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Cloud Photo Birthday Banner

DIY CLoud Photo Birthday Banner

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

My daughter turning one was a momentous time for this first time momma. My little miss did just this a few weeks ago. We celebrated by throwing her a magical unicorn birthday party. I wanted to commemorate her first trip around the sun, so I made a cloud photo birthday banner. This birthday banner is a great way  to reflect back on the first year of life you and your tiny human shared. So let’s get to crafting.

Materials:

Cricut (optional)
white card stock
metallic gold sharpie
mini white clothespins
jute twine
glue dots
monthly photos of baby (optional; not needed if you want to make a cloud banner)

Cloud Photo Birthday Banner Instructions:

First things first! Make sure you have a picture of your little love for each month plus a newborn photo!

I used my Cricut for this project, but you could cut the clouds out by hand if you do not have a Cricut I programmed the Cricut to cut out 13 clouds on white card stock (I included a newborn photo). I sized the clouds to be 6 inches by 4 inches.

I used the cloud image from the Cricut Design Space™. The name of the file is April Showers Cloud #M3A253.  Each cloud is 2 layers of paper. You can sign up at Cricut.com.

cloud pieces cut

They have a great promo going on for joining the design space right now. It is based on which level of membership you choose. Joining the standard program, which is what I use, gives you 10%  off on all orders from Cricut.com and within the Cricut Design Space™. If you feel like trying out the premium membership you will receive 50% off all digital orders on Cricut.com and within the Cricut Design Space™.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a Cricut, or you just want to do it old school with scissors, I have made a pattern that you can use. My cloud pattern is slightly different from the one you get with Cricut Design Space. I didn’t want to infringe on any copy right issues. My original cloud will still give you the same feel to your design.

To access the cloud pattern please subscribe to the email list. All subscribers have access to the secret layer! This is where all my member only freebies are kept. Make sure you check back often. Many new freebies are in the works!



 

I glued the two layers together, with the smaller layer on top. I just used a plain old glue stick for this.

cloud pieces cut overlapped

Next, I took a metallic gold sharpie and traced all around the cloud. This gave such a sharp look to the clouds. And added just the pop I needed. The party theme was unicorns and I used rainbow colors with gold and gold glitter as accents!

cloud piece outlined in gold overlapped

Using the same marker, I wrote months on each cloud: newborn, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months….. and so on. You can use a stencil if you don’t like your handwriting. I just free-handed the lettering. I did use a ruler to keep my lines straight as I wrote the months.

complete cloud for banner

I made sure to let all the marker dry to prevent smudging. Then, using glue dots, I attached the photos to the bottom of the clouds. I have a new found love for glue dots! They held the photos in place, and when the party was over, it was easy to remove the photos without any damage! LOVE IT!

Right when I was getting ready to make this project I had just signed up for Shutterfly to get my prints. Did you know Shutterfly now prints 4×4 inch photos? I love square photos, so, of course that is what I used! Also, if you download their app, you can get unlimited free prints. You do have to pay for shipping, but it was very reasonable.

To string up my cloud photo birthday banner I used jute twine and little white clothes pins that I picked up at Michael’s, but these are similar.

finished cloud piece with photo

The best part about this method was when I was done with the banner, I just un-clipped the clouds from the twine. Now, I am able to reuse the twine for whatever creative masterpiece I come up with next!

I love how chic this cloud photo birthday banner turned out. It really looks high end and also doesn’t distract from all the pictures of my daughter, which is the real focus after all! 🙂

finished cloud month garland

Amazing how something so simple is so cool! A hint of creativity, some paper, markers, and scissors (or a Cricut) and you have an awesome cloud garland. I also love that this little craft whips up in less than a half hour!

If you were wondering, I personally have the Cricut Explore One™ with the Wireless Adapter and I absolutely love it. Seriously, I had been swooning over this thing for over a year. I finally bit the bullet and purchased my Cricut right before my daughter’s birthday, which was this past February. I justified it by telling the Mr. I would be needing it to make all of the party decor! Hehehe! I have gotten so much use out of this little guy; it makes my paper crafting so much easier! No more scissor hand cramps! Wahoo.

In just this short time, I have made two happy birthday banners, a one banner for my daughter’s high chair, tons of unicorn cutouts to decorate the house and favor bags for the epic unicorn birthday party and an iron on transfer for my daughter’s onsie! Seriously, this thing rocks. I can’t wait to use it even more!

More Creative Ideas to Jazz Up Your Cloud Photo Banner

In case you are looking to add a little more flair or personal touch to your cloud banner, I thought up a few other variations that would be fun to try!

These clouds would be great with happy birthday stenciled on them!

Another fun idea is to string the clouds vertically, one below the next from a doorway as an entry decor.

Or just string the clouds vertically to add a little fluffy decor to your space.

You could even change it up by varying the type of paper you use to cut the clouds out. These would look super cute and chic with different patterned scrap book paper. Ohhh…and attach little raindrops dangling from the clouds!

I would love to see if you use this idea to create your own photo birthday banner. Tell me how you would decorate using these little clouds? I love to hear your creativity! Happy Crafting!

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DIY Cake Smash Backdrop: Quick, Easy, & Cheap

cake smash backdrop party decor

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Little miss just turned one and I had to throw her an EPIC party. I choose a unicorn theme and it was fabulous. All my mommy friends out there told me that the thing to do on my little’s first birthday is a cake smash. I loved that idea. It’s messy…….it’s crafty……it sounds perfect for me! Immediately I set to work to figure out the perfect cake smash backdrop to coordinate with my theme. In no time flat I came up with a stellar idea and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!

It’s too bad that the actual cake smashing was a flop.  It was hard on this type-A momma, but I am learning to roll with the punches and unpredictability of kids more and more each day. 🙂 My little lady was overtired, had just woke up from a nap (yes she slept in the middle of her party) and wanted nothing to do with her cake! And definitely was not eating it! So instead she planted one knee in the cake momma had so painstakingly crafted for her to eat and destroy, as she climbed into my arms for cuddles, milk, and another nap. I guess technically she smashed it…just not exactly how I had envisioned the execution of it.

Ahhh, kids. I love my little miss and her HUGE personality. She wanted nothing to do with any of those cake festivities…but she sure did enjoy a unicorn cookie on a stick later! 🙂 All and all, she had a fabulous birthday and tons of fun, with or without a successful cake smash. 🙂 Now, let’s get you info on how to setup an easy cake smash backdrop for your little one’s birthday or next party!

Instructions for an Easy Cake Smash Backdrop:

Embracing my unicorn theme, I decorated the party using gold glitter and rainbow colors. I happened to be perusing Amazon when I came across this awesome gold fringe. Once I saw that, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I ordered two that instant and started crafting the rest of the cake smash backdrop while waiting for delivery.  P.S. I love prime shipping!

When the gold fringe arrived I taped it to the wall where we will cake smash. Previously, I made tissue paper tassel garland, perhaps another tutorial coming soon, in rainbow colors. I strung one up high (in case adults used the background for their own pictures prior to the cake smash) and another about one foot off the ground. I wanted it to be in the background of the photos when little miss was smashing away at her cake! Ahh… I had dreams….

cake smash backdrop party decor

Next, and this part is sheer genius, I took one  rainbow table cloth (Spritz for Target) and folded it in half twice and taped it to the floor. It made a festive little party cake smashing area and cleanup will be a breeze. See what I mean, sheer genius! ( I hate cleaning, so anything to simplify that is always a plus in my book!) This will be great for you momma’s who have kids that do smash up their cake 🙂 Here is a great close up of the floor with the table cloth taped down.

cake smash backdrop party decor

Those three simple elements, the gold fringe, tissue paper garland, and plastic tablecloth made for a beautiful festive scene to photograph little miss. I hope that you are able to use this tutorial for an easy to pull together  DIY cake smash backdrop. I would love to see how yours turns out.

I will leave you with this real life moment:  the epic shots of our cake smash fail….now had there actually been cake smashing, the tablecloth would have made cleanup a breeze. Oh well, my princess looked cute even though she was mad! If you love that unicorn horn party hat she is sporting, check out the tutorial here! They made awesome party favors and added so much fun to our party environment!

cake smash backdrop party decor

Yes, that is mommy trying to coerce cake smashing…I was not successful…had she smashed the cake I would have shot photos from another angle, so just the background would have been in the photo….but at this point and time this was the furthest momma could get away from lil miss! The full on tantrum and screaming ensued immediately after this photo was snapped.:)

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Make sure to let me know how your backdrops turn out. I would love to see other backdrop ideas too! I am always looking for great ways to capture the memories we are making! Can’t wait to see what everyone shares!

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The Easiest No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt Ever!

rainbow ruffled table skirt

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Well, as I begin to wind down my posts on the epic unicorn themed first birthday party I threw for my daughter last month, I have just a few more DIY crafts that I want to share. You never know when they will come in handy for your party planning! A list of other unicorn theme party ideas is included at the bottom of your post for your convenience.

Today’s tutorial covers how to make an easy no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt. Now, you could always change the colors up and do a monochromatic ruffled table skirt, or ombre would be super pretty too! I did rainbow because our party theme was rainbows and unicorns. Switch it up however you need to incorporate it into your theme.

Materials for No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt

One of the really nice things about this project is you do not need a ton of materials. You will need a plastic table skirt and plastic table clothes in the colors of your choice. You only need one table cloth for each color. We will cut them into strips for ruffling.

I recommend that you use at least 4 different colors, otherwise your ruffles will be super big on your table skirt. If you are doing a monochromatic ruffled table skirt than you will want to purchase a few of the same table cloth. You will also need masking tape and scissors. That’s it!

I bought my table skirt on Amazon and all the plastic table clothes at the dollar store. I used a total of six colors: pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt Directions

Start by opening up all of your table cloths. You do not want to unfold them width wise, only lengthwise. Take your scissors and cut through all the layers of the table cloth on both sides. This will result in strips of table cloth that are ready to be ruffled.

Once all of your table cloth strips are cut it’s time to get your ruffle on!

Start by laying out your table skirt on the floor. We are going to work from the bottom up.

Using the masking tape, tape the table cloth strip you previously cut to the table skirt. You should start about 4 inches above the bottom of the table skirt. Try to keep the ruffle you are taping consistently 4 inches above the bottom of the table skirt the entire way across as you go.

As you are taping the table cloth strip you want to make sure you are folding the strip a little bit in clusters. Basically you are making pleats. So you take a small section, about 6 inches of the table cloth strip, and crumple/fold/ruffle it so that it is now about 3 inches. Tape this section to the table skirt. Keep repeating this over and over until you make it all the way across the table skirt.

As you go across the table skirt you will need multiple strips to make one entire row. Just pick up the new strip and continue to ruffle as detailed above in the same manner. Make sure you start where the last strip ended. No one will notice the seams. That is the beauty of the ruffles. It all blends in together.

Now we are ready for the second row! Determining the height placement for the next row of ruffles will be dependent on how many total ruffle layers you are using. The key is to make sure that some of the previous layer is still visible. Since I was using lots of colors I only had about 3 inches of the previous layer peeking out. If I were doing a monochromatic ruffled table skirt, say all white, I would probably only do three or four rows, and would space the ruffles out further.

To space the ruffles out further you move higher up on the table skirt base.

Continue in this fashion until you have covered your table skirt in ruffles. Your last ruffle with go across the top of the table skirt base. It should look something like this.

Keep in mind, this is not a hard project, but it is tedious. I was able to do this entire table skirt in one evening. Mind you, my back ached something fierce the next morning. Oh and you must, and I am totally serious about this…YOU MUST have a good movie to watch!

This table skirt was sized to  fit all the way around a 6 foot folding table. So it was pretty enormous. And since I used so many ruffle colors it took some time. All and all, it took me 3 hours of ruffling. However I am absolutely delighted with how this skirt turned out! It was well worth my effort.

Helpful Tidbits

A few things I learned along the way that you should  know about this method for making a no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt.

The top is unfinished. I always make sure I use a table cloth when I have a table skirt. The table cloth will easily hide the ugly masking tape edge. If you were not going to use a table cloth, you could hot glue a coordinating ribbon to cover up the masking tape to finish off the top of the table skirt.

The particular table skirt I used as a base, had adhesive around the top to stick it to the table. I used the built in adhesive, but I also taped the entire table skirt to the table using masking tape. I taped the masking tape at the top of the skirt to the table directly. This skirt is a little bit heavy with all those beauteous ruffled layers, so I wanted to make sure nothing was going to slip and fall. Also, when the included adhesive is no longer sticky the masking tape works just fine on its own!

I also recommend using a white table skirt for the base of your no sew rainbow ruffled table skirt. This will make sure your colors remain pure and crisp and are not muddied by the backdrop. Now, the one time I would steer away from using white, would be if you were making a black ruffled table cloth. Then I would recommend a black table skirt base.

This table skirt is reusable. Just peel the masking tape off gently from the table and fold it over the top of the table skirt. This will give a sturdier masking tape area to adhere your table skirt to its next table!

Styling the No Sew Rainbow Ruffled Table Skirt

For my party I wanted the table top to look as though it was a puffy, soft cloud. I used a white felt Christmas tree skirt I found at the dollar store after the holidays to be the initial table cover. Then, I used fiber fill and put tufts of it around all my dessert trays and platters to give it that beautiful cloud look! Oh I am so in love!

The one thing I forgot to do…take a picture that showed the whole tabletop and the ruffled skirt. DOH! 🙁  So much was going on during the party, I don’t know how I forgot to take a picture of that…but I sure did. Then, one of my wonderful friends helped clean up. and this girl is never turning down cleaning help! That’s for sure! So I wasn’t able to take a picture after the party either.

The table skirt was beautiful in all its ruffled glory. I guarantee it. I did get a few pictures showing the table top with the top ruffle of the skirt.

After the party, to make it up to you guys, I took the table skirt and attached it to our kitchen table so I could get a picture to give the overall feel of how the ruffling and layers turned out.

Making a ruffled table skirt really isn’t hard at all. It takes a little bit of time, a lot of masking tape, and some plastic table cloths. I love projects that provide a huge impact and can be made relatively quickly and easy. Those are the best and this is definitely one in that category. A rainbow ruffled table skirt is sure to stand out in your party decor! I can’t wait to see how yours turns out or would love to hear any advice or tips you have if you have made one of these types of table skirts before. And keep those questions coming too!

Some other coordinating ideas for a unicorn party that may interest you include Unicorn Cupcakes, DIY Unicorn Cake , Unicorn Horn Headbands, and an Easy Cake Smash Backdrop. Also, make sure to check out the party planning archive for even MORE, yes there are more, tutorials on additional unicorn party ideas!

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The Best DIY Unicorn Horn Headband Tutorial Around

DIY Unicorn Felt Party Horn

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog. I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Are you throwing a unicorn birthday party? Or maybe a unicorn themed baby shower?  Well, the one thing your party has to have are these DIY unicorn horns! Kids and adults will love wearing them. I know, since they were an epic success at my little lady’s first birthday party. They add just the perfect amount of whimsy to the party for adults and kids alike!

This project came together way faster than I thought, which is always a plus and not usually the case in my world. 🙂 So, without further ado, I give you my super easy, super quick plush unicorn horn tutorial!

First, I purchased a package of felt pieces that were 6×6 inches. I got a rainbow assortment pack, because the party is rainbow themed. Pick whatever colors will suit your party or costume needs. The key to using a 6×6 pre-cut piece of felt is it makes  the perfect size horn. If you wanted to make mini horns I would suggest using 4×4 inches. Those can also be  purchased pre-cut!

Start by taking one felt square and fold it in half.

Comprehensive DIY Unicorn Horn Headband Tutorial

Now, you want to start at the top of the felt near the fold (about 1/4 in away from the fold)  and cut toward the bottom outer corner of the felt.  Make sure to save the scraps (on the right in the picture below) as we will need those later to finish up the project.

If you were to unfold your felt now it would be a triangle (with a flat top) and look like this:

The triangle is great, but to get the perfect look for our horn, we want to round those bottom edges. So, fold your felt back in half and cut a slight curve  on the outside edge of the felt. It should look something like this:

OK, so that wasn’t hard at all, but if you want to make it really easy, sign up for my newsletter and you will receive the PDF pattern for the unicorn horn headband FREE! The pattern is scaled for using felt pieces that are 6 inches by 6 inches. You can always scale the pattern when you print to fit the size you need.



If you do opt to use the PDF pattern, all you do is cut the pattern out and then trace it onto your felt. Don’t worry if your lines are there after you cut it. You won’t see them  once the unicorn horn is finished 🙂

Alright, now the fun really starts. Get out that hot glue gun and glue the two long edges together. Be careful!! I may have burned my fingertips off doing this step! I find it easiest to start at the top of the horn and work my way down as I glue it. That way I get a nice point on top. See how nice and pointy it is? Perfect! What a beautiful unicorn horn this will be!

 

I made these horns in assembly line mode, so here is a shot of all of my hollow unicorn horns after the glue step!

Next, take some fiber fill, I picked mine up at Walmart, and stuff each horn. This is no time to be stingy! Use lots of stuffing! Lots and lots! And then add a little bit more 🙂

OK, now do you remember those scraps I told you to save? Well, its time to use them! Take a piece of felt the same color as your horn and cut out a circle-ish shape (doesn’t need to be perfect) the same size as the opening of the bottom of the unicorn horn. Set your circle aside for now.

unicorn horn

The horns are now ready for a little sculpting.  I used embroidery floss (mainly because I already had it at home), but you could use any heavy duty thread you would like. I, personally, like to use contrasting thread, but you can also match your thread to your horn if you prefer it to blend in.

Start at the top of the unicorn horn and work your way down wrapping the thread around the horn at an angle. I secured the thread by making a stitch at the glue seam each time around the horn.  Keep tension on the thread to help define the horn spirals. The more tension, the more obvious the definition of the horn.

Once you reach the bottom of the horn, adjust the tension of your thread along the horn to the desired tightness. Make a stitch at the very edge of the horn and start sewing the felt circle to the bottom of the unicorn horn. You will have to squish in the stuffing as you are doing this step. Sew around the bottom of the entire horn and tie off your thread.

You could stop here, but I thought these horns needed a little more pizzazz. So, I decided to use some colored feathers that I picked up from Michael’s to give each unicorn horn a little tuft of hair. I just hot glued the feather to the bottom of the horn. Easy peasie!

The final step is to cut a piece of elastic the desired length. I hot glue the two ends together and then hot glue that to the bottom of the horn!

Here is a great reference chart for the length of elastic needed for a headband based on age.

Now we have some beautiful unicorn horn party hats! I can’t wait till party day to see everyone wearing these. I think they could not have come out cuter!

unicorn horn

Ok, so to make this project super simple here is one more chance to sign up to gain access to the unicorn horn  pattern. You will also gain access to all my freebies in the Secret Liar. New freebies will be added monthly, and sometimes even more often than that. Make sure you check the Secret Liar often for new member only exclusive content!



For the birthday girl, I did add a little extra to her horn. I purchased this floral headband on amazon. I just hot glued the horn into the middle of this headband and my little miss had a rainbow crown of roses to wear with her unicorn horn.

unicorn horn

 It was the cutest little unicorn horn headband ever. Just like her!

Unicorn horn headband party supply DIY tutorial

 

Make sure to share with me if you tackle this project! I would love to see how your unicorn headbands turned out!

I am getting my party on by linking up here!

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Unicorn Cupcakes Done Right – Chic & Easy

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

*It is very possible and highly probably that this post contains affiliate links. When you use them, you are supporting this blog (at no cost to you). I really appreciate your support! Thank you! My full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here. I have a privacy policy, too!

Are you looking for unicorn cupcake ideas? Well, I have one I would love to share with you! My daughter, little miss, just turned one year old and I threw her an epic unicorn theme birthday party! If you hang around the blog long, you will learn, when I say epic, I MEAN EPIC!

This post is one in my DIY series “How to Throw Your Own Epic Unicorn Party”. Oh, and since it’s mainly DIY it is so much more economical than purchasing everything! For today’s edition we are going to chat about making unicorn cupcakes. YUM! YUM!

Prepare Fondant Cupcake Accents

Before we do any baking, you are going to want to jump over to my DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial and follow the instructions to make unicorn horns  and ears for your cupcakes. Remember to make one horn for every cupcake. Also, instead of a skewer, use a toothpick to support the unicorn horn. You will see what I am talking about when you look at the tutorial. The fondant horn preparation can be done a few days in advance to when you make your cupcakes. In fact, I recommend that!

Decorating Your Unicorn Cupcakes

On cupcake day, the first thing you need to do is whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes. A family recipe, straight outta the box…it doesn’t matter. However you roll to get cupcakes baked, just do it! Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled we  start the fun part: decorating.

Oh, and here is today’s random fact. See that pig cutting board in the picture below…my daddy made me that! Pretty crafty dad I have there! I love that pig if you can’t tell! Mainly because he made it. 🙂

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

Cupcakes baked. Check. OK, so next, whip up a batch of buttercream frosting.  While  I’ve got frosting on my mind here is a little frosting tip for you: Add a jar of marshmallow fluff to your buttercream recipe. It makes it taste so yummy! My DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial also has a great link for a super buttercream frosting recipe if you are looking to try one out. Guess what, it uses marshmallow fluff!

So getting back to business, after preparing the frosting, add color to it, if desired. Personally, I decided to leave mine the  beautiful cream color that it is. It coordinates nicely with my chocolate cupcakes and golden horns.

Prepare your large pastry bag by putting an extra large star tip in the bag, I used the one from this cupcake decorating set, and filling the bag with icing.

Pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake. I let a little of the chocolate cake show through on the edges for a nice  color contrast.

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

Next, place all the unicorn horns in the cupcakes.Try to center them the best you can. After that,  place those cute little ears on the unicorn cupcakes.

Voila! These easy and chic unicorn cupcakes are ready to be eaten! OK, maybe spend a little time to admire them first! They are uber cute, ya know!

Additional Unicorn Cupcake Ideas

A few additional ideas I had, but ran out of time to do:

  • Add sprinkles! Sprinkle the cupcakes with a bit of sanding sugar in a coordinating color to give them a magical glimmer or add some star shaped sprinkles. I love the gold star sprinkles! I even put a few on my unicorn birthday cake.

 

  • On Pinterest, I saw clear plastic wine glasses (the kind from the dollar store) filled with gummy bears. The gummies were sorted by color and layered in the glasses, following the colors of the rainbow,  with a cupcake sat on top. This would be such a fun way to display your final cupcakes. I actual displayed mine on the desert table using the DIY serving platters I made. They look delicious and the fact that there were none left confirmed that they were!

unicorn cupcakes easy diy

 

It is amazing what a magical creation your  cupcakes can become with just a bit of frosting and a few easily made fondant accents! I look forward to seeing how yours turn out! As always, I would love to see, so don’t be shy. We love to share here at Paisley & Pugs!  Also, if you ever have questions or need help please reach out to me. I am always happy to help out my fans and love to hear from you!

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Why (and How) You Should DIY Backdrops for Party Decor

 

DIY backdrop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

Anyone knows that throwing a party gets expensive quick, Right?! I am sure I am preaching to the choir here. The decorations, the food, invitations, favor bags, and the list just goes on. I love to throw parties, but I also like to be cost effective when I do it, but I sure will not let style or the finished product suffer. This is why I am sharing my entire DIY Unicorn Theme Party Series. Many of these tips and tutorials can be applied to any party theme too! Sweet! Double bonus!

OK, so today, we are going to chat about backdrops. If you haven’t noticed, the new ‘it’ thing at parties are fancy dessert tables and photo booth stations. Both of these look amazing and honestly, really deserve a beautiful backdrop to set the scene perfectly and pull your party together.

It is important to think about the theme of the party and the mood that you want to convey. A few thoughts to keep in mind as you design your background:

  • What is my color scheme?
  • What scene is this backdrop setting?
  • How big is the area that you are covering with your scene setter?
  • How will I display the backdrop?

Once you have answered these questions it is time to set out on creating the scene setter. For my party, I had a few criteria that I just would not compromise on after I thought about the above questions.

  • I wanted my scene setter to be once continuous piece. This meant using fabric was not an option as I was covering an area that was 6ft x 8ft and would result in having to seam the fabric.
  • I wanted my scene to represent a nice inviting soft sky. I looked at options of tasseled party backdrops, but that wasn’t going to convey the image I desired for my dessert table. Although, I did decide to use them for the smash cake session (DIY Tutorial on that Coming Soon!)

Well, that really limited my options. So as Winnie the Pooh would say ” I sat down and I THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!” And then it came to me…well actually it came to me on one of the many wonderful family trips where my daughter and I are gleefully drug through Home Depot for what seems like no apparent reason for an eternity (did you sense a little sarcasm there?!) Yes, the mister loves to go to Home Depot.

Anyways, I totally digressed, as I was ‘joyfully’ walking around the store I found myself in the paint section staring at canvas tarps. Did you know that canvas tarps come in HUGE sizes? And are relatively inexpensive for the amount of fabric you get? And are essentially a blank canvas? Oh yeah, and are designed for paint? Yes, it was an epiphany. The angels sang, and I grabbed up a 6ft x 9ft tarp for 15.00 dollars and a can of sky blue spray paint for 3.99.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

I was able to make my backdrop for under 20 bucks and it was going to be EXACTLY what I wanted. SCORE!

I was so excited, as soon as we got home, I set to work. Let me share how you would go about making a backdrop.

Easy Steps to DIY a Background or Scene Setter

The first step, which I skipped (and highly recommend NOT skipping) is to throw your new tarp in the dryer to get all the fold wrinkles out. If you are not doing a basic solid color backdrop then this is even more important!

Next, set up a painting area. Dry, dust free, well ventilated, and something on the floor under your tarp to catch the over spray.  It doesn’t have to be pretty. As you can see in my photo below, I have some ugly black foam that has paint on it. Talk about silliness, that is usually what the tarp is for 🙂

Spread the tarp out so that it lies flat. No matter what you are putting on your backdrop, you want to start with the overall prominent background color(s). For me, it was super simple, as I was just using sky blue.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

 

Start at the top of the canvas and spray small areas about 2ft x 3ft. I worked across the top in this size section and once I completed a row I moved down to work on the next row.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

I did not want even coverage because I was going for a soft whimsical sky for unicorns to flutter through. If you want full solid coverage you will need to do a few additional passes over each area.

Once the entire tarp is covered, allow it to dry for at least 2 hours. This was my stopping point because I was going to use it just like this, with some white puffy 3-D clouds hanging in front of it.

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

If you want a more elaborate scene setter this is the time where you can go in with additional spray paint and add details or use acrylic paint and brushes. An example would be to spray the entire tarp, with 2/3 blue and 1/3 green (for step 1). Then go back and paint little flowers and cute woodland creatures in the green area and a sun and some fluttering butterflies and a few clouds in the blue area. This would be perfect for a spring photo booth backdrop or an Easter brunch table background. Really, the possibilities are endless… let your artistic skills and imagination lead the way!

Make sure once you have completed your design you allow the tarp to dry for at least 24 hours prior to mounting it. I mounted mine using rainbow glitter Duck Tape. I had planned to use it from the beginning. It does two things. It acts as a frame, helping to pull my whole dessert table area together, and it also holds my backdrop in place securely to the wall.

The key word is securely. You need to make sure you attach or hang your backdrop so it won’t fall down. The last thing you want to happen is for it to fall on your desserts and crush them. That would be sad after all your hard work. I am delighted with how mine turned out!

DIY back drop scene setter photo booth for dessert table

OK, so remember, making a backdrop is easy and not expensive. You need a tarp, some spray paint, acrylic paint (optional), and your creativity! The sky is the limit!

Now, its your turn. In the comments show me your DIY scene setters, backdrops, and photo booth stations. I can’t wait to see what everyone creates.

 

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How to Easily Create Awesome (and Cheap) Dessert Platters and Cake Stands

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial

Have you  gone shopping for a cake stand or dessert platter recently? Well, I did since lil miss was turning one…and I HAD TO HAVE A PARTY 🙂 because that is just how I roll. I scoped out Target, Walmart, and Amazon. You know what…not one had a dessert platter or cake stand for less than $15.00…and you can bet it sure did not match my décor scheme. Oh and with that price, I couldn’t buy multiples either, which I would surely need for my dessert table plans I had in mind 🙂 That means I had some seriously big dessert plans!

This is where I took matters into my own hands. I came up with a way to make 5, yes 5, platters for a little more than 3 dollars each. And this was with buying cans of spray paint, which will last for many more projects to come. If I already had the paint at home, or if I actually calculated the price to make the platters based on the amount of paint I used from the can, the price to make each platter would be even lower! Oh yeah, and even better, these platters matched my décor and color scheme perfect..

Where to Buy the Most Economically Priced Materials to Build Dessert Platters and Cake Stands

The first thing you will need to do to whip these little guys up, is take a trip to the dollar store. I purchased candle holders, and platters. Another good place to find large, good quality platters is Michael’s or A.C.Moore, especially after holidays. I scored some platters from their Christmas clearance. They were a buck each, and really ugly, but I didn’t care because I knew I was going to paint them anyways!

I then took my endeavors over to Walmart. It is the cheapest place I have found to purchase spray paint. You can customize these platters in a variety of ways, just by the paint you choose.I got the colors I wanted, which happened to be bright spring colors. Rustoleum has some awesome finishes, like metallic if you are after a faux metal look, or the looking glass finish, which provides a mirrored surface! Both super cool. See, the possibilities for your platters really are endless!

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial supplies

 

Step-by-step Guide to Creating Designer Cake and Dessert Platters in Less Than 15 Minutes

Now that we have our supplies, the most important step is to prepare the items for painting. I used rubbing alcohol and wiped down each platter and candle holder. They need to be very clean so the paint will adhere and there are no little texture bumps. Items from the dollar store can be dusty some times, so this step really is critical to obtaining a beautiful finished product.

Next, I go down into the scary cave below my house, OK, actually its our basement! I have set up a board as my painting station. It is not anything glamorous, as you will see in the pictures, but it does the job. Not to mention, it is going to get covered in paint. 🙂 Make sure your work area is clean and free of any dust particles, dirt etc. Also make sure you lay a painters tarp on the floor under your work surface. Let’s just say, I may have forgotten to do this in the past one or two times, and the mister was not very happy about my over spray….

Place the items to be painted on your work surface. I started by spraying the candle stick. Apply an even coat of paint. More the spray can in a wisping motion. You do not want to make thick layers of paint. That gives the potential for drips. It is much better to do multiple thin coats. I walk around the candle holder as I paint it to make sure I have painted all the crevices. You only need to paint the exterior of the holder.

.

Once the first coat of paint on the candle holder is complete, spray the platter, either the same color or an accent color. Whatever is your preference. Again, use the same wisping motion for the paint application Thick coats of paint are not your friend! I am talking from experience here people!

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial painting

Now, go back and do another coat on the candle holder. Repeat, going back and forth between the two pieces until a total of three light coats of paint have been applied. Do a final once over and make sure the items have even coverage. If there are any thin spots add a little more paint.

Let the items dry, at least over night. You could go back and paint the bottom side of the platter now if you want. No one was going to see my bottom side, so I did not bother to do that.

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial drying

Once everything is dry, put hot glue on the top of the candle holder and place the painted platter on top of the candle holder. Make sure the platter is centered. Firmly press the platter onto the candle holder and continue to hold for about two minutes.

Set your platter aside and let the glue cool completely. I recommend not to use your  platter for at least another hour, however, it is now fully assembled and ready for use.

diy party dessert platter cake stand tutorial painting

 

Display and Usage Tips for Your New Cake Stands and Dessert Platters

I have a few platter tips that I want to share with you since you are making these bad boys to help up your platter game even more!

    -Use a doily to dress up the platter and make it look a little more fancy

    – A doily is also great if you have concerns about the food directly touching the painted surface ( I recommend serving

      things that are already in wrappers on these platters, such as cupcakes, mini pastries, cakes, etc)

    -To create the illusion of various height platters, place Styrofoam blocks under some of the platters. I was able to do this

     and hide the Styrofoam in my decor so no one even noticed I had given them a little lift.

    -For a different look, glue 2 completed platters together to obtain a multi-tier platter. These look great with mini cupcakes!

And there you have it. An easy 15 minute project that is easy on the wallet and creates designer looking cake stands and serving platters! The best part about this tutorial is I love how customizable these platters are, making them so versatile for all types of decor.

Oh, P.S. If you need to make those unicorn and cloud cookies (and don’t we all :)), the tutorial is here! And, the unicorn cupcake tutorial will be coming shortly, so stay tuned!

 

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Behind the Scenes: DIY Unicorn Cake Decorating Tutorial from a Professional Baker

 

Unicorn cake tutorialHello, Hello!

Last time we chatted, I shared how to make an easy an amazing 6 layer rainbow cake. Well, I sure wasn’t going to leave you hanging. I am back to tell you how to turn that awesome layer cake into a beautiful unicorn!

If you are not familiar with my past life, I will let you in on  a little secret. I grew up in a bakery family. My father ran a bakery  long before I entered the scene until just last year. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with him from the time I was 15 until I graduated college. It was a great experience. The quality time I got to spend with dad was simply priceless. I didn’t know it at the time, but I sure do now…It’s crazy what living over a thousand miles away from your family and a few years of wisdom will really help you to appreciate. As an added bonus, I also learned some mad cake decorating and baking skills.

With dear old dad retiring from the family business, it made me nostalgic for all those times we shared together in the bakery. Learning life lessons, hard work, and the importance of a good sense of humor. Little miss just turned one, so I decided Momma needed to whip up an epic birthday cake. No way was I going to do store bought for my little lady, when I know my finished product will taste and look a million times better than what I can get at most stores around here.

So for all my fans, who have actually made it this far through my reminiscing, I want to share with you how to create your own professional unicorn birthday cake. Everyone will be asking who your baker is and where they can purchase one for their next event and you will get to smile and say “I did it!” You will feel so proud and accomplished.

Homemade Frosting Tips

icing frosting rainbow pastry bags
© Klublu | Dreamstime.com – Beautiful Color Pastry Bags Photo

 

In full disclosure, I did have to call dad and get a few last minute tips on how to pull off this unicorn cake feat at home. There is a big difference in the types of materials a commercial bakery can purchase vs what the home enthusiast can get their hands on. Good thing for me, dad is well versed in this and was able to give me some great substitutions so that everything will work out. Below are a few tips from my dad’s mini cake making pep talk that might pertain to your baking adventures, too. Just wanted to share the love! <3 <3

  • Buttercream frosting will not be white if you make it using only butter.
  • Buttercream frosting will not taste very good if you use basic shortening (ex: Crisco)
  • Bakeries make buttercream using cake shortening and butter: Typically a 2:1 ratio in order to have optimum taste as well as white color. Note, it is very hard to order small quantities of cake shortening, and it is somewhat expensive in comparison to the other ingredient options.
  • Using a jar of marshmallow fluff in homemade buttercream will give it a nicer flavor, especially if you are using Crisco as your shortening
  • If you use Crisco and butter combination for homemade buttercream use a 1:1 ratio and add the marshmallow fluff.
  • If you make buttercream just using butter, I still add the jar of marshmallow fluff.
  • The slight yellow tint from frosting made just using butter will not effect your ability to color the frosting, but you will not have a true white color.

Making Fondant Cake Accents

For this particular cake, I used fondant to make a few accents. It is important to plan ahead of time and make sure you make your accents a few days in advance so they have time to harden and be painted, with food paint of course. : ) I purchased Wilton’s pre-made fondant Note, always sprinkle your work space with confectioners sugar prior to working with the fondant.

Unicorn Horn

To make the unicorn horn, start by taking a piece of fondant and kneading it like dough. You want to soften it and make it pliable.

Next, roll a snake shape ( like you did as a kid with Playdoh). Tapper the two ends of your snake shape. The center should be the thickest part and the two ends the skinniest.fondant unicorn horn DIY

Bend the snake in half having the two tips meet. Twist the two ends together working your way down until you get to the bottom of the unicorn horn.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Take a skewer and put it into the unicorn horn and push it about 3/4 of the way up the horn. This will help support the horn when it is placed into the cake.

Lay the horn on a pan and let dry for at least a day. Two to three days is ideal.

Once the horn is dry, use gold (or whatever color you want) food paint and paint your horn. Stick the horn skewer in Styrofoam to allow the paint to dry. Now your horn is ready for the cake!

Unicorn Ears

Knead and make the fondant pliable. Roll the fondant flat.fondant unicorn horn DIY

I used a heart cookie cutter to cut out the ear shapes.  The top part of the heart was placed off of the fondant, so I only used the bottom half of the heart to make the ear shape. I used the cookie cutter to make sure the ears were uniform in size. Alternatively, you could also just cut out triangles. Cut out two ear pieces.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Take the ear piece and pinch together the bottom of the triangle.

fondant unicorn horn DIY

Place the ears on a pan to dry. Remember, a day is the minimum and a little longer than that is even better :).

Once the ears are dry, I used a couple drops of pink from the Wilton color system and thinned it with a teaspoon of vodka. I then painted the centers of the ears pink.

As you can see from my images, I was mass producing unicorn horns and ears to top the birthday cake, smash cake, and all the cupcakes! That was a lot of horns and ears ;P

fondant unicorn horn and ears DIY

Steps to Decorate Cake as a Unicorn

So, lets get started.  Place your cake on a cake turntable. The first thing you will need to do, after you have assembled your layers, is it to give it a crumb coat (or not…read on for more info about that).  A trick that I love to use for frosting cakes is if you have the time and space, is to stick your cake in the freezer for a few hours or even overnight. A chilled cake is so much easier to work with and will prevent you from ending up with tons of crumbs in your frosting. To be honest, when I start with a frozen cake, I don’t even do a crumb coat unless I am going to cover it with fondant. If it is frozen, I tend to just go for it and frost it.

Prior to frosting the cake, decide what color you would like the base of the unicorn head to be. I used a true all butter buttercream recipe for my unicorn cake. Due to the high concentration of butter in my frosting, it has a cream color as opposed to white. This is perfect for the look I wanted, so I didn’t even need to color my frosting. If you would rather have a different color for the head, then color your frosting before you start.

Once your frosting is the color you desire, we will start by frosting the sides of the cake. I use a flat icing spatula to apply frosting to the cake. While holding the spatula parallel with that of the cake sides, I spread the frosting, using gentle pressure, until a smooth coating of frosting all the way around the cake is achieved. Make sure that none of the cake layers are peaking through the icing. It is too thin if you can see any of the layers and you need to add additional icing.

Once the sides are covered, I then plop some icing on the top of the cake and spread that out evenly using the same spatula. I make sure to spread all the way past the edges.Some icing may even drip onto the sides. That is totally OK.

Next, I grab the icing smoother. As I spin the cake on the turntable, I hold this parallel to the cake and use slight pressure. This tool is taller than the layer cake and will smooth the frosting

Once the sides are smooth, I go back to smoothing the top. I use the flat icing spatula and spread the icing from the edge of the cake toward the center. I do this working all the way around the cake.

To get any additional remaining lines removed from the top of the cake I will let you in on a secret. Boil a pot of water and keep it boiling. Place your spatula in the hot water for about 15  seconds. Now, slowly drag across the top of your cake. This melts the icing just enough to smooth it and remove any spatula marks. We used this tip at the bakery all the time.

Next, I placed the fondant unicorn horn in the top of the cake and one ear on either side. Note, you should make the fondant horn and ears a few days ahead of time to make sure that it has time to dry and harden.  Instructions for making the unicorn horn are at the end of this post.

Once the fondant pieces are in place I began making the mane. I prepared five pastel colors of frosting: pink, purple, blue, yellow, and green. The pink and purple were put into pastry bags with a regular size rose tip (104). The blue was put into a mini rose tip (102). Green was put into a leaf tip (352). Yellow was put into the closed star tip (35)

I made roses and covered the front top of the unicorn head in a triangle shape. Next, I filled in gaps between the roses with the star tip adding little yellow flowers, as well as adding leaves to all of the roses.

I then added flowers in the same manner around the ears. On the back of the head I used flowers to create the mane and had them go down the back side of the cake too. I even had some flowers wrap around the bottom of the cake towards the front on the cake board to extend the mane slightly. I then sprinkled gold star sprinkles and little white pearl sprinkles throughout the mane to add a little extra dazzle.

The finishing touches to decorating the unicorn are adding the eyes. I painted on the eyes using a small paint brush with the black food coloring from the Wilton Color Right Performance Color System. Do not dilute the food coloring or it will run and drip, ruining all that hard work. We sure don’t want that to happen. Ta-da! Unicorn cake complete!

 

 DIY Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Cake

Phew! Glad you made it through the LONGEST POST EVER! Sorry about that. I just had so much good info to share with you. Hope it helps and you can use it on some of your next cake frosting endeavors. If you have questions or need more frosting (or general baking) feel free to post in the comments and I will get back to you ASAP. Happy cake decorating!

I am linking up with these parties!

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How to Create the Perfect Rainbow Layer Cake

 

6 layer rainbow cake tutorial

This year we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. I love birthdays, parties and decorating! And you know what, I love to do it even more when it’s for my sweet little miss! Her party was rainbow unicorn themed. So, what else is this mom to do, but whip up a 6 layer rainbow unicorn cake?! Well, that is just what I did! Read on to learn how to easily make a rainbow cake for any occasion.

Start by whipping up a double batch of your favorite vanilla cake batter. I used a family recipe. Use your favorite go to white cake recipe, or even a box mix. If you use a box mix, you will need two. I actually made my batter in batches as well. I made one batch, the equivalent to one box mix, and split that into three separate bowls.

Then I colored each of the bowls an individual color. The first batch I did pink, orange, and yellow. You do not want to over mix your batter or you risk your cake becoming slightly tough. I stir the food coloring in just until I reach color uniformity, or very close to it. I use Wilton’s  Color Right Performance System.

Next, grease three cake pans and add the batter. I used this cake layer pan set from Wilton. It worked fabulous! Bake according to your recipe’s directions, but check your cake a couple minutes earlier than normal. These layers are slightly thinner than a typical cake layer.

Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. After this time, flip the cakes out of the pan onto wax or parchment paper.

rainbow cake layers

During the time the first batch is baking, I whip up and color the second batch of batter. This time it was green, blue, and purple.

Sometimes cake layers will slightly dome at the top during baking. So,after all the layers are baked and cooled, use a bread knife to flatten  each of the layers so they will lay even when you put them together, if needed. Now, take your favorite cake filling, or frosting recipe and stick each layer together.  One of my favorite filling combinations is to use red raspberry jam and buttercream frosting. Put a thin layer of jam on one side of the cake and on the other layer a thin layer of buttercream. Now sandwich the two sides with filling together. Repeat this for each layer until you reach the top. If you are looking for a great buttercream recipe I highly recommend this Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting by Amanda Cupcake . It is simply delicious!

Once you have assembled your layer cake than you can decorate it. Always remember to do a crumb coat prior to frosting your cake, even if you are going to use fondant.

A fun alternative would be to make an ombre layer cake. Shades of pink or shades of blue for the layers would make an awesome gender reveal cake! Green ombre would be awesome  for St. Patrick’s day, frosted up like a pot of gold. The possibility with colored layers is endless!

I finished off my cake by frosting the whole thing with that delicious marshmallow buttercream. Then decorated it up as a unicorn. I made the horn out of fondant and added a beautiful floral mane. For the full tutorial on how to decorate the cake like a unicorn check out this post.

And here is a peek at what it looks like when you cut into the rainbow layer cake.

unicorn rainbow layer cake

 

And here is the cake all decked out like a unicorn! Isn’t it magical!  I would love to see your rainbow layer cake if you bake one up!

unicorn cake party dessert table

 

 

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Quick and Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Quick and Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Royal icing is one of my favorite icings to make. It whips up so quickly, tastes yummy and the artistic possibilities for decorating those cookies that come along with it…JUST AMAZING! You know me by now, I love anything that can lend itself to a little bit of artistic flair! 🙂

Today I am sharing with you my favorite royal icing recipe. It is by far, tried and true. This is the one that has been used in good ole dad’s bakery for years! Shhhh…don’t tell him I shared. 😉

 

Royal Icing


Ingredients

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp meringue powder
5 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla (or other flavor extract)
Additional water for thinning to desired consistency

  1. Combine meringue powder, vanilla extract, and water in bowl, mixing on low.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar and continue to mix on low.
  3. After all powdered sugar has been incorporated continue mixing until the icing has a matte appearance. This is after approximately 5 minutes of mixing.
  4. Slowly add additional water and mix until desired consistency is achieved.

Store frosting in an air tight container. If frosting tip becomes clogged use warm water to remove clog.

NOTES:
Use a spoon to check your icing consistency. Do this by letting the icing drip off the spoon back into the bowl.  Slightly thicker icing is ideal for piping edges and fine detail work. A little bit thinner consistency works great for flooding cookies. I personally aim for a consistency between the two and am able to use the icing for both outlining and flooding the cookies! 🙂 There is my laziness showing through again.  This allows me to only have to color one aliquot of icing as opposed to doing two: an outliner and a flooder.

Happy cookie decorating, and my favorite part….COOKIE EATING! YUM! 🙂

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