In less than a month, my youngest daughter turns one. While my mind is spinning with the thought of my baby leaving babyhood, I am slowing charging into full party planning mode. As with every party or holiday, there will be gifts for the birthday girl. Frankly, I’m terrified of more plastic junk entering our house. We are trying to move towards having less (which in itself is a chore with two under 3), natural and green living, and using up before getting new.
This concept paired with Miss Roo’s love of color has driven the direction of the birthday theme — Rainbows! How simple and natural is a rainbow? She will play with anything wooden or airy for hours at a time which has been an immense help in trying to plan a party for a wee girl that won’t cost a ton and will help us be earth friendly. We are planning to celebrate Miss Roo’s party at a local park. It is our hope that our location will encourage outdoor play in all our guests, provide a connection to nature that a lot of us simply are not enjoying, and will support our locality rather than some big business and all their waste. While I will be purchasing invitations due to my severely lacking Graphic Design skills, there are plenty of things that we can make at home to make the day color and bright. So here are some DIY idea for decorations, gifts, and the favors to create a great party while reducing, reusing, and buying less!
Party Idea: DIY Banner
Image by Handjobs for the Home
We have TONS of scrapbook paper laying around from all those grand ideas that I had before I had two children. Now this paper is being up cycled into a birthday banner.
Start by cutting out triangles from your scrapbook paper. The size of your sheet will determine how many triangles you will get from each sheet.
Making a cardboard template will assist you in uniformity. I grabbed a wooden template at a local hobby store and found it to be a huge help to me and to little hands helping me out from time to time. The template will also be more durable for reusing during the many birthdays to come.
Once you have cut out all the triangles you wish to use – 11 total for our banner - you need to begin wielding your glue gun! Using a tiny bit of glue, attach your yarn or twine to the back of each triangle. This step will not only secure the banner together but will dry quick for the decorating to begin.
Your banner can be embellished with letters and names, stickers for themes, glitter for flair — the sky is the limit! My older daughter was very excited about having a hand in making party goodies and this activity was wonderful way to involve her in the whole process.
If you don’t have a glue gun handy, you can simply punch a hole in each of the top two corners of each triangle and simply tie the string. My favorite part of a homemade banner are the possibilities available with such a small amount of materials.
Gift Idea: Hand Kites
Image by applenamos
Although I have a million thing on my list to make before the big day, some of the most fun are these little Waldorf inspired hand kites. I spotted these on Etsy and fell in love. The simplicity of design and material make it a great idea for little hands and best suited for play with adult supervision.
I was able to find some wooden rings at a local craft store. We have an embarrassing amount of ribbon left over from holidays, birthdays, and previous crafts. I used leftover sandpaper to sand the rings down a bit more to ensure a smooth finish. I had some jojoba oil in the girls’ body care stash and found some beeswax at a local farmers market. I plan to make several wooden items for the Birthday Girl, so purchasing the beeswax was a justifiable cost.
- 1/4 cup beeswax,grated
- 1 cup oil (we used jojoba because we had it and we like the smell)
- 1 glass measuring cup
- 1 wide mouth storage container
- 1 whisk
To make your wood polish, you will need 1 part wax to 4 parts oil. I grated 1/4 cup wax into a cup of oil in a glass container. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt your wax. Whisk during this process. This step make take a bit of time but be sure your wax is completely melted. Once your have your melted solution, pour it into a storage container in which you will be able to easily stir your polish. Stir for a few minutes to thoroughly mix your wax and create a creamy, uniform result.
When applying to the wood, dab on a small amount of wax, smooth in with your fingers, and wipe off the excess with a clean towel. Your ring is done! Now take your favorite ribbons, loop them around your ring and knot! What a simple and fun toy! (We may make extras as favors, too!)
Favor Idea : Bubbles
Image by Jeff Kubina
Who doesn’t love bubbles? Both my girls could spend hours chasing them in the breeze. When considering what would be a fun and inexpensive favor for those attending our Birthday Bash, I immediately thought of bubbles. I also thought that making my own would be easy and less expensive that buying little plastic containers at a super store.
To make bubbles, you will need dish soap, water, and glycerin. I have read in my research that traditional dish soaps work best. I am very excited to use this project as a way of ridding our house of the Joy buried under our kitchen sink.
- 1 Tablespoon Joy dish washing liquid
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Teaspoon Glycerin
Combine all ingredients gently. Stirring with too much enthusiasm will make your solution frothy and you want to save all the good stuff for bubble power. Dip in your wands and enjoy! Our bubbles made this way were stupendous and the Joy will go a long way this way! Now our only question is how to gift this to children in non-breakable containers that are as green as possible.
So there you have it! A few ideas for a DIY greener birthday!