Those of you who’ve been readers for a while know that I like to do it up with theme parties for the kids on their birthdays. Well, at least Princess gets a big to do. Buddy has his birthday in the middle of the summer, so the poor kiddo usually gets a standard backyard BBQ with a theme cake.
Being the Frugal gal I am, I hate spending a ton of money on a party. There are folks out there who spend 100’s of dollars on kids birthday parties. That would NOT be me.
In the past Princess has had a Princess Party (or Two!) and a Hannah Montana Birthday party. When I asked her this year what kind of party she wanted for her 8th Birthday, she decided on a “Craft” party.
This turned out to be a fun and fairly easy party to run. I don’t have a lot of table space at my house for doing crafts, so I asked at my church if they let folks use the hall for parties. Turns out they do, and it was even free of charge!
When I looked around at the Dollar Store for inexpensive craft items, I happened upon a brand new shipment of white cotton kids T-shirts for, of course, a dollar each. That decided me-we were going to tie dye shirts! I bought 9 t-shirts, picked up 2 big bags of rubberbands there, some quart plastic zippered baggies to put the finished products in, and a disposable plastic painting tarp to protect the floor. Total cost: $13
When I told my best girlfriend about the tie dye, she dug around in her basement and found all the tie dye supplies she had left over from a girlscout project-6 squirt bottles, 2 funnels and even 3 packages of RIT dye. They were all mine for the taking. Total cost: $0
Our dollar store also had a brand new display of beading and jewelery supplies, so I decided another good craft would be to make beaded bracelets. I bought memory wire, 7 bags of beads and some crimp beads. We rounded up all the miscellaneous beads we had hanging around the house as well. I also bought a package of super glue-I figured if I couldn’t make the crimp beads work I could just glue a bead on each end of the wire to keep everything on. Turns out I know myself pretty well-we wound up using the super glue! Total cost: $9
While cruising through the local craft store (always a dangerous proposition-too much fun stuff in there!) I found a big set of those paintable sun catchers-12 for $4. Kids always seem to love those, so I picked them up as well. Total cost: $4
I decided to make decorating the cake into one of the “crafts” for the party. I bought 2 boxes of strawberry cake mix for $.89, and a bag of powdered sugar to make my icing recipe. I bought a 4pk of those little tube icing writers and a package of red licorice. I have plenty of sprinkles, marshmallows etc in my cupboard for the additional decorations. I also bought 3 boxes of icecream-there is plenty left over for the family, but I’ll add in the whole cost here. Total cost: $13
To decorate I bought a blue plastic table drape, napkins, plates & cups at the dollar store. I forgot to buy my streamers there and had to purchase them at Walmart. Total cost: $6
Lastly I made some quick invitations on the computer. They aren’t particularly craft themed, but they are blue, which is her new favorite color. On the invitation I stressed that we would be using dye and the girls were to wear clothing that could be permanently stained. I also put my usual disclaimer on there: “Please keep your gifts for Princess to $10 or less”. Total Cost: $0
The party itself was a big success. I set up the church hall before everyone arrived-one area had all the tie dye stuff, then I had 5 eight foot tables, one set up as a bracelet making station, another covered with paper for the suncatcher painting, a general craft table (with supplies from home) a cake decorating table and then the table all set for them to eat at. As kids arrived they could dive in to whatever craft (other than tie dye or cake) that looked good to them.
For the bracelet table I precut the memory wire, used a pair of needlenose pliers to bend a loop on one end, then used the superglue to glue a bead on it. The beads were placed in a muffin tin for easy access, and I used trays from the church kitchen for the girls to work on-that way if some beads were spilled they didn’t go everywhere. When the girls were done they left the bracelets and I came along and bent the end & glued a bead on.
The tie dye was as much mess, and fun, as expected:
It turns out that RIT Dye isn’t the best thing for tie dying with, the colors are likely to fade, but heck, the price was right, the girls had fun and they will probably grow out of the shirts before it’s a major problem. Each shirt was placed wet in a baggie and sent home with a direction sheet stapled to it telling their parents to let it sit overnight, rinse in cold water then wash.
Cake decorating was another big hit. I froze the 2 sheet cakes I baked, then cut them into pieces and frosted them. Each girl decorated her own piece and then they were all placed together to make the cake. It may not have been what I would have designed, but they all thought it was beautiful! Added bonus-I sent the remainder of their own piece home with them. Less tempting cake at my house!
Princess was thrilled with her party.
I didn’t do any kind of traditional goody bag-each girl went home with a t-shirt, the remainder of their cake, a bracelet, a suncatcher and any other art they had created at the general art table.
It was a good day.
For more birthday fun, check out our episode of Frugal Coast2Coast about Birthdays on a Budget, or these articles!
Birthday Fun and Games
Throwing a Birthday Party Fit for a Princess
Hosting a Frugal Hannah Montana Birthday Party
Tutorial: Making a Barbie Cake Part I & Making a Barbie Cake Part II
Tutorial: How to Make a Lego Cake
Tutorial: Just Hit It (Making a Pinata)
Birthday Decorating on a Dime
Tutorial: Making Birthday Invitations in Word
It’s the Thought that Counts: Birthday Present Philosophy
Keeping a Gift Box
Keeping a Card Box