This birthday party is all my childhood dreams come true! I was obsessed with all things art as a kid (and still am!), so when the opportunity came up to design a kid's birthday party specifically for the cover story of an event magazine in Atlanta, I knew I had to design the party I would have loved as a kid! The best part? The caterer we worked with for the party had a niece, Bashia, who really was having a birthday that weekend so I got to see her and all her family and friends enjoy this whimsical magical art birthday party.
Read on for the secrets behind this party so you can bring your own little artist's birthday party dreams to life!
1. DIY Painted Cake Activity:
Yes this is a read edible cake with edible paint! Isn't that a fun activity? Each kid got to take theirs home as part of their favor. I just bought some edible paints and made a palette up for each kid before they arrived. The kids loved it; it was by far the biggest hit of the party. If you didn't want to ask the baker to make these palettes of edible paint, it would be really simple to use edible paint makers on the cakes instead! Then you would have DIY Doodle Cake (like the doodle bear, ya know?)
2. Find the Perfect Stationary
There are so many resources for birthday party stationary. Mine was custom designed to match the party by super talented Jamie Jimenez. She normally does wedding stationary but was happy to do this project! If you don't want to go the custom route, check out all these stationary options for an art birthday party Etsy! You can often buy a whole set that includes stationary for the whole party; things like invites, thank you's, water bottle wrapper, cupcake toppers, signs, etc. You can also often have them customized with your child's age and name and it's super affordable. One of my favorite designers that does this is Tomkat Studio.
Give the gift of art with your favors by sending each guest home with their own set of brushes and artists notebook. We had our's printed with my favorite saying: "Every child is an artist." by Pablo Picasso. But these handmade crayon wallet with notebook would be so cute, as would this MoMa Make Mistakes sketchbook!
4. DIY Painted Vase:
Get some fresh flowers (my faves are from the Farmer's Market, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods) in the colors of the party, and put them in a tall vase. Then take a sheet of watercolor paper (about $4 from any art supply store) and make some abstract doodles on it the colors of the party with watercolor paint. I'm sure your little artist would love to help with this part! After it dries, cut it to be teh same height as your vase but about 1" taller, then wrap it in a cylinder and secure with tape. Slip the vase down inside and now you have your own custom vase! (Pictured beside the flowers and vase is watermelon gazpacho shooters- yum! perfect for this party!)
5. DIY Painted Votives
Just buy some normal glass cheap votives and use watered down acrylic paint to decorate! I know pictured here are globe votives, but just use the normal ones because the smell of paint burning was a little alarming. I don’t think anything would have caught fire, but next time I would recommend using the normal votives just in case. These sure looked cute though! The normal glass votives are for sale at any store like Target, Michael's, etc. Here's a gorgeous pic of what painted normal votives would look like so you know they are just as cute.
6. DIY Popsicle Activity
What a fun snack that is also an activity for the kids. Kids love to help cook and it's hard to mess up popsicles when all the flavors you lay out pretty much go together. We put out bowls of finely chopped fruits and some fun things like chopped mint and then water and lemonade as their liquid options to fill it with. After they make their Popsicle use the Zoku Quick Pop Maker and they will be ready to enjoy in 7 minutes.
7. Paintbrush Decor!
Don't be afraid to add real art supplies to your decor. I set out mason jars throughout the party filled with used paintbrushes and they were so beautiful and interesting next to the fancy vases of flowers.
8. Rice Krispy Treat Paintbrushes
Make traditional rice Krispy treats, cut into squares, dip into melted chocolate (we used traditional milk chocolate, but you could also do colored chocolate that is for sale at Michael's or any cake decorating store), and insert wood handles.
9. DIY Canvas Back Drop:
This was ridiculously easy. I just bought two giant canvases from Michael's Arts & Crafts (about $20 each), and used acrylic paint to make this abstract backdrop. It's just a backdrop, not an actual painting, so it can be very simple and doesn't have to be a masterpiece. I would wet a large brush, dip in watered down acrylic paint. and just do like a 3-5" swipe with it and all the drips run down the canvas. I did this in various shades of the party colors and would randomly do swipes all over the canvas. You could do whatever your party’s colors are, and wouldn't have do the varying shades like I did. I only did that because for this whole party I wanted to go with more of a watercolor look. I’m sure this is another project your little artist would love to help make!
10. How to Get the Money Shot at Your Party:
I promise you can set up a display just like this! Choose one wall that will hold all your tables of the cake, snacks, activities, and favors. I recommend picking your stationary first, then you know what colors and design elements to carry throughout the rest of the party. The key elements I did for our birthday party display were:
- made the Cake the focal point!
- 2 normal card tables with white table clothes
- fresh flowers in the colors of the party
- I couldn't find a tablecloth in the colors of the party so I just used a bed sheet I happen to come across. No one will ever know! You could also look at a fabric store for the right colors and patterns.
- hang cheesecloth behind the cake (this also blocks out anything unsightly you don’t want in the background of all your photos)
- Put all food in the same color dishes so they don't clash with each other or the party. We just used white so the focus would be on the cute food and cute watercolor elements!
Photography by Charlton Inije
Wasn't that so fun? What other party ideas for kids would you like to know how to make? Let us know your thoughts by following us on Instagram and tagging @CampMakery!