Kelly shares her daughter Sophie's 11th Birthday Party theme idea plus tips for decorations, activities and more!
When my 10 yr old asked me if she could have her 11th birthday party at home this year, I cringed a little.
Finding a theme for a tween birthday felt like an impossible task! I had visions of “Pin the Sunglasses onto One Direction” and a gaggle of giggling, sugar loaded pre-teens going crazy. But when we finally decided on an Arts and Crafts party, I knew it was the perfect birthday party theme for this group of girls.
I shoved aside the nagging feeling of regret and impending doom and began planning the best pre-teen birthday party I could.
Painting T-Shirts was my initial plan, but we ended up choosing to paint calico tote bags to avoid the complex task of sizing.
I had left plenty of time to organise the party, which meant I could shop around for the best prices on tote bags online.
We chose to have a 2hr party and opted for a second activity of cupcake decorating as well. We were catering for 6 girls in total – a strategic decision to keep the party on the small side so it was more manageable. Minimising the potential for disaster and damage, some might say.
We were lucky enough to have our beautiful decorations prepared by China Doll Gift Boutique for Sophie’s Arts and Crafts Party. I gave Karen our theme and Soph’s favourite colours of pink and purple, and voila!
She came up with the perfect concept of “Craft Your Heart Out” style decorations, complete with a cute paint brush and palette design.
Among our goodies was a beautiful personalised wall bunting, which made a great backdrop for the food table. A themed centrepiece actually made an awesome cake topper for our AMAZING cake (details further on!).
I added some simple wall decorations and a just a few helium balloons to finish it off.
I decided to provide an apron for the girls too which I hung from a kids clothing rack. Plus, the clothing rack gave me a safe place to hang their painted tote bags to dry later on and looked amazing too!
Painting the calico tote bags was relatively easy. If you don’t know much about fabric painting, have a chat to your local craft store about what paint to use.
Remember you don’t need an array of colours – just pick a few including the primary colours and they can mix up their own colours.
We kept it simple and went with plastic bowls as paint pots. This way, the girls could mix different colours together in a new bowl easily.
I placed enough brushes of varying sizes on the table, plus I had some sponges cut up into shapes in case they felt like stamping.
I showed them some patterns/designs on my phone just to get them started, and away they went! Some tunes in the background, lots of giggling and not one paint fight or spill. Yay!
Party food is always my favourite part. Everything I put out was pre-prepared, as I knew I would be busy helping the girls with their Art and Craft, not to mention the clean up (boo!).
A bit of a mix of healthy and unhealthy stuff, but all delicious and easy to make and eat!
Each plate even had its own themed food labels:
- Pop Cones
- Jelly and Fruit Cups
- Trifle Cups
- Fruit Skewers
- Lollies (of course!)
While the girls nibbled and giggled their way through the food, I cleared away the butcher paper that we’d used as placemats, chucked the plastic bowls and stuck the paintbrushes in some water to get set up for the next activity of cupcake decorating.
I had prepared two plain cupcakes for each party guest to decorate. In the centre of the table, the girls could choose from different coloured icing, sprinkles, freckles, sugar balls and chocolate flakes to decorate their cakes.
We had enough little serving ramekins to pop our cake decorations in, but I toyed with a few other ways to do this too.
One idea I liked was to have ice cube trays filled with different goodies, but if you’re like me and don’t have enough ice cube trays for ice let alone for an arts and craft party, another great option is to use muffin cases.
The girls had so much fun decorating their cakes. What started off as delicate minimalism soon turned to maximum sweets-on-cake ratio and there was plenty of product sampling. Of course, I helped with this part too.
Hands up if you knew that fairy floss could be handspun and made into a cake? I had no idea until I came across Under the Cottontree. Such a unique idea!
Trudy did such an amazing job at matching the colours to the decorations, resulting in a beautiful Sweet Celebration Cake complete with extra fairy floss and sprinkles to decorate around it too.
And in case you’re wondering, yes these cakes can be cut with a knife, and yes they can be sent in the mail! Not only did the cake make a beautiful statement on the food table, the girls were suitably impressed. Cake = win.
Who needs to buy party favours when the guests have made their own! Our party favour bags were the perfect size for the cupcakes, although I think only half of the cakes actually made it home.
The tote bags made for great keepsakes for each guest as a permanent record of the day.
That’s it! In all seriousness, there is no way I would have been brave enough to do this before.
But now that I’ve done it, I’m wondering how many more birthdays I can get away with doing the same thing - perhaps with less pink for my boys though.