I think one of the most fun things about a party is the decorations. For Eve's Puppies and Poodles party, we bought a standard "party kit" with balloons, streamers, table cloths, and confetti, but I wanted to have a more personal feel. After looking at various party stores and online for something that would fit both the theme of the party and my daughter's personality, I decided that it would be best to make our own decorations.
Our bill at the craft store came to $32.49. Much less than had I bought the signs, party bags, and high chair decorating kit from a party store. We could have spent even less had I planned better, since I only used about half of the paper that I bought. The final price also includes a hot glue gun and glue sticks, because I couldn't find the one that I already own. I already owned the cricut and cartridges that I used. For lettering, I used the Story Book cartridge, and for graphics, I used the Paper Pups cartridge.
We have a hidden drive, so a sign was needed to indicate where the party is, for the guests who have not yet been to our house. I bought a half sized piece of white poster board and a thin dowel rod. Using the Cricut, I cut out letters in black cardstock to be four inches tall. I hand cut a black arrow and arranged everything onto the posterboard using regular white glue. I then used the Cricut to cut a poodle out of pink card stock to be 3.5 inches tall, and a balloon at the 2 inch size (the balloon's "height" on the cricut is measured from one side of the balloon to the other, not the end of the string to the top of the balloon.) I cut several other dog and birthday related shapes out of black and white cardstock and used white glue to position them onto the poster board. I cut the dowel rod in half and used packing tape to secure a half to both sides of the poster board on the back. I also taped balloons and streamers to the sign, but as you can see in the picture, the wind got the best of them.
For the happy 1st birthday banner, I placed the 8x11 pink cardstock onto the Cricut mat and cut two letters at a time on the "fit to page" setting. For the "1st" portion of the banner, I used card stock that is white with black sparkly polka dots. I cut the 1 with the height of 8 inches and the ST was cut at a height of 2 inches out of the pink card stock. Using a hot glue gun, I attached each letter to a pink ribbon. If I do this again, I would cut each letter at a height of 7, for consistency, and string each letter at the top rather than in the middle. The letters wouldn't stay upright because they were hung from the middle!
For the high chair banner, I used hot pink boa that I measured by wrapping around the high chair tray and cutting off where I needed it to end (such a scientific process!) I cut triangles from hot pink paper that is textured with hot pink polka dots, and from the same black polka dotted paper that was used for the 1 in the happy birthday banner. I used hot glue to secure the triangles to the boa, and then packing tape held the banner onto the tray.
One final touch that many people commented on, was my use of dog dishes for the chip and veggie dips. I got this idea from my sister, who did her son's first birthday party in a dog theme three years ago. I was very lucky and happened to find pink plastic dog dishes with pink paw prints on them, in the wal mart dollar section. I scrubbed them with hot water and soap, and then used them to hold the salsa, hummus, and chip dip. Note: they were NEVER used for dog food!!!!
Making our own decorations gave the party a nice personal edge. It was fun and very cost effective. I definitely think that I will be using more homemade decorations for future birthday parties!