a special musical guest.

Quinceañera Centerpieces

Masquerade centerpieces should be overflowing with decadent details. Scatter the tables with gilded candelabras. Fill wine glasses with jewels and feathers. Nothing is too gaudy with this theme.

No matter what theme you choose, we wish you a happy quinceañera.

If you need assistance bringing your quinceañera vision to life, stop by Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley and we can help you with craft ideas and balloon decorations.

8 Luau Party Ideas to Beat The Winter Blues

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Hawaiian luaus are a special kind of happy place. Delicious, hearty food served to the sound of tropical Hawaiian music, blissful weather and spectacular entertainment set to a warm ocean breeze–it’s a complete dream! But who says you have to be in Hawaii to enjoy a luau? With the right luau party decorations, ideas, and a bit of imagination, you can enjoy a luau in your very own backyard, even during the winter.

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a winter graduation or you simply want to beat the winter blues with a Hawaiian staycation, turn up the heat this winter with these luau party ideas.

What is a Luau Party?

Traditionally, a luau is a big Hawaiian party where the entire community is invited to enjoy a feast. Guests receive a buffet-style dinner, tropical drinks and traditional Polynesian dances for entertainment. Many luaus often invite local, traditional Hawaiian artists to present arts and crafts demonstrations, musical performances and games for the whole family.

How to Throw a Luau Party

The first detail you will need to consider for your luau party is the location. Luaus are typically held outside, but that could prove difficult during our rainy, chilly winters. If you have a wide open indoor space, that will work perfectly! The important thing is to create a space where people can immerse themselves in the small details that represent a luau.

To help your guests imagine this tropical destination with you, there are a few signature Hawaiian luau party supplies you won’t want to forget for your luau:

1. Leis

Many traditional luaus begin with a lei greeting, where the hostess provides each guest with a lei garland. Half the joy of a lei is the presentation of it, so take a moment when your guests arrive and adorn them with their very own lei. The most popular leis are made of fresh tropical flowers, but other leis can be made with coconut shells or seashells. If you don’t have any of these natural materials available, we have plastic costume leis in a variety of vibrant colors.

2. Tiki Torches

Illuminate your luau party with tiki torches. You can also strategically place tiki torches throughout the space to indicate where the appetizers, games, and luau party favors are located. There are many flameless tiki torch options available now so you can safely erect them in your home or outside. We also have mini tiki torch candles for table decorations.

3. Music

Whether you have a band, a DJ or you plan to make a playlist yourself, Hawaiian music is an absolute necessity at a luau. Coordinate with any performers you may be inviting so you have their music ahead of time.

4. Pork

Traditionally, luaus serve a slow-roasted pork that has been cooked in a hole in the ground. But don’t worry about digging a hole in your backyard. Instead, use a crockpot to slow cook your pork.

5. Luau Party Wear

Hula skirts, Hawaiian shirts, and flip-flops will be the attire for your luau party. Make sure to include these details on your luau party invitations.

Luau Party Decorations

One of the most important parts of a luau-themed party will be the decorations. The right luau party decorations can transport your guests to the Hawaiian Islands, even just for a moment!

6. Luau Party Centerpieces

Luau centerpieces can be fairly easy and inexpensive to make. All you need are some flowers (fake or real), tropical fruit like pineapples, coconuts, and watermelons, bamboo details, and plenty of bright fabrics and paints. You can create simple centerpieces with mason jars and flowers, or decorate a pineapple as a hula dancer. The limit is your imagination!

7. Luau Party Games

Simple games are usually the most well-received, so why not go ultra simple and supply a few hula hoops. For something that requires a little more imagination (and a sense of humor!) host a game of hula charades! The traditional hula dance uses specific dance moves to tell a story about a goddess, a myth, or a cultural ideology. Combine the rules of charades with the ancient practice of hula to create your very own game of hula charades.

8. Luau Party Favor Ideas

Keep the party going when your guests leave with luau party favors. Provide colorful sunglasses, cake-pop “islands” complete with little cocktail umbrellas, bags of gummy fish candy, or make-your-own Mai Tai gift baskets. Your party favors will depend on the age of your guests, of course.

 

Wishing you all the best on your Hawaiian luau getaway party!

 

Stop by Paper Plus in Berkeley for all your decorations, wearables, and luau party supplies.

Simple Holiday Cookie Wrapping Ideas for Pretty Edible Gifts

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

 

Simple Cookie Wrapping Ideas

The secret to gifting baked goods for the holidays (aside from grandma’s unbeatable cookie recipe) is a beautiful presentation. Festive packaging adds the finishing touch to your thoughtful gift and highlights all the love you put into those delicious cookies. Whether you’ve been gifting holiday cookies for decades and your cookie wrapping ideas have gone stale, or this is your first go at baking and you don’t know the first thing about wrapping cookies for gifts, we’ve got you covered. Get inspired with these simple cookie wrapping ideas!

 

How to Package Cookies for a Gift

 

cookie wrapping idea in boxes wrapped with cellophane and bowBakery or Gable Boxes

If you’re wondering how to package cookies beautifully without breaking the bank, keep things clean and simple with a classic bakery box and some ribbon. Baking or gable boxes come in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can switch things up and personalize packaging. The secret to this packaging idea is in the choice of ribbon. A thick ribbon with gold embellishments will look elegant while a big, floppy red bow will look merry and bright.

 

Holiday Tins

You can’t go wrong with baking tins! Tins are great because they are reusable and they make stacking cookies fairly easy. Line the tins with parchment paper and separate each layer of cookies with wax paper so they don’t stick together. Then cross-tie the tin with a thick cloth ribbon and finish with a gift tag.

 

Parchment Paper

Bundle up your basic chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies in some colorful parchment paper. Parchment paper is relatively cheap and is perfect for individually wrapped Christmas cookies or packaging big batches of cookies. You can fasten them with colorful twisty ties, ribbon, tinsel or wrap them again with a sheer but colorful fabric.

 

cookie wrapping idea - gifts in cellophane with yellow ribbon

Repurposed Containers

With a little spray paint, construction paper, or butcher paper, you can turn any old container into beautiful cookie packaging. Dress up an old Pringles canister to look like a yule log, or line the wells of an egg carton with cellophane and parchment paper for smaller cookie bites like Mexican wedding cookies or cocoa peanut butter balls.

 

Basket

If you’re gifting a batch of various cookie types, then a basket will give a nice finished look to the selection. Baskets come in all shapes, colors and sizes and you can line them with beautiful printed parchment paper and tissue paper. Wrap sparkly ribbon around the handle or add some tinsel for additional color and fun.

 

Cellophane/Plastic Wrap and a Fabric Bow

If you’re packaging hundreds of cookies, keep things simple with plastic wrap. Cookies wrapped in cellophane can look picture perfect when you dress them up with a fabric bow. You can choose a colored plastic wrap like green, red, purple or keep it traditional and let the bow do the caroling.

  

Mason Jars

For cookies that look too beautiful to eat, showcase them in a clear mason jar. Top the jar with a square of holiday

cookie gift wrapping idea in glass jars

printed cloth or paper, then tie with a ribbon. Remember to stack them individually with wax paper in between so the cookies don’t stick together.

 

Cookie Bags

Personalize bulk party treats with cookie bags. You can search printable cookie bags online or buy higher quality ones at party stores and some bakeries. Add some fun with stickers, lettering, and ribbon.

 

Don’t Forget the Gift Tags

Personalize your cookies with handmade gift tags! You can use cardstock, construction paper, scrapbooking paper, stickers, glitter, and pattern-cutting scissors to create cute thoughtful tags.

 

Decorating Your Cookies

It’s on the inside that counts … and we’re not just talking about the flavor! Decorating your cookies is part of the presentation, so whether you’re sprinkling blue crystals on snowflake-shaped sugar cookies or dying cookie balls to look like tree ornaments, don’t forget this important step! Some common items you will need to decorate cookies include:

 

  • Decorating food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • Edible dye
  • Edible frosting pens
  • Fondant

 

Some bakeries have technology that allows you to screen print images onto baked goods. This is a cool option if you want to turn your cookies into a photo album or simply skip the drawing process altogether.

 

Bake-Free Cookie Wrapping Ideas

 

Cookie Recipe in a Jar

 

gift of cookie ingredients

Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or you need to make a dozen gifts in a pinch, a cookie recipe in a jar is a fun way to share recipes and save time in the kitchen. Simply layer each dry ingredient in a mason jar and tie it with a festive bow. You can take it a step further and include wet ingredients in separate jars plus baking utensils for a full holiday baking package.

 

Cookie Dough Gift

Pre-make your cookie dough and freeze it in separate cookie dough cartons. This makes less work for you and more fun for your friends who prefer to do the baking. Label the cookie dough with “ingredients” like love, holiday cheer, and joy.

Now it’s time to jump into the kitchen and make some holiday magic. Happy baking! For more packaging inspiration, check out our wide selection of tins, containers, ribbons, paper, and tags at Paper Plus at 629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, 510-525-1799.

 

Like wrapping gifts? We have plenty more gift wrapping ideas for all your gift-giving needs!

12 Big and Small Birthday Party Ideas for Adults

Monday, October 1st, 2018

big or small birthday party ideas for decorations

 

It’s Not One Size Fits All – Big and Small Birthday Party Ideas

In the billions of birthdays that happen each year, it’s lovely to think each birthday celebration can be as unique as the person being celebrated. From the decorations to the guest list to the venue, there are so many details that make a birthday party yours.

 

Big birthday parties set a gigantic stage for all the you-centered festivities, while minimalistic and small birthday parties can say a lot about what’s truly important to you. Whether you plan on inviting a few of your closest friends over for a low-key dinner party or you’re designing an elaborate murder mystery dinner, we’re wishing you the best birthday of your life with the help of these big and small birthday party ideas for adults.

 

Small Birthday Party Ideas for Decorations

Sometimes simple is the best way to go. Minimalistic birthday parties for a guest list of 10 or fewer keep the flash and flare on the low and the limelight on you.

 

small birthday party ideas for party hats and decorations

For this size party, you might decide to host at home and the timeframe will likely be under two hours. Guests won’t be expecting a full meal (especially if the party is set for mid-afternoon) and they might even be planning on bringing their own beverage. No matter how minimalistic you choose to go, a birthday doesn’t feel quite like a birthday without a few key decorations and essentials.

 

1. Cake and Ice Cream

The first essential that distinguishes a birthday party from any other party is (of course!) the cake and ice cream. If you don’t like cake, that’s OK too! Serve up a delicious treat that you do love, like brownies, a seasonal tart, or even a signature cocktail.

 

2.Basic Decoration

Even for minimalistic parties, it feels good to add a little decoration to amp up the celebration. For smaller birthday parties, choose the decorative-but-functional route with party necessities like paper plates, utensils, and maybe some streamers or a centerpiece for the table. You can also order a decorated cake that acts as a centerpiece.

 

3. Activities

If you’re inviting friends from different friend circles, include a simple game to help break the ice.

 

Activity-Oriented Birthdays for Small to Midsize Parties

If you have a slightly larger guest list (20-25 people), you may be hosting a party at a venue where the activity is provided. This could be at a brewery, an art studio, a teahouse or anywhere that offers an activity that you enjoy.

Because these parties tend to take longer, there are some additional essentials that will improve the experience for your guests.

 

4. Pizza

Ordering a few pizzas or another quick, universally enjoyed food makes feeding guests simple. However, you will need

young adults at small birthday party with friends

to check with the venue to make sure bringing your own food is OK. You can also plan to grab pizza after the activity. For breweries or other venues that provide food, call ahead of time so they can best serve your food and beverage needs.

 

5. Reserve a Room

Reserving a party room can give you more liberties with basic decorations (though you still have to ask!), and it can also help distinguish your party from the rest of the guests at the venue. Think balloons and banners.

 

6. Basic Theme

An activity-oriented birthday party will likely have some sort of theme, whether that is age-related or activity-related. If you’re engaging in a sport, buy sweatbands or team jerseys to spark the competitive spirit!

 

Family-Friendly Birthdays with All the Frills

If you plan on having a family-friendly birthday party, then more activities, decorations, and snacks are a must. Depending on the size of the guest list, it might be helpful to rent a large space or have your party at a park so the kids can run around. Some additional essentials for a family-friendly outdoor party include:

 

7. Bouncy House

children playing in bouncy house Bring the activity to you! Having a family-friendly activity keeps the kids occupied and the parents available to mingle.

 

8. Balloons

Don’t skimp on the balloons! Decorate tables, chairs, and archways with balloons to add classic birthday fun to your theme. Balloons are extremely versatile nowadays. You can order name arches, balloons that spell your name or age, and arrangements with stunning balloon colors like chrome. If any of your guests have never been to your home–or you’re hosting the party at a venue–use balloons on the street to show where the party is located. In addition, air-filled balloons have recently become a popular alternative to helium balloons. While they don’t float, air-filled balloons are often used as accents in centerpieces, cake decorations, and party favors. Air-filled balloons can also be purchased on a stick and make a fun addition to bouquets or photo booth props.

 

9. Elaborate Decorations

Take advantage of a simple theme (monochrome, age, etc.) to inspire more elaborate decorations like centerpieces, lighting, entryway guest books or interactive decorations, tabletop decorations, decorative appetizer trays, streamers, and more.

 

10. Favors

old fashioned popcorn cart concession rental

Thank your guests for celebrating with you by preparing party favors. Give away succulents, bake and wrap cookies with decorative packaging, or whip up some seasonal lotions or scrubs.

11. Concessions

In addition to a meal, provide party snacks like cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn or any other treats that fit your birthday theme. (Remember: if you’re hosting a party outdoors you will need a generator or access to electricity for concession machines).

 

12. Seating and Other Amenities

Depending on the seating availability, you may need to rent tables, chairs, linen, and chair covers. You could also rent plates and cloth napkins for a more elegant birthday.

Whether you’re hosting your own birthday or you’re planning an elegant surprise party for a loved one, we hope this birthday essential checklist is helpful! For additional assistance with decorating, give us a call at 510-525-1799 or stop by Paper Plus at 629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley today!

 

5 Favorite Paper Plus Customer DIYs

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
DIY fan card by a Paper Plus customer

DIY fan card by a Paper Plus customer

Working at Paper Plus, we see dozens of amazing crafts, designs and DIY projects every day. We are consistently amazed by the vision, resourcefulness and technical abilities of artists in the Berkeley area. Some craftspeople have started full-blown card businesses, while others are motivated to make beautiful cards, crafts and decorations simply for the love of creating (plus they love making their friends and family smile). Here are our 5 favorite DIY customer crafts from Paper Plus.

 

Intricate Handmade Cards

One of our regulars is a master card maker. Her designs range from bold cuts with two colors to soft designs using five or more paper colors. Her most impressive designs involve intricate folds, color blocks and thoughtfully designed layers of fabric, doilies, cardstock, and ribbon to jump off the page–some even have 3D elements. Many of her cards are so elaborate; a card truly becomes a beloved gift in and of itself.

DIY folding card closed

Handmade DIY folding card – closed

DIY folding card closed

Handmade DIY folding card – open

DIY heart card by a Paper Plus customer

DIY heart card by a Paper Plus customer

Beautiful Banners

Sometimes simplicity is just as lovely as an elaborate design. We’ve had a few customers use fishing wire to hang cards that their kids made and strung it across the room as decoration. We’ve had others do spin-offs of this idea with photographs and clothespins or art prints.

 

Clever Cards

DIY clothing card by Paper Plus Customer

DIY card by a Paper Plus customer

We could never forget when one guy came in and showed us his moon cards. He repurposed the aluminum peel top from a pill bottle to make a silver moon on all these cards for Groundhog Day. (FYI Groundhog Day has astronomical meaning–it comes between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox).

 

Astonishing Centerpieces

When it comes to centerpieces, the possibilities run as wide and deep as your imagination. We have seen downright mesmerizing centerpieces that started as a bundle of scraps and recyclables. We’ve recently seen quite a lot of jars and vases being repurposed for centerpieces. From string lights and succulents to polished rocks and glowing water, we’ve seen it all! One of our favorites was a jar filled with lights that were positioned in such a way that they resembled a jar of flowers. Don’t ask us how they did it, it looked like pure magic!

 

Another woman hosted her husband’s retirement party and themed each table with a different centerpiece. She made little tiny suitcases out of gift boxes for one table; another had an Eiffel tower constructed out of paper. The dedication, the detail and the love that she poured into these centerpieces was enough to make you tear up a little. Gorgeous!

 

Downright Delightful Decor

We had one customer who transformed a roll of old wallpaper into a holiday wreath. Now that’s resourceful! She cut the wallpaper the way she needed it and she spruced it up with a tarnished look. That might have been one of the most ingenious wreaths we’ve ever seen!

Thank you to all the inspiring artists and craftspeople who share their designs with us here at Paper Plus. Your work inspires us to do what we do, and we love seeing what our products become once you get ahold of them!

If you’d like to share your work with us, send us an email at schurman5@aol.com or share it on our Facebook page! We’d love to feature you and your work.

5 Facts About the History of Balloons

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Why do we use balloons for celebration? What is it about balloons that makes us smile? If movies like Pixar’s Up have any sway in the matter, it’s probably because we just really love watching pretty things float. But there’s so much more to balloons than simple decoration. Here are 5 historical facts about balloons that you didn’t know you needed to know.

 

Valentines-day-red-balloon-heart-arrangementThe History of Balloons

While we couldn’t possibly imagine a kid’s birthday party without colorful balloons or Valentine’s Day without floating hearts that say “Be Mine”, balloons haven’t been around for very long. The concept for balloons was initially invented for transportation (like the hot air balloon) and military communication, not celebration.

 

The Invention of Latex Balloons

So when did balloons become a staple party decoration? In the 1840’s a couple of scientists, first Michael Faraday and then Thomas Hancock started playing with rubber, glued two sides together and inflated it–little did they know they had paved the way for a cultural phenomenon! The first commercialized rubber balloon came onto the U.S. market around the turn of the century. In 1912 those long noodle or “sausage” balloons popularized and people began twisting them into different shapes to look like animals.

multi colored balloon animals

Movie Magic Balloon Facts

The Red Balloon, the 1956 short film directed by Albert Lamorisse, played off the simple pleasure a balloon provides. The 34-minute film is simple, whimsical, and has a way of awakening the child in all of us. The film’s only special effect is the mechanism used to get the balloon to follow the boy. The Red Balloon also spurred a deep love for floating balloons in the US. Before that, balloons were manufactured on sticks. While you can still buy stick balloons today, floating balloons are still the more popular choice.

 

Environmental Facts About Balloons

Colorful balloonsToday, there are some misunderstandings about the environmental safety of balloons and how we should dispose of them. While the string of the balloon is not biodegradable, the latex balloon is. Mylar balloons, on the other hand, are not biodegradable. When these types of balloons get high up in the atmosphere they harden into a solid plate and fall back to earth, occasionally taking out whole power lines. That’s why Mylar balloons come weighted down. To properly dispose of a Mylar balloon, cut it into strips and recycle them. You can also re-use them for art projects. Whether your balloons are Mylar or latex, be sure both the balloon and the string are disposed of properly.

 

Helium Balloon Facts

A series of issues over the last 15 years have also led to a fear of a helium shortage since helium is needed to run MRI scanners and other important devices. Because of this, air-filled balloons have come back into popularity, replacing some helium sales (though the switch isn’t very significant). The balloon industry changes rapidly, and it’s possible the rules and expectations around helium will change again, and again.

While governments and environmental groups are discouraging people from buying helium-based balloons, the use of balloon material for other projects is completely fine. In fact, some of the most incredible artwork can be created using balloon material.

There you have it! The life and history of the balloon is an interesting one. Where will balloons take us next?

Come by our store in Berkeley at 1629 San Pablo Ave (510-525-1799) to purchase balloons for your next party! And check out our helpful balloon ordering guide first!

 

Baby Shower Ideas for Boys, Girls and Gender Neutral Themes

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

baby shower spelled in blocks

 

Your precious bundle of joy is on its way and you need baby shower ideas! Your baby shower day is one you will never forget. You get to celebrate with all your friends and family, share your plans for the nursery, play games and stock up on diapers! Whether you’re keeping the baby gender a surprise for the big day or you want to paint the place pink (or blue!), check out these adorable baby shower ideas for decorations, games and more.

Having a gender reveal party first? Check out our gender reveal party ideas!

cartoon animals for babyBaby Shower Decorations and Games

When it comes to baby shower decorations, the possibilities really are endless. From the ready-made pink or blue baby shower decorations to balloon bouquets to crafty centerpieces and games, making the most of the decorating is an excellent way to thank your guests for their support and get excited about your bundle of joy! Here are some of our favorite baby shower ideas for decorations:

 

The Interactive Baby Shower Decoration

If you have creative friends, alphabet painting is a super fun way to have them take part in decorating the nursery. All you need is the 26 letters of the alphabet (wooden or cardstock) and each guest can paint a letter to be hung up on the wall. All the people that mean so much to you will have a hand in decorating the nursery!

 

baby shower girl cookies and box

Baby Bib Decorating

You’re going to go through a lot of bibs, why not have plenty of unique, hand-decorated ones? All you need is fabric paint and plain bibs and your guests can paint a personal bib gift for your baby. So cute!

Baby Babble Scramble

Scramble common baby-related words and print them on paper that matches the theme. Have guests unscramble the words to reveal the answers, and whoever unscrambles them first wins a prize.

What Size is Mommy’s Tummy?

This game is super simple and always gets people smiling. All you need is some ribbon or yarn. Have guests cut the ribbon to the length they think wraps around mommy’s tummy perfectly. Whoever gets the size right gets a prize.

 

Advice Cards

Create themed advice cards for your guests to give their personal piece of baby advice. This game is fun and can be a neat way for guests to give insight. The more input the better!

 

Baby Shower Favors

baby shower boy cupcake blocks pacifier booties

Let your guests know how thankful you are for their support (and gifts) with themed baby shower favors. Some of our favorite baby shower favor ideas include:

 

  • Gift bags – fill with confetti, candy and hand-made thank you notes
  • Soap – wrap bars of soap with thank you notes as a cute thanks for attending the “shower”.
  • Succulents – remind people of the precious gift of life with a succulent!

 

Baby Shower Themes

Whether you want to keep the classic baby blue theme or opt for something outrageous (zombie baby shower, anyone?) choosing your baby shower theme can help you zero in on decorations and make this baby shower extra special.

 

Baby Shower Themes For Girls

Throw a baby girl garden party! This is a delightful way to expand from an all-pink baby shower. Make paper flowers, serve tea cakes and tea sandwiches and give away flowers or succulents as party favors!

 

gender neutral baby announcement

Baby Shower Themes For Boys

Sports themed baby showers for boys are always fun and the best part is that you can buy plenty of ready-made decorations. Whether you want to do a football theme, baseball theme, basketball theme or all-sports-in-one, a sports baby shower lends itself to tons of games. Plus, it’s a great theme for a co-ed baby shower.

 

Gender Neutral Color Theme

If you want to keep the gender reveal for delivery day, have some fun with a gender neutral color theme!

Yellow and green are popular baby colors, or you can select the whole rainbow in pastels. Play gender reveal guessing games or ask for gender neutral name suggestions.

No matter what theme, decorations or party favors you choose, your baby shower is going to be a day you remember for years to come.

We’ll help you make it extra special. Come on down to  Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley to get everything you need!

We’re open Monday – Saturday 9am – 7pm and Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Congratulations!

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