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Posts Tagged ‘party decorations’

How to Create Incredible Kwanzaa Decorations

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

kwanzaa-candles-and-table-decorations

Kwanzaa decorations aren’t easy to find. Despite the fact that it’s been celebrated since 1966, few companies make or sell them. Those that do have been selling the same patterns for over 25 years.

In fact, many people only know the holiday in passing.

What is Kwanzaa?

The name comes from a Swahili phrase: “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.”

Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday. Though it’s celebrated from December 26 to January 1st, it is a harvest festival. It is not a replacement for Christmas.

Some people assume the holiday draws from many different religious traditions, but this isn’t quite the case. The holiday is cultural, not religious. Much of this confusion arises from the presence of the Kwanzaa candelabra known as the kinura in the traditional celebration. The kinura resembles a menorah, but they are not the same.

Kwanzaa is meant to be available and accessible to black people of any religious faith. It is a celebration of the rich history and culture found in so many forms throughout black societies around the world.

Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?

18 million people of African descent celebrate Kwanzaa worldwide. But people of all racial backgrounds are often welcomed to the celebration.

Those who do not share any recent African heritage (all human life made its first appearance in Africa) should approach any celebrations with respect, just as a Christian might when invited to attend a Hanukkah celebration.

In America, only about 35% of the black population currently celebrates the holiday. Many of our readers will celebrate the holiday for the first time this year!

How to Decorate for Kwanzaa

Every good celebration starts with great decorations.

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa

Each day of Kwanzaa has its own symbolic meaning.

● December 26th – Umoja – Unity
● December 27th – Kujichagulia – Self-Determination
● December 28th – Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility
● December 29th – Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics
● December 30th – Nia – Purpose
● December 31st – Kuumba – Creativity
● December 1st – Imani – Faith

The meanings of these 7 Kwanzaa principles each weave in and out of traditional decorations.

Kwanzaa Decorations

Mekeka

First, you need mekeka. These are woven placemats symbolizing the family. These are typically green, red, yellow, and black. Though they would traditionally be woven out of straw, creating them out of construction paper is among the popular Kwanzaa activities for kids.

Kinura

kwanzaa-candlesNext, you’ll need the kinura, which is the candle holder itself. This represents the parents. If you’re handy you can find nearly everything you need to make your own down at the hardware store.

Candles

The Kwanzaa candles are the next traditional decoration. You’ll need three red ones to signify struggle, three green ones to signify the future, and one black one to signify the African people.

Unity Cup

The “unity cup” is next. These can be made of wood, but you can also make yours with a colorful plastic party glass wound round with festive beads, affixed to the goblet with hot glue. You’re not bound by the three traditional Kwanzaa colors here: the cup is used to pour libations in memory of deceased loved ones or ancestors. Thus, you could use any colors that remind you of these individuals. The glass itself should be in one of the three traditional colors if it is not made out of wood.

Vibunzi

Next up is the vibunzi. This is an ear of corn meant to signify each child. Using colorful decorative corn is one option. Another is to make festive corn husk vases for each child. Use hot glue to affix a corn husk to a short glass, a little wood stain to give the husks a nice color, and colorful braided yarn to add visual interest. You can wrap strands of yarn at the top and bottom, or around the middle. Affix the yarn with your glue gun, then add festive flowers.

Mazao

The mazao is next: a bowl of your freshest fruits and vegetables to symbolize the harvest.

Zawadi

Finally, the zawadi: gifts for each child. This is another Kwanzaa tradition which causes some people a lot of confusion, as it might look a lot like a Christmas or Hanukkah tradition. But Kwanzaa gifts aren’t meant to be games or toys. They usually consist of a book and a symbol of cultural heritage.

“Choose the Best and Most Beautiful”

The Official Kwanzaa Website offers guidance on how to celebrate Kwanzaa. One of the principles is that celebrants should not mix the symbols or decorations with those that come from any other culture. They may draw from other religions, but should be African in execution.

The other is that celebrants should choose the best and most beautiful decorations they can find or create.

Other Ideas for Your Kwanzaa Celebration

Many celebrants choose to give each other Kwanzaa cards. As with the decorations, there are very few pre-printed or pre-made options.

Thus, it’s a great time of year to get creative! You can create your own cards. Use heavy card stock, markers, or other creative touches to send well wishes that are entirely your own.

You can also make some of your zawadi. For example, the cultural heritage symbol could be a handmade string of colorful beads, or a small African drum.

Here at Paper Plus, we do have plenty of materials that can help you make all the decorations, cards, and gifts mentioned in this article. Stop by at 1629 San Pablo in Berkeley, CA and ask what we’ve got in stock right now!

We can help you make your Kwanzaa celebration truly special this year.

How to DIY Your Elopement Party

Friday, November 1st, 2019

 bride-and-groom-elopement-cupcakes

Once upon a time, couples who wanted to elope would skip town, the elopement party, and just head to a courthouse, sometimes across state lines. Elopement usually happened when the families disapproved.

But today it means something else entirely. “Elopement” has come to describe small, cozy weddings with a handful of cherished guests, either close to home or destination. These weddings and elopement parties can often be thrown for a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding with hundreds of guests. They’re also a relatively low-stress, low-key option.

Elopement allows you to create an intimate, meaningful wedding. And when you DIY as much of it as possible, you don’t just save money. You put your heart and soul into creating something that’s truly unique. Here’s everything you need to become your own elopement planner.

Elopement Ceremony and Elopement Party Checklist

Here are all the things you’ll have to think about when planning your elopement.

Elopement Venues

couple-eloping-ring-ceremony.Choosing a venue is about more than finding a pretty location and booking it. It requires a lot of advance planning, as well as an awareness of the local laws governing marriages.

You’re likely actually going to choose two venues here. Many couples will still choose a courthouse to get married in, before moving everyone to a gorgeous location for the reception. If that’s what you’re doing, we’ve got you covered!

When choosing your venue, consider:

● Whether you’ll need a separate appointment for your marriage license.
● Whether the courthouse requires you to book ahead or allows walk-ins. Booking may be better, as you don’t want to get your guests to the courthouse only to force them to wait on someone else’s wedding!
● Whether the courthouse allows you to book.
● Whether the courthouse allows you to offer your own vows.
● Triple check the laws if you’re eloping in another country.

Do some calling around. For the most part, you’re going to want to book early. Choose your top reception locations, and then call courthouses near those venues. Call each reception location to make sure it’s available too. If you find matching times for the reception and courthouse, you’ve won!

If you absolutely can’t book both locations for the same day, and are adamant about having your wedding in a specific spot, then give the reception area preference. Some couples don’t invite anyone but witnesses to the courthouse and instead invite everyone to the reception.

couple-eloping-holding-hands.If that’s you, then you can get legally married a week or two before the reception. Your announcements and invites would then say that you got married, where, and when, with a warm invitation to attend the upcoming elopement party.

Some people choose to hold the reception closer to home, opting to get married in a city by themselves with no guests, enjoy their honeymoon, and then come home for the elopement party. This could save many of your guests a fortune in travel costs.

Elopement Attire

You’ll want to talk to your partner about how you’re going to dress for the ceremony, and for the reception. You don’t have to go crazy with color coordination, but you’ll want to match your level of formality.

For example, many eloping brides prefer white dresses with simple, clean lines, formal enough for work or any party but available at any department store. This prevents you from having to purchase or rent an elaborate wedding dress. If you take that route, then the groom might want to wear a simple suit instead of a tux. Slacks, a vest, and a crisp shirt are a good choice too. These items play well at the reception, too.

You might both want to at least visit a local tailor to make sure the fit is spot-on. This is still your day!

Elopement Announcements and Invitations

This is one of the areas where you can get truly creative by making your own announcements and invitations. Here are some elopement announcement ideas.

For a Formal Elopement Party

Get heavy card stock and a calligraphy kit to write out each invitation or announcement by hand.

For a Less Formal Elopement Party

For weddings where you didn’t invite any guests at all, send a “Reception Only!” card. Write the words right at the top in big, bold letters, and then add the details in smaller ones. Gel pens on heavy card stock will produce outstanding results.

For a Backyard Elopement Party

Have a little fun with stencils to put on-theme decorations on your invitation. You don’t even have to use the word “reception.” You can call it an “I Do BBQ” or a “Happily Ever After Party.”

Don’t Forget

Announcing your elopement comes with its own etiquette. Those who will be attending you at the courthouse are your witnesses. Keep in mind your chosen city may require them! You should plan on having fewer than a dozen witnesses, even if you plan to invite a slightly larger group of people to your post-elopement party.

Announcements may be mailed to anyone who didn’t attend the elopement after you’re hitched.

Invitations, either to the elopement or the elopement party, can be mailed before.

It’s a good idea to send “save the date” cards to anyone you want on site, too.

Elopement Reception Planning

There are some truly unique elopement places out there. Some venues have begun specializing in this sort of wedding, and even have some of the best elopement packages you could possibly ask for. Choose the right venue, and details like flowers, food, music, and even a photographer can already be all lined up and done for you.

If the venue doesn’t offer an elopement package then you will want to make sure your DIY elopement reception has the following:

  • Someone to take pictures. It can be your uncle or your bestie if you don’t want to hire a photographer. Print photos and purchase a scrapbook or photo album so you always remember your special day!
  • A way to play music. An mp3 player and good Bluetooth speakers with a solid Google Play or Spotify playlist work just fine.
  • Food! You can’t neglect the food. Fortunately, catering for twenty people or less is a lot less expensive than catering for over 100. You might want to contact a few caterers in the local area and arrange a tasting if you can. If you’re having your party in your own back yard you can, of course, just make your own.
  • Don’t forget glasses, plates, and flatware. Use tasteful disposables for a minimum of fuss.
    Wedding cake is totally optional, but most couples want one. Elopement cakes are usually single tiered cakes with some tasteful but beautiful low-key decoration. If you want something a little less formal and a little more fun, you could also have the bride and groom’s cupcakes arranged in tiers and towers.
  • Flowers are also optional, but if you want a bouquet to throw you’ll need to think about this. Many online flower shops deliver wedding bouquets right to your doorstep and don’t require a lot of notice.
  • Balloons!  Balloons make even the most casual event special.
  • You might want to consider other supplies like chairs and tables.

Here at Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, we offer all the supplies you’ll need, including chair rentals, card stock for invitations, and more. Stop by and ask how we can help you make your elopement a memorable and beautiful event.

After you’ve acquired or scheduled everything you’re going to need, take a breath and relax!

These 4th of July Party Ideas Will Help You Throw the Best Bash Ever

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

american flag and fireworks

Tired of throwing ho-hum 4th of July backyard barbecues? You know: the ones where your family members sort of lamely wave sparklers around after you eat a few hamburgers?

Time to step up your game. With a few 4th of July party decorating ideas and a little extra planning, you can create a memorable holiday your family and friends are sure to remember.

And like some of the best things in life (like fries, or milkshakes) your options even come in small, medium, and large.

Small 4th of July Party: The Family Picnic

4th of july party cupcakesFirst thing’s first. Ditch the backyard. Go for a change of scenery at your local park. The shift in locale alone can make the day feel special.

Next, grab some patriotic plates, napkins, and a tablecloth. Decorations make a difference! These don’t cost much, and they help you make the experience special. You’re not just eating some food at the park here, you’re making memories.

If you want to barbecue look for a park with pits. But sometimes bringing finger foods and cold foods is just as fun, and is a lot less work. That part’s up to you.

Don’t forget to bring some entertainment. Red, white, and blue water balloons can give you what you need to start a rollicking romp after lunch is done. You’ll all be dripping wet when it’s done, but you’ll have a ton of fun.

After you’ve changed into dry clothes, grab a few tiny flags and fun wearables like themed headbands and pinwheels, and head down to see your nearest fireworks show. Don’t forget to bring folding chairs for your comfort, and get there early to get a good spot.

And if you still want to wave some sparklers around, this time it’s bound to be way more exciting for everyone.

Medium: 4th of July Barbeque Party Ideas

4th of july party cake decorated like flagFor this, you’ll need almost everything you needed for your picnic. You’ll also need additional 4th of July party supplies.

This time consider inviting extended family members and family friends. Rent a pavilion at the park and decorate every table.

At this point, you definitely need a barbeque pit on-site. You’ll need plenty of drinks. Don’t forget plastic cups and sharpies so nobody mixes up cups.

And because it’s all about the food at this level, be sure to pick up some disposable warming trays. Baked beans are great when they’re hot. They’re not so great when they’ve cooled.

With a crowd this size you might want to skip the water balloons. Instead, turn up the tunes and hand punch balloons out to the kids. And to get everyone playing together, add a patriotic piñata, which you can make yourself by checking out our How to Make a Piñata blog post.

Don’t forget to add a few piñata essentials, like a bat to hit it with, or sacks with pretty decorative ties so kids can pick up the candy and bring it home.

Want to rock until the sun goes down? Scored a BBQ spot you can see fireworks from? Grab some light-up necklaces and earrings so everyone can see each other in the dark, and keep the excitement rolling while you finish out your awesome day.

Large 4th of July Party: The Block Party

big 4th of july party with lots of people at picnic tableReady to prove your chops as a party-planning ninja? Consider a block party. You can either move this one back to your home, or you can rent a larger outdoor venue.

If you have a pool you definitely should bring the party back home, because a 4th of July pool party will be an instant hit. If you don’t have one, you might see if there’s a venue with a pool available. Just leave yourself plenty of time: you’ll have a hard time scoring a location like that if you wait too long.

At this point, go nuts with the invitations, and use notecards to send them. Invite your co-workers. Invite your neighbors. Invite the friends you usually only see once a year. This may be the perfect opportunity to spend time with people you don’t know you’ll love yet.

You can use everything you’d use for a picnic or BBQ here, but you’ll need to step up your game. You need way more 4th of July party decorations to get everyone into the spirit. To control access, you need a dedicated entry point, but one that can serve as a decoration too. It’s time to bust out the balloon arch!

You also probably don’t want to invite every random person in town who decides they want some free food. Having a stamp pad lets you mark who belongs and who doesn’t. Have guests turn in their invite in exchange for a stamp.

Plan on serving booze? You definitely don’t want to hand a beer to a minor by mistake. Card your guests and issue wristbands to those who are old enough to hit the beer cooler.

Want to really impress your guests? Think about passing out fun 4th of July party favors. You don’t have to go crazy here: flags, pinwheels, and glowing wearables are perfect.

Don’t Get Cverwhelmed!

Sometimes it just takes a few simple touches to make your 4th of July party a success. The real trick is getting people together, talking and laughing, while taking steps that make them sit up and think: hey, this day is special.

Get everyone in one place and in the right mood, and your celebration should be a rip-roaring success at any size.

And here at Paper Plus, we can make it easy. Stop by our store at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley to get everything you need to make your 4th of July party both memorable and 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.

 

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.

No Helium, No Problem! Decorating with Non-Helium Balloons

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

non helium balloons heart wedding decoration

For a long time, helium has been the essential element that makes balloons so magical. From the 1956 French film The Red Balloon to childhood birthday parties, it’s hard to imagine decorating without helium balloons.

 

But with the recent helium shortage, artists and designers have been doing just that … and their creations are mesmerizing. Even before the helium shortage, creative and crafty types have put no helium balloons (i.e. air-filled balloons) to great use.

 

You can find the most impressive air-filled balloon designs at the World Balloon Convention–no, we’re not making this up! This international balloon design convention and competition has an air-only balloon event where contestants from all over the world come to showcase furniture, mythical creatures, fictional characters, massive archways, fashion and hundreds of other clever pieces made entirely of balloons without helium. The convention shows first-hand that the design possibilities with no helium balloons are un-ending.

While your no helium balloon needs probably aren’t as extravagant as the designs at the World Balloon Convention, no helium balloons can be used on a smaller scale for many of your traditional party decorations.

 

The Benefits of No Helium Balloon Designs

Even though it’s nice to have party decorations that float, choosing air-filled balloons slows the demand for helium without compromising the look of your decorations.

non helium balloons table decoration

  • In general, helium balloons are more sensitive to temperature changes (they deflate in cold temperatures and expand in hot temperatures) which can affect your decorations. Helium is a smaller molecule than oxygen, so helium balloons deflate quicker than air-filled balloons.
  • If you are hosting a party outdoors, air-filled balloons are a stronger choice. Since air-filled balloons are held together with sturdy materials like poles, vases, and string, you can keep balloon decorations from floating around and tearing apart if the wind picks up.
  • Helium centerpieces are typically less innovative because the main attractiveness is the floating part. With air-filled balloons, your centerpiece can be as elaborate as you want.
  • Helium balloons tend to be more expensive because helium is a more expensive commodity than air. If you have big ideas for balloon decorations but you need to stay on budget, air-filled balloons are much more economical.
  • You certainly aren’t limited to latex balloons either. Air-filled Mylar balloons of all shapes and sizes are available for balloon bouquets, cake toppers, photo booth decorations, and centerpieces. Whether you use Mylar or latex, you never have to worry about your balloons floating away with this type of centerpiece.

 

Big No Helium Balloon Designs

Air-filled balloons are perfect for big decorative columns and arches because they are suspended with poles, vases, and frames. This makes outdoor balloon decoration much more dependable. Even if you are hosting a party indoors, big air-filled balloon structures don’t move around as much, so they can be incorporated into more complex designs. We’ve seen “columns” that look like Mickey and Minnie Mouse and archways that look like portals to new dimensions. You can make your vision come to life with air-filled balloons; all you need is a strong, flexible frame to keep it in place.

 

Small No Helium Balloon Designs

non helium balloons on a stick

Air-filled balloons can also be used for smaller decorations, props, cake toppers, party favors, and centerpieces. Small balloons suspended on short poles create lovely multi-tiered designs that can be customized by theme or type of occasion. We’ve seen elaborate centerpieces that touch the ceiling, centerpieces that look like flower bouquets, and others that include candles or lights. A classic air-filled balloon design features a single latex balloon on top with little latex balloons attached around the bottom. You can also create small topiary trees and structures with air-filled balloons.

Air-filled balloons are also used to make inflatable props like balloon animals. Balloon animals are traditionally made with long or “tube” air-filled balloons and add a little magic to children’s birthday parties, festivals, and other occasions. Another popular prop is the air-filled balloon on a hand-held stick. This party prop dates back to before the popularization of helium balloons, and now they are making a comeback!

multi colored balloon animals

Reimagining balloons can lead to some magnificent designs while also reducing the demand for helium. We thank you for considering air-filled balloons for your next event. If air-filled balloons sound like the perfect option for you but you don’t know where to start, stop into Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley and chat with our balloon-loving staff. Or, give us a call! 510-525-1799

We love balloons, so we write about them a lot!

 

 

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!

 

Decorating and Entertaining with Compostable Products: A Growing Trend

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

If you walk into a party supply store, you will notice a growing selection of compostable plates, cups, utensils and even decorations. Compostable products have certainly grown in popularity, and as Berkeley residents, we have front row seats to this sustainable shift in an industry that is typically viewed as extravagant and–sometimes–wasteful.

 

Only a few short years ago the first attempt at compostable cutlery was a bit of a flop. Compostable spoons would disintegrate in hot tea, and party supplies hardly screamed fun.  Now that manufacturers have perfected their formulas, we’re seeing an impressive evolution from function to form.

recycled and compostable party napkins green wave recycled and compostable party napkins yellow hearts

As the demand for compostable plates, utensils, and decorations continues to increase, manufacturers are getting creative with textures, colors, and shape to make them more attractive. In a brief time, we’ve gone from brown, pulpy paper plates to single-use hot cup technology that looks and functions like plastic. We no longer have to compromise looks for sustainable products, which makes the appeal for compostable decorative products much stronger.

 

When You’re Done – Is It Recyclable or Compostable?

 

Composting and recycling are two different, though equally essential methods to keep unnecessary waste products out of the landfill. So, how do you tell the difference?

 

Recyclable Party Supplies

Recyclable means that the disposed waste is reused to produce new products. This doesn’t necessarily mean your kombucha bottle will come back as a kombucha bottle in a second life. Typical party recyclable items include glass containers, paper decorations, and plastic cups. Recyclables can certainly have prints and dyes in them, but they must be rinsed and cleaned before disposal, otherwise, they could be sent to the landfill.

 

Compostable Party Supplies

Compostable materials are biodegradable products that given the right conditions degrade to create

compostable corn and wood utensils

what is called humus (no, not the delicious chickpea dip!). Humus is a nutrient-rich, all-natural soil that can be returned to your garden, just as nature intended.

 

Food is typically compostable. Also, look for compostable party supplies like napkins, cups, plates, and utensils made from corn, recycled crushed paper, bamboo, and palm leaves. Longer-lasting compostable products are typically made from a type of wood.

Partially Compostable

In some cases, party products can be considered partially compostable or biodegradable. For example, latex balloons are compostable but the string is not, so you must dispose of each piece separately.

 

Exciting New Options

Take a look at a compostable plate versus a traditional paper plate now and you probably won’t notice a difference. Compostable decorative and single-use items (cutlery, plates, napkins) hold their own in the decorative department nowadays, and they also hold up better and have more longevity in terms of daily use.

compostable plates made of palm leaves

 

Manufacturers have recently come out with compostable decorations, including placemats, gift bags, banners and place cards. Compostable plates made with palm leaves look modern and are available in various textures and patterns.

 

For compostable decorations like crushed paper you might notice a little difference in texture, but now manufacturers are coming up with stylish shapes like squares with borders.

 

Compostable products are not made with paints, lacquers or chemical dyes. Instead, they use texturing, crushed paper, cuts, shapes and naturally derived dyes to create a diverse selection of attractive designs. Some designs even include prints!

 

compostable corn cup with stars

They have come a long way, and we are thrilled to see what they come up with next.

 

Looking to decorate your next occasion they ec0-friendly way? Call us 510-525-1799 or drop in at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley to browse a wide selection of stylish earth-friendly decorations, utensils, and more.

 

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!

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