Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Own DIY Invites and Party Decor for The Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st Birthday Party

 All that late night research on Pinterest paid off for me when I was looking at invitation ideas for my son's first birthday. I knew I didn't want to do just a plain, boring, child-unfriendly Facebook party invite- what fun are those anyway? When you're working with such a lovely, colorful, inspiring children's book as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you're obligated to make the invitations just as beautiful and do justice to the chosen theme. As you can see, I'm very passionate about this- har har. The irony being that for the past two birthdays, I was too harried to bother with pretty invites because 1- I didn't have everyone's addresses and 2- Facebook was just so much easier and faster because everyone I knew was on there. Now I've made it a point to request everyone's addresses so that we can send invites and thank-yous and whatever random card my daughter creates to send out to her 'best friends.'

Let's move on to my own inspiring invitation idea. After hours of looking at some pretty wonderful designs on Pinterest, I decided I would create something I hadn't yet seen. Mostly, I just try to be original and think outside of the box because I like when people say, "Wow- I've never seen that before!" What can I say? I like wowing people left and right. I thought an interactive invite would be fun and different from the usual single fold card. So here's what I created:

This is just a mockup of my idea so that I could figure out what it would look and feel like in reality. Starting with a mockup is a MUST for wannabe designers- especially if you're wanting something that's interactive and will be touched quite often by little fingers. After putting this together, I decided to change a few things to make it easier:
1) Using two eyelets at the top of the fruits to attach them together like a little flip booklet. To do this, I'd have to make sure all the fruits are the same widths at the top to give it a nice clean look.
2) I thought I would make little pompom caterpillars instead because the paper against paper friction makes it difficult to push the caterpillar through the holes.
3) I will probably laminate the fruits so they don't tear.
Once I make these changes, I'll make another mockup before mass producing 7 more. I'm a bit of a perfectionist but if it doesn't fit my vision, I'm always ready to keep working on it until it's perfect to me.

I plan to print the invitation information onto 2 inch circles and each fruit will hold a who, what, when, where, and RSVP. I think I will also add a photo of my son to the apple on the front, along with the cute little quote that you can see on it now. What an exciting and fun way to invite our friends and family to celebrate a whole year of life, don't you think? I think I will have to make an extra copy to keep in Noah's memory box. He won't ever have a first birthday again! (Sorry, tearing up here a bit.)

All righty then- so that was my invitation idea. Still a diamond in the rough but it'll get there- hopefully it'll get there at least 2 weeks before the party so I can actually send them out and not resort to those awfully boring FB invites!

Next, I was working on making a caterpillar similar to how the wonderful Eric Carle does his artwork. (Go to his website for full instructions on how to make his art @ Instead of using tissue paper, I used paper from a heavyweight acid free paint and marker pad that I got at Target. I painted each sheet in different shades of green, blue and gray watercolors, let them dry, then layered another shade on top and repeated until I was happy with the effect I created. I then drew a caterpillar a la Eric Carle onto a larger sheet of construction paper and used tracing paper to trace each section of the creature. I layered the tracing paper with the shapes over my painted paper and cut each section out on a different painted sheet so that the caterpillar ended up with a textured body.

I made sure to number each body part on the construction paper and then also onto the coordinating painted pieces so I wouldn't mix the parts up and have to sit there all afternoon playing match up. Then I just used Elmer's glue stick to paste the pieces on and tada! A very convincing Very Hungry Caterpillar twin!

I think he turned out great! Thanks Mr. Carle! I'll be using him as a welcome sign at the door to the party and will probably paste him onto a larger posterboard cut out in the shape of an apple.

So far, I've covered games & activities, invitations and the beginning of the decorations for our VHC birthday party. I'm getting even more excited about how it's all coming together so far! Next, I'll cover the rest of my ideas for decorations and table settings. For now, I'll leave you with a photo of the soon-to-be birthday boy reading his new favorite book. =) 

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