birthday parties … how to DIY

Posted by Karen Lee on

Ne hao ma (cantonese for how are you)!

I’m sure most of you would agree that a child’s first birthday party can bring with it high expectations… usually from yourself and maybe from some of your close family and friends!

Like most mothers, when my son’s first birthday was approaching I knew that we had to throw the best first birthday party he could ever imagine … even though he wouldn’t remember it and nor enjoy it.

In today’s post I’m going to share with you Jack’s monster truck party and how you can do it yourself.

I started preparing four months in advance but you don’t need that long, one month is sufficient to put on a great party.

Check out Jack’s monster truck party here: 


Step 1. Setting the theme

Well I must admit that I didn’t come up with this one.  My ideas got shelved for a show-stopping masculine theme conjured up by his daddy. Nonetheless, I was excited to run with the idea when I found Monster Truck Mater.

Setting the theme is important as it will make the whole DIY party process alot easier. A theme can be as simple as a colour, or a shape, an animal, or a cartoon character.  Anything you (or your little one) wants really. And if you’re stuck ask hubby or your other children for ideas!

Step 2. Brainstorm

Once the theme is set, brainstorm some ideas around your theme. Go crazy and let loose. Grab a big sheet of paper and don’t be afraid to jot down the most far-fetched ideas as sometimes they can lead to the best ones.

For me, a big monster truck in the yard for the kids to climb in would’ve been fantastic but we settled for small ones the kids could play with.

Step 3. Reign in your ideas and decide what is achievable

Now circle the ideas that are definite keepers and then mark differently those that are nice-to-haves, then cross out the ones that just won’t work or don’t cut the mustard next to the other great ideas you have come up with.

Look at your keepers and nice-to-haves and decide how you will achieve them – DIY, outsource or ask for help.

We commissioned a cake decorator to create the cake that I designed.  The thought of learning a new skill wasn’t too appealing as I was going to DIY everything else for the party. I created the happy birthday bunting, various signs, food labels, party favours and milk bottles.

Step 4. Set out a timeline and stick to it

Decide what you will achieve when so that you are not running around at the last minute. If you are anything like me, that will happen anyway so why make it worse!

Step 5. Walk through

At some point, do a walk through like you are a guest attending the party.  Imagine what they will see. Signs and balloons at the front gate or door, directional signage if it’s hard to navigate where the party is, is there anything that needs to be covered up or put away, is the food easily accessible, will people find the toilet etc.

Monster Jam fact sheets on the wall in the toilet kept our guests amused whilst they did their thing! We put up a photo display of Jack with each of our guests which was a real hit.

Step 6. Final check a week before

Double check everything is ready and taken care of. Don’t forget things like trestle tables, chairs, wet weather option, enough toilet paper and hand soap. If you are particular like me, even setup everything to make sure it fits, suits or serves it’s intended purpose.

I ran out of time in the morning so my mediocre table setup was a massive letdown for me after seeing so many wonderful setups online. Plus At the last minute, I decided to do a cake smash. Being rushed I didn’t think it through and it wasn’t tied in with the theme which I could have done better with the hindsight.

Step 7. On the day

Breathe, don’t panic and accept help when it is offered. And don’t forget to ask for it too! Afterall, you should be able to enjoy some of the party as well!

Step 8. After the party

Relax and smile that even though he or she didn’t enjoy the day because there were so many people fussing over them, you put on the best party a one year old could ever expect!

And if you think you let the team down, there’s always another birthday in a year!

If you’re planning a party take a browse through our online boutique for inspiration or simply allow me to create your complete personalised party theme package.

Jo tau (cantonese for good night)

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