Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pirate Birthday Party {part one}

Captain Jack

Well. I did it. After all the research, cleaning, shopping, borrowing, building and baking, it's finally over. What's over, you ask?

The big 0h - four. Captain Jack's Pirate themed 4th birthday party. It was SO much fun. I am still recovering. For this party especially, you'll probably notice a reoccurring theme: as much as possible, use what you can find at home.

Want to hear how I did it? There is SOOO much to talk about! Let's start with:


A couple years back, I designed an invitation for a school fundraiser with a Pirate theme. Going back to those old files, I was able to reuse some of the artwork. The background "parchment paper" is actually an inexpensive stock photo, and the compass, skull and crossbones, and ship were adapted from clip art that I had found online.

I used my trusty (but cheep) color ink jet to print double sided, and mailed them off in envelopes I found buried deep in the closet.

I did run out of ink getting ready for this party, and I know ink is not cheep. While out purchasing more, my local Office Max told me about their refill policy. You can have your own cartridge refilled, or you can buy someone else's refilled cartridge for only $10. You heard it, not $40 or $50, but $10. And, it worked fine.

These invites are much more complex than the ones I usually design. If I had to do it all over again? I might run out to the scrapbooking store, purchase 12x12 sheets of pirate-y paper, and cut to fit envelopes I already owned. Using my trusty printer, I would print some wording out on vellum and tape the vellum on top of the pirate themed scrapbooking paper - MUCH easier! Don't you think?


love how easy this pirate pennant banner was!

I began with the pennant banner. I knew these could be done quickly, but have the most impact. Keeping in mind that I did not want to use my ink jet printer to print fields of black (that is what will use up the ink in a hurry!), I chose to design the different components using mostly borders of reds and blacks, printing on yellow cardstock for some, and printing on regular white paper for the rest. I did mount some of the pennants to black construction paper - that I already had around the house.

I punched two holes in each pennant, and used household twine to hang above doors and windows and over the kitchen island.

every living room should have a giant pirate flag to complete the decor

During a trip to the fabric store with my aunt for another project, I found some black and white fabric remnants on the sale rack. I spent a total of just over $4 for the pirate flag fabric. Enlarging my skull and crossbones image, I cut it out of the white felt, and glued it to the black fabric. Again, using the glue, I folded over the top edge and inserted my twine (yup, straight out of the junk drawer) through it, to hang on the wall.

I ALWAYS use the wall mounting tapes and hooks from 3M, I can count on them to not rip the drywall or damage the ceiling.

no, I didn't make the popcorn, who has time for that what with all the decorating and stuff

No you are not imagining it, you have seen my popcorn bar before. It was so popular at my daughter's birthday party (and I already have the jars), that I just added new labels to match the pirate pennant banners.

paper chains, gold coins and pirates

I also covered every horizontal surface with plain old fashioned paper chains. These were 1 in. by 6 in. black construction paper secured with a single staple. At the end of a section, I taped on an under inflated black balloon, to represent the "ball" portion of a "ball and chain".

I was also able to put to use the MONSTER of a toy Pirate Ship that my son got for Christmas, 2 years ago. It made the perfect addition to the decor.

Stay tuned, we will cover the crafting, adventures and cake in part two!


Kendra said...

We must have similar tastes in kids parties! First Nancy Drew, now pirates. I'm planning a pirate bash for my son in Sept. I can't wait for the rest of your inspiration!

Natalie said...

love the ball & chain! Very clever:)

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

thanks ladies!

you know how i love a birthday party ;)

Cher said...

soooooo cute!

B said...

Are you serious? That makes me want a pirate party!

Julie Gallagher said...

Absolutely pure genius! You are an inspiration to us all!

Robbie S.Redmon, LPC said...

Hi, just stopping by from SITS. I hope you will stop by and read excerpts for my book, Abby's Between Girlfriends: A Sharing of Marital Secrets.

Kristin said...

OMG, what fabulous ideas! We're planning a pirate themed first bday for my little dude in July. You've totally inspired me! Hi from SITS!

Lo said...

That's amazing! ARGH!!!! Visiting from SITS. Having a giveaway on my blog. Stop by and enter :-)

amber {daisy chain} said...

soooo good!! I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes all out for the kiddo parties.

Jess said...

So cute! I love this for a little boy birthday party!

Robin said...

Oh how fun.....
That will be one birthday long remembered.

Have a beautiful day.

Libbie said...

Adorable!!! I love all your details! I know all the time & effort they take! You sure made it a special day!