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How to Throw an Arts and Crafts Birthday Party

Arts and crafts at a birthday party? That's something to celebrate!
Arts and crafts at a birthday party? That's something to celebrate!
Hemera/Thinkstock

If your child enjoys sitting for hours at the kitchen table finger painting, coloring creative portraits with crayons or slicing up all of your magazines to design a collage, you have one passionate little artist on your hands! Instead of hosting a traditional birthday party with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, consider throwing an arts and crafts birthday party for your mini Picasso.

A perfect celebration can begin with artist-themed party invitations and end with blowing out the candles on a cake that resembles a colorful paint palette. As guests leave, give each one an inspiring goodie bag filled with paint brushes, small coloring books and stickers that will keep him or her crafting long after the party ends.

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For the main event, plan a stimulating arts and crafts hour for your guests. If the kids are older, you might want to have the group paint terra cotta vases or ceramic figurines. Partygoers who are preschool age will love playing with modeling clay and cookie cutters. Popular arts and crafts ideas also include those that double as creative take-home party favors, like superhero masks, finger puppets and bookmarks.

Above all, remember to keep arts and crafts activities simple, and try to keep the guest list at a manageable size. Consider the ages of your guests when choosing a craft, and pick an activity that will engage kids and hold their attention for the duration of the party. Even though it's sometimes impossible to avoid a mess when children and art are combined, think long and hard about the supplies you're buying. If your craft relies on glitter, sequins and glue, you might be scraping up remnants of the event several months after it's over.

To get started planning your child's memorable arts and crafts birthday party, here are some ideas and supply lists to inspire you!

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Make like Jackson Pollock and plan some splatter painting.
Make like Jackson Pollock and plan some splatter painting.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The sky's the limit when deciding on the perfect craft for your child's birthday party. Use your imagination, and have some fun!

Young girls who are into prince charming and fairy tales will adore the idea of decorating their own tiaras; all you'll need are several plain, shiny crowns to adorn with plastic jewels, feathers and beads. To wind down after craft hour, have a tea party fit for all of the pretty young princesses in attendance.

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Another great idea is to have children make or embellish an item that doubles as a party favor, like a wooden picture frame. As guests arrive, take pictures of each child with the birthday boy or girl, and print them in your home office. In the meantime, have children adorn plain picture frames with stickers, shells, buttons, ribbons and felt balls for a keepsake to take home and enjoy after the party.

If the kids you're entertaining are older, have a knowledgeable friend give a brief, five-minute lesson on a famous artist, like Jackson Pollock, and display two or three pieces of the artist's work on easels for inspiration. Set up paints and large sheets of paper for kids to create their own splatter works of art in Pollock's style.

For edible art fun, host a cookie decorating party, where guests also design their own aprons. Pass out plain, canvas aprons when kids arrive, and allow everyone to personalize their own with fast-drying markers and paints. Afterward, move everyone to the kitchen in their new aprons to decorate baked goods.

Need more inspiration? How about paper plate portraits? Provide party guests with several old magazines so they have pictures of plenty of noses, mouths, eyes and ears to cut out, and supplement the activity with lots of yarn, furry fabrics, glue, scissors and wooden ice cream sticks. Put a twist on the activity by dividing kids into pairs and instructing them to create each other's portraits instead of their own.

Other arts and crafts activities perfect for birthday parties include weaving friendship bracelets, baking clay ornaments, creating stained glass, stringing beaded jewelry and making tie-dye T-shirts.

On the next page, we'll share three of our favorite arts and crafts birthday party themes and give you a checklist of supplies so you can plan one for your child's next celebration.

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Those are some mighty cool movie star glasses!
Those are some mighty cool movie star glasses!
BananaStock/Thinkstock

The key to planning a successful arts and crafts party is to make sure everyone in attendance has plenty of supplies. As you shop for items, consider buying easels or a long banquet table for guests, and stock up on paintbrushes, paints, glue and scissors for kids to use.

Here are three of our favorite arts and crafts birthday party themes and a supply list for each:

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Movie Star Sunglasses - An arts and crafts activity that girls and boys will both enjoy is decorating their own pair of sunglasses. Adorn sunglasses with sequins, jewels, ribbon and beads to create one-of-a-kind shades. Have several tubes of craft glue available, and an adult can help kids paste heavier pieces to their glasses by using craft cement. Guests can model sunglasses as they make their way down the red carpet to your living room, where you can show a great feature flick and serve popcorn.

Party Brooches - Collect an assortment of crepe paper, feathers, ribbons and felt, and have children layer the items on a triangle precut from card stock or poster board. After children create their whimsical party brooch, glue a pin backing on each brooch, and allow a couple of minutes for them to dry. When they're finished, pin the brooches on guests as a unique and colorful accessory. Invite the guests to wear brooches for an elegant post-activity tea party.

DIY Headband Party - A great tween arts and crafts idea is a do-it-yourself headband party. Collect plenty of wide and narrow headbands for the girls to choose from. Provide fabric to wrap around the bands and feather clusters that can be purchased inexpensively online or at local craft stores. Have fabric glue and scissors available, as well as a display of several magazine cut-outs of headband styles to inspire the girls. Allow the girls to pose for a photo shoot in their headbands, then set up a smoothie bar. Girls choose from different fruits and yogurts and pile them in cups; you do the blending.

Remember, when it comes to supplies and crafting areas, it doesn't matter how hard you try and how well-prepared you are, crafting with a large group of children just gets messy! As you start to plan your arts and crafts party, design an invitation that clearly states kids might get dirty; you don't want guests arriving in their best attire only to have paint splatters ruin their clothes! If you can manage it, try to purchase washable supplies for your project, and the other parents will thank you. Be sure to have plenty of smocks on hand for kids and parents, and lay down newspaper or plastic to protect your floors and carpet. Ideally, if the weather is nice, host the birthday party outside, and cover tables in an old cloth. It's also imperative to use safe, nontoxic materials just in case little Johnny or Sally decides to sample the taste of the glue.

No matter what arts and crafts theme you choose for your child's birthday party, it's bound to be a memorable experience. Enjoy getting in touch with your artistic side, and have fun crafting!

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Sources

  • Duckett, MaryEllen K. "Crafts for a Crowd." Disney Family Fun. (Dec. 28, 2010).http://familyfun.go.com/parties/crafts-for-a-crowd-704513/
  • Elliott, Sara. "How to Affordably Throw a Birthday Party for Your Kids." TLC Family. May 26, 2010. (Dec. 27, 2010).https://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/how-to-affordably-throw-birthday-party.htm
  • Martha Stewart. "Homemade Toys and Games." (Dec. 26, 2010).http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/homemade-toys-and-games
  • Ronca, Debra. "Top 5 Arts and Crafts Birthday Party Ideas." TLC Family. Oct. 12, 2010. (Dec. 27, 2010).https://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/5-arts-crafts-birthday-party-ideas.htm
  • The Editors of Publications International, Ltd. "Decorative Crafts for Kids." TLC Family. Oct. 21, 2007. (Dec. 27, 2010).https://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/decorative-crafts-for-kids.htm

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