Once upon a time when we used to live in California my spring birthday babies always had their parties outdoors. Now that we’re on the West Coast of Canada I have long given up any hope of having their parties outside, it seems like it rains here almost constantly during the winter and early spring months. And so we brought the outdoors in and I threw an ‘Under the Stars’ camping theme party.
I went all out for this party, but you can easily throw a camping party without all the effort I went to. Read on for some inspiration and find some ideas for your own party!
Krystle from Krystle Images came by to photograph the whole setup for me, she takes the most amazing pictures don’t you think? If you’re living in the Metro Vancouver area and are looking for some gorgeous professional photos, she’s your girl!
My poor husband always gets roped into some sort of project for me. This time, it was DIY no-sew tents. These are fairly simple to make, but I was duped by some website into thinking they would be cheap. The wooden pieces, of which you need four for each tent, were $3 each. Plus the wooden dowels which were also $3 a piece and there is 3 yards of fabric per tent as well. Anyways, I just want you to be aware before you start that it’s not exactly a budget project, especially if you’re making a lot of tents. We did re-purpose some old wood we had lying around for the cross pieces which made a big difference. Shop in the discount section of your local fabric store for some great deals as well.
They were impressive though, the girls literally squealed with delight when they arrived and saw they would be sleeping in their very own pink or purple tent. They collapse completely and are easy to store, my kids will be using these for sleepovers and play forts for years to come.
I found the DIY instructions over on this website. The instructions were pretty clear and easy to follow. I didn’t use outdoor fabric since there is no way anyone is using these to camp outdoors, so I headed straight for the clearance section in our local fabric megastore. The Stitch Witchery is awesome and perfect for someone like me who either doesn’t have or doesn’t know how to operate a sewing machine (I’m in the latter category).
They turned out so cute didn’t they?! We’ll probably switch up the fabric for my son’s upcoming birthday and get some more use out of these.
My ‘Camp Ellis’ sign was made using my light box, which I love for simple party decor. I also added a honeycomb garland that I found at Walmart. Lights strung between the tents and some lanterns completed the look.
No one is getting any sleep around here!
The Treat Table
I love designing and styling the treat table for any party, it’s so much fun to use props you have lying around the house, and to shop for some new ones too of course! My inspiration for the table was ‘under the stars’. The girls would be sleeping (I use this term loosely as there was much more talking than sleeping happening) under a canopy of stars so I wanted to carry that over to the desserts.
I used some robin’s egg blue tulle for the clouds that I found at Michaels a few months ago for $10! It was such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up. If you like to craft or throw parties it’s a good idea to pick things up on sale and stash them away. Sometimes you can find inspiration for a party from the simplest items.
I looped the tulle from the ceiling and then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out stars in different shades of purple. I then glued them using a glue gun to some baker’s twine and hung them at random lengths from the ceiling and tulle. I also cut out my daughter’s name using my Silhouette as well. I love the simple look of just the guest of honor’s name in beautiful letters.
As for desserts, well, I’m the first to tell you that I tend to go overboard. We try to eat pretty healthy around here, but all bets are off when it comes to a birthday party. The biggest hit by far was the little jars of jello. How cute are these right? I bought these jars years ago at World Market and I use them for most parties I throw. Kids LOVE jello and you can coordinate the color to match almost any color scheme. I found some little pink spoons at the dollar store and tied them on with baker’s twine. These were gone within minutes. Seriously.
The only real camping themed dessert I made were smores marshmallow pops. These are ridiculously easy to make: melt chocolate chips (I would use milk, the girls found the dark a bit much), put the marshmallow on a stick or straw, dip in the chocolate and then dip in crushed graham crackers. Place top side down on a piece of parchment and let sit until it hardens.
When you’re decorating your dessert table you don’t have to fill it entirely with sugary treats. Just add some extra props to fill space. Flowers are a great way to fill space and they look lovely. Since it was a camping theme I made good use of our Ikea lanterns (which even have star cutouts!) as well as mini lanterns, and a few honeycomb decorations. Just have a look around your house, you never know where you’ll find inspiration for your party!
A Boho Chic Picnic
I loved making this little picnic area for the girls. I was hoping for nice weather so we could at least have dinner outside, but who am I kidding here. We picnicked indoors.
Our picnic table was simply made of two stacked palettes which we got for free from my husband’s work. You can find free palettes just about anywhere, and there are so many projects you can make with them. I had envisioned making a macrame table runner that I’ve seen making numerous appearances on Pinterest. Well, in case you’ve never tried macrame before let me tell you that starting a project two days before you intend to have it done is not advised. I’m not even kidding when I tell you this sad little ‘table runner’ took me about six hours to complete.
I used these beautiful ombre plates, napkins, and cups from my store, and let the girls enjoy their treats pretending they were in the great outdoors.
The Candy Cart
I did an Ikea bar cart hack a few months ago, turning a utilitarian kitchen cart into an on-point marble and copper bar cart. I wanted to do a candy bar for the girls for their movie, but the candy colors didn’t work with my theme and the dessert table ended up looking too cluttered so I made a candy cart instead.
Super fun right? The girls loved choosing some candies for a movie treat, and I’ll admit to sneaking more than my fair share of those lovely sour cherry gummies as well.
If you’re styling any bar cart for any occasion, adding some honeycomb decorations or balloons on the bottom shelf helps to make things not look too sparse. I thought I already went overboard with the sweets (see, I can be honest with myself) so three levels of candy seemed borderline insane. For the top shelf try to add a few taller items, and some sort of object of interest; here I used my letter board with a catchy saying on it. I don’t think the kids got the reference but my husband and I appreciated it.
Sleeping Under The Stars
So this was the piece de resistance of the party. I had my lovely assistant, I mean husband, cover the ceiling in our living room and part of the walls with glow in the dark stars. Then to take this to the next level we bought three CFL black light bulbs and replaced our living room bulbs with them for the night. The girls were totally dazzled, it looked awesome and was totally worth all the effort.
This was such a fun birthday party theme, my daughter had such a great time and loved all the little details of her party.
I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below!
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