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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

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!

It’s A Surprise! Cute Baby Gender Reveal Party Ideas

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Baby newborn hanging baby boy baby girl body. Baby gender reveal

Is it a boy or is it a girl? There is so much excitement surrounding the reveal of your baby’s gender. The most popular way to share the big news with friends is to make them all a special part of the reveal and throw a gender reveal party! Celebrate in style with unique gender reveal games, decorations and announcement ideas. Whether you’re decorating the announcement yourself or a trusted friend is in charge of that cherished envelope, these cute gender reveal ideas are sure to wow and delight your guests.

Cartoon-mom-gender-reveal-balloons-for-boySimple Gender Reveal Idea: Balloons in a Box

The balloon reveal is a classic decorative way to announce the gender of your baby. All you need is a box and balloons, the rest is up to your crafty imagination!

 

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard box
  • Neutral wrapping paper (The reveal is inside!)
  • Confetti
  • Pink or blue balloons
  • Tulle (optional)*

 

  1. Gift wrap the box.
  2. Fill the box with confetti that matches the color for either boy or girl.
  3. Fill the balloons with confetti or another, smaller balloon. Remember: the more you put in the balloon, the less it will float.
  4. Place the balloons inside the box and secure it shut.
  5. On the day of the reveal, open the box and the balloons will float up to reveal the baby’s gender!

 

*Wrap tulle around the balloons for some added decoration!

 

Pink and blue baby shower, reveal the gender baby showerCute Gender Reveal Ideas For a Sibling

Have some extra fun telling your child that they’re going to have a baby brother or sister with a balloon popping gender reveal. Simply fill a black balloon with confetti that demonstrates the gender, then help your child pop the balloon. The balloon will burst and reveal a lively array of confetti!

 

If your child is a bit younger, help them celebrate with a gender reveal scratcher, which you can buy or make using a postcard, pens (to write the reveal!), some acrylic paint and dish soap.

 

Name Suggestion Station

There’s plenty of time to play gender reveal games before the announcement! Heighten the anticipation while gathering baby name inspiration with a Name Suggestions Station.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Slips of Pink and blue paper (plus extra colors to decorate the jar)
  • A decorative jar
  • Colored pens
  • Table cloth
  • Confetti
  • A book of names to get people started (optional)

 

Gender Reveal Party Game: Baby Gift Bingo

Prolong the reveal with a good ol’ game of baby gift Bingo! Whether you buy the Bingo set or create your very own with some decorative paper, pens and “chips” of your choosing, Bingo is a fun and easy way to get everyone involved (and hint at some gifts on your baby shower wish list).

 

One Last Baby Gender Reveal Party Idea – The Wearable Vote

Gussy up your guests with pink and blue wearables like necklaces, hats or pins! As your guests walk in, invite them to select either a pink or blue wearable based on what gender they are “voting” for.

You can even make your own wearables with some paint and clothes pins! Simply paint the end of the pins blue or pink so guests can easily clip them to their belongings. If you’re the crafty kind, make wearables based on your gender reveal party theme.

Also, there’s no reason you have to use pink and blue. One cute wearable idea is to make mustaches for the boy vote and little bows for a girl vote. Adorable!

Come on down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley to get everything you need to make your  gender reveal party special!

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

Congratulations on your soon to be bundle of joy, and Happy Gender Reveal!

Next, here’s some baby shower planning inspiration for boys, girls, or gender neutral!

 

Table Decorations to Spruce up Any Celebration

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Nothing makes a celebration festive quite like finger food, friends and family, and fun party table decorations. Take a look at our favorite table decorations for home holiday festivities for Super Bowl, Award Shows, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras.

Super Bowl

superbowl balloonsOn Super Bowl Sunday, there are snacks galore, tons of hungry fans and plenty of opportunity to decorate that snack spread. Create a football field table spread with football-shaped cookies and touchdown centerpieces. With a green table cloth and some white duct tape and paint, you can create a football field table cloth, so every snacker is a player!

For the table cloth:

  1. Cover the table surface with the green table cloth and tape it down to secure it.
  2. Mark where you want the yard lines and use white duct tape to create the lines.
  3. Use paint or white paint markers to write numbers on the field.

Read more about what you’ll need to complete your Super Bowl party.

And keep your guests and the kids entertained on Super Bowl Sunday!

Award Shows

red carpet and streamer for oscarsAwards shows like the Oscars and Grammys are all about the glamour. Using silver and gold table decorations like stars and confetti is a great start. Use a black or red table cloth as your base. If you’re preparing appetizers, decorate finger food toothpicks with black tie attire: bow ties, top hats, mustaches, etc. In the spirit of the movies, decorate a popcorn station and label different spices based on the movies that are nominated this year.

 

What You’ll Need for Award Show Table Decorations

  • Toothpicks
  • Construction paper
  • Table cloth
  • Stars
  • Confetti or ticket stubs

 

Valentine’s Day

homemade-valentines-day-crafts-for-schoolBring on the love! Whether you’re throwing a dinner for two, a cute Valentine’s Day party with the kids or a Galentine’s Day party with all your girlfriends, this is the holiday for pink and red table decorations, candles, flowers and balloons! Get out the construction paper and cut pink and red hearts to decorate the table. An excellent addition to a Valentine’s Day table spread is paper mache letters. You can buy them at the store or make your own with newspaper, paint and glue.

 

Mardi Gras

The signature colors of Mardi Gras are green, purple, gold and silver. You can use bead necklaces, confetti, pompoms and feathers in these colors. You can make simple table decorations by filling martini glasses with beads and attaching masks to them. Take some feathers and stick them in the beads for a festive centerpiece. You can also place beads in candle holders and place tea lights inside for a smaller centerpiece.

 

Colorful Mardi Gras beadsDecorations Needed for Mardi Gras

  • Beads and bead necklaces
  • Masks
  • Fleur de lis design
  • Top hats
  • Feathers
  • Confetti and glitter

 

Come on down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley to get everything you need to decorate your table!

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

Happy Celebrating!

Candle Decorating Ideas for Every Room to Keep You Cozy All Winter

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

pink and whtite candles

So, you’ve already decked out your house for fall, now it’s time to warm it up for winter.

What is it about candles that bring us such joy?

Their soft light warms our hearts while making even the coldest winter evening cozy and calm. The rhythmic cadence of their burning provides a whimsical note to the atmosphere, providing an ambiance so intimate and familiar.

 

Whether you prefer scented candles for the ambiance…

…beeswax candles for their air purifying qualities or tea lights for decorative luminescence, there’s nothing quite like the flickering of a candle. They are versatile and can add a warm touch for both home and event decorating.

With quite a bit of winter left, let’s take a look at some simple ways to add that lovely touch to your winter decorating that only candles can provide.

 

Lighten up the Short Winter Days

Adding scented candles to any room is a simple way to lighten up these short winter days and set a soothing mood. When decorating with scented ones, look for containers that match the colors and theme of the room you’re decorating. (Plus, you can re-use the containers for planters, pen holders or your own DIY candles once they’ve burnt out).

 

Best Places to Display Candles

Start by displaying candles in areas that get the least natural light, like reading nooks or the study. Complement scented candles with flowers, candy bowls featuring seasonal snacks or other sensory elements. Together they create a decorative delight to the senses.

 

candles as bathroom decoration with towelsIn The Bathroom

During the winter months, finding soothing ways to warm up takes precedence. We curl up by the fire, bundle up in soft blankets, and we definitely take more baths to heat up those bones after cold days in the rain or snow.

Decorating the bathroom with scented candles can transform your ordinary bathroom into an intimate space for relaxing in a hot bubble bath. Choose a neutralizing scented candle for the bathroom, like ocean, linen or citrus.

Line your bath tub with scented candles or tea lights to create a soothing place to wind down in the evenings. You can also use floating tea lights in the bath tub to create a soft, intimate mood.

 

In The Dining Room

 As your warm your spirit with seasonal comfort foods, enhance the dining room center pieces and decorative spreads with candles too. The subtle lighting offers a relaxing mood for dining and entertaining.

Coordinate the scent of the candles with the flavors of the dinner menu. Taper candles also look formal yet comforting when arranged into floral centerpieces. You can use flameless candles if you’re creating centerpieces with flammable elements.

 

outdoor lantern with tea lightIn The Bedroom

Nothing says romance quite like candles in the bedroom. Turn off those harsh fluorescent lights and swap them for decorative pillar candles on the dresser.

Line tea lights on the bed side table and complement them with scented lotions or perfumes for added sensual notes and intimacy.

Lanterns are another neat way to surround yourself in candlelight. Hang one on both sides of the bed for an extra touch of romance.

 

In The Living Room

The main gathering area for entertaining friends and family should be the warmest room in the home. Get a little liberal with candles in this area, placing one or many on the coffee table, tea lights or a row of taper candles on the mantle, and some decorative pillar candles on end tables or on the entertainment center.

One unique way to use pillar candles is to arrange them in the fireplace during the winter. This is perfect if you have a fireplace that doesn’t work but you still want to create that feeling of warmth you can only get by sitting around a fire with friends and family.

 

led candles in paper bags outdoorsIn The Entryway or Outside Walkway

The entrance of your home is a brilliant place to decorate, as it creates a more welcoming atmosphere.

In the walkway just outside your door, use flameless candles, luminaries or LEDs, since all these options give a welcoming feel to the front of your home. Placing flameless candles in paper bags can also enhance the warmth of the light.

In the entryway, scented candles are great for lighting the area up. Candelabras add a neat touch to entry tables also!

Stay warm this winter, and come on down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley with your decorating ideas.

We have lots to choose from to keep you cozy this winter! Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 7pm and
Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Host Your Oktoberfest Party: Traditions And Decoration Ideas

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

beer pretzel pumpkin candle oktoberfest tableHappy Oktoberfest! If you’re wondering when Oktoberfest is, it actually isn’t in October: It starts on the second Saturday of September.  That means it’s finally time to get gussied up with traditional Oktoberfest clothing and celebrate life, love and family with Oktoberfest games. Get ready for elaborate costumes, games and, of course, Oktoberfest beer.

Why Is Oktoberfest Celebrated?

On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Everyone in Bavaria was invited to take part in the festivities. At the close of the event, horse races took place, and it was decided that the races would happen again the following year. Sure enough in 1811, horse races were put on, along with an agricultural show. After a few decades, beer stands were replaced with the popular beer tents of today. Now there is an entire fun faire, with carousels and games.

If you can’t make it all the way to Germany, but the thought of missing all the fun has you hankering for a stein, make your own Oktoberfest party at home! Here are some simple and fun ways to host your very own Oktoberfest party this year!

decorated pretzels oktoberfest tableSet The Oktoberfest Table

At Oktoberfest, there are game booths, rides, and tents lined with long picnic tables. All around, there are people sitting along tables with sausages, beers and belly laughs. Recreate this feel with centerpieces, stamped tablecloths and seasonal gourds. Some other ideas include:

  • Create a cupcake carousel for the dessert table
  • Fill steins with treats at the kids’ table
  • Make a fondue table for a unique way to snack on all the traditional foods!

Hold Traditional Activities

Hold a beer tasting of specialty German beers, or just with beers you’ve wanted to try! Nowadays there are plenty of Oktoberfest style beers on the market. If you want to stick to tradition, import beer from the classic 6 breweries: Augustiner, Hofbräu Münchner, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Löwenbräu, and Spaten-Franziskaner. For kids, use chilled steins to make big root beer floats!

Set The Scene

Set up a photo booth with handmade props, using construction paper, cardstock, glue and embellishments. Make hats, mustaches, speech bubbles and more!

Turn up the music

Play an Oktoberfest playlist! Make your own or use one from online. There are few good ones on Spotify and Pandora. Folk music works just fine, too.

pretzels and oktoberfest cloth on wooden tableGet Your Costumes On!

Build your own pair of lederhosen with suspenders, shorts and a simple white peasant blouse! For kiddos, you can also make a pair with construction paper and the right adhesives. For ladies, dirndl skirts, peasant blouses, corsets and aprons are perfect for this celebration. Come on down to our craft and costume departments for all your Oktoberfest supplies.

Craft Festive Decorations

Draw a classic beer stein, then cut it out and use it as a stencil to make dozens of them. Next, string them up to create the look of a wall lined with beers. Like a classic Oktoberfest scene.

Prepare a Traditional Oktoberfest Spread

Set the table with hearty, traditional munchies like soft pretzels and mustards, bratwurst sausages and sauerkraut.

The Essential Burning Man Costume Checklist

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Black rock desert burning man

It’s that time of year again! Mutant vehicles are popping up on the highway, Burning Man costumes are for sale in department and thrift stores, and the Black Rock Desert is requesting our attendance to the biggest art and culture festival in the world: Burning Man.

Radical Expressionism At Burning Man

The iconic festival, called “life-changing” by the majority of attendees, was built on 10 principles. Today we’re going to talk about the principle of “radical expressionism.” Burning Man invites individuals from all over the world to express themselves in all different ways. Clothing is one of the most popular outlets for expressing personality in ways that might be deemed strange in regular society.

It’s All About How You Put it Together

When it comes to radical expression, buying a ready-made Burning Man outfit doesn’t always illustrate a person’s authenticity – but if you’re not a master sewer, ready-made wearables make an excellent base to your handmade costume. It’s all about how you put them together!

Bandanas, for example, are used to keep dust out of your face during dust storms. There are so many bandanas and face masks to choose from based on your personal style and preference. In fact, you can choose a different bandana to match your costumes throughout the week. Each year there are different theme days through the week. Some are honored every year, like Tu-Tu Tuesday, while others change based on the year’s theme.

bike riding on the playa at burning manSelf-Reliance at Burning Man

While this festival is rooted in radical expressionism, another principle of Burning Man is radical self-reliance. In order to really get something from this festival, there are a few essentials to pack that will help you fulfill the 10 principles and make this festival all the more enjoyable.

Your Burning Man Costume Checklist: Clothing, Costume & Misc. Necessities

Suspenders, bandanas, hats and goggles for Burning Man are among the most essential costume/clothing pieces, and they are also a good starting point for packing a wardrobe that expresses your individuality. Here are some other essentials for fashion, expression and function:

  1. Craft and Expression Kit

    Put together a craft or expression kit as your gift to other Burners. To make your kit, fill a box or some form of container with enough crafts for a person to make cards, a personal journal, a puzzle, or whatever else you can think of!

  2. Lights

    You are in charge of your own light out there, so use lights to express your individuality at night, and be seen by art cars and bike riders!

  3. Glow sticks

    These are perfect for lighting yourself up too.

  4. Costumes

    Wings, suspenders, dresses, anything you want! Keep the theme of the festival in mind so you can be sure to participate with props and accessories.

  5. Bandanas

    Your bandana will be your best friend. Those dust storms plus the sweltering heat can be unbearable without the help of your bandana.

  6. Helium

    Fill up a tank for various activities on the playa (come on by to pick one up!)

  7. Fur Coats and cloaks

    The temperature drops quickly when the sun goes down).

  8. Keep a clean set of clothing in a plastic bag for the ride home.

  9. Hats

    The more the merrier: decorative, protection from the sun, and at night for warmth.

  10. Sunglasses

    A couple of pairs, in case one breaks

  11. Goggles

    Decorate them with embellishments to make them your own!

  12. Skirts, sarongs

  13. Fishnets, hose, bodysuits

  14. Comfortable shoes/boots

    Be sure to bring a selection of shoes for camp, day time and night time.

  15. Funky shoes

    But avoid stiletto heels!

  16. Make-up

    Body paints, glitter gels – no loose glitter!

  17. Rain gear/poncho

    You never know what the weather will bring out there.

  18. Gloves

    Decorative and for warmth.

  19. Blinking lights

    Battery operated to wear at night.

 

That should do it for costumes and clothing!  Whether this is your first time at the festival or your twenty-first, we wish you a once-in-a-lifetime experience and good luck!

Come on into the store for your costumes, crafts and other wearables today! If you’re in need of helium for your camp, come down to Paper Plus, we have helium tanks for rent!

How To Make A Pinata For A Classic Party Game!

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Handmade party games and activities really bring life to any celebration. One craft we really enjoy making for birthdays, Sunday BBQs and summer park days is a pinata! No matter what your age or the occasion, there’s something about whacking a homemade pinata and releasing that prize that brings about a pure sense of joy and celebration.

Cardboard or Paper Mache Pinata?

There are two different ways to make a pinata, depending on your craft level, how strong you want it, and the amount of time you have. To make a pinata for, say, a baby’s 1st birthday, or if you want to use more complex shapes for an animal pinata, you will want to go with the first tutorial. For more classic homemade pinatas, go with the second tutorial.

number 5 homemade cardboard pinataHow To Make A Pinata With Cardboard

Time Needed: 20 Minutes

When you need to make a fun activity fast, go with the tape-it-up cardboard pinata.

What You’ll Need:

  • Masking Tape
  • String
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Ruler/Straight Edge
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper
  • Cardstock/Cardboard
  • Pen
  • Candy or other small prizes
  1. Cut Out Your Shapes. Using your pen, cardstock or cardboard and scissors, cut out the shapes you will need for your pinata. Depending on your 3-D crafting knowledge, you can make whatever shape pinata you’d like!
  2. Construct the Pinata. Tape your pieces together to construct the shape. Be sure to use masking tape!
  3. Fill’er Up! Before taping the top on, fill the pinata with your treats.
  4. Add String! Tie a knot in your piece of hanging string and feed the string through the top of the pinata. Tape it set.
  5. Cut The Tissue Paper. Fold your tissue paper over and over, then use the scissors to cut strips about 1.5 inches wide. This will start the desired fringe paper. Be careful not to cut too close to the
    top and sever your fringe. Add the fringe to your pinata with glue, and there you have it!

 

How To Make A Paper Mache Pinata

Time Needed: 45-60 minutes

 heart-shaped-ballon-for-pinataFor this classic pinata tutorial, be sure to lay out lots of extra newspaper to keep paper mache paste or paint from staining anything.

What You’ll Need:

  • Large balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Large bowl
  • Paper mache paste
  • Paint
  • Crepe paper
  • String/Yarn
  • Masking Tape
  • Candy/ Prizes
  1. homemade-heart-shaped-balloon-pinataBlow up your balloon really big!
  2. Grab your bowl, cover it in plastic wrap and set the balloon on top of it.
  3. Tear up your newspaper into strips. Don’t be shy, you’ll need quite a bit! Make sure they are at least 1 inch wide and about 6 inches long.
  4. Set your paste in a bowl, and dip the strips in. Remove extra paste with your fingers
  5. Lay your strips onto the balloon, alternating directions until the whole thing is covered. Leave a hole at the balloon tie. Let it dry.
  6. Once dried, add at least 2, but preferably 3 additional paper mache layers to your balloon, waiting for each layer to dry before adding the next one.
  7. When dry, pop the balloon and remove it through the hole you left.
  8. Paint your pinata in bright colors, or decorate with tissue paper (like the tutorial above!) and then fill it with candy and prizes.

Now you have a pinata to liven up your party!

Need a few things to get started? Come on down to Paper Plus for balloons, tissue paper, and other crafting supplies today!

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