Monday, February 10, 2014

Rainbow Zoo Birthday Party

 My sweet little Mara just turned 6 and she loves animals.  She has a collection of stuffed animals that is always spilling out of her room into every corner of our house.   Which is why I wasn't surprised when she requested to have "a rainbow zoo party" with all her stuffed animals in cages.  
I started by illustrating a set of rainbow zoo animals for her invitation.  I let Mara choose her favorite animals and the colors she wanted for each.  Then I used those animals to design the printables for her party.  I love including my children in the planning for their parties.  It makes it that much more personal and we have fun doing it.  

I wanted a bright, playful rainbow party that would fit our whimsical zoo theme.  Most zoo parties have more of a safari theme with browns and greens.  Mara is a girly, girl so I felt the party should reflect that.  So we used bright almost a sweet shop color scheme. There were lots of brightly colored rainbow sweets for the table that went along with our "zoo" theme. Popcorn, pretzels, cotton candy and ice cream cones are common zoo foods that fit in perfectly once I added their rainbow embellishments. 


Mara's only request for her cake was to include one of her plastic animals on top. So that's exactly what I did.  The inside of the cake was pastel rainbow layers so I kept the decorations to a minimum. Just don't look too closely or you will see my crooked cake and lopsided scroll work. 

To create the rainbow rice crispy treats I just divided the marshmallow and butter mixture into four and added some food coloring to the mixture before I stirred in the cereal.  Then I layered each color in a pan and let it set.  It worked perfectly and tasted delish. 

All of my printables were printed by my dear friend Andrea from Paper + Pop.  She did such an amazing job.  The print quality was so much better than my home printer.  The colors were bright and vivid and the paper was velvety and luxurious. Having all my printing taken care of left me with so much more time to dedicate to the party.  Thank you, thank you Andrea.  Everything was lovely. 

I really loved having plastic drinking bottles instead of glass. I got these sweet plastic milk bottles from Party On Designs. I really do love her shop and her prices are always reasonable.  The paper straws were from The Pretty Party Shoppe.  These cute straws are what inspired the colors for the party.  They were the perfect bright vibrant rainbow colors I was looking for.  

Kima's Konfections provided these delicate pink zebra stripe fondant toppers that were almost too pretty to eat.  

I created some ice cream cone cupcakes with sprinkles. This was so much easier than having real ice cream cones and so fun to eat. The kids really loved them.  They were the first thing to go.

I made white chocolate coated popcorn in all of our rainbow shades to go in the popcorn treat cups I designed.  As well as white chocolate rainbow pretzel sticks. These disappeared way too fast. 

You can't have a zoo without cotton candy.  I used cotton candy I found at the dollar store to fill cellophane treat bags.  


Lots and lots of animals.

It's not uncommon for me to use cardboard boxes on my dessert tables.  I love to paint and I'm pretty handy with an exact o knife so it's a cheap way to create fun table props. When Mara said she wanted her animals in cages I knew the only easy and economical way to do it would be with cardboard boxes.  The small boxes/ cages I just cut a large square on each side and glued a cage design that I printed out on card stock.  This saved me the time of painting them.   However I don't think they turned out quite as pretty as the larger boxes that I did paint.  Once everything was painted and assembled I added some crinkle paper to the bottom of the box for straw.  I let Mara choose the animals she wanted for each box and boy was she particular.  If you look closely you'll see that most boxes had a Mommy and a baby.  Then I glued each one shut with hot glue.  The cages were even sturdy enough to place desserts on top of them.  This was my favorite part of the whole party and Mara's too I think. 


With a house full of 5 and 6 year olds I wanted to keep everything simple and easily accessible. So I turned the craft/eating table into part of their entertainment. The table was covered in brown kraft paper with a place mat/frame painted on to each place setting.  There were crayons for the children to decorate their own frame or just doodle on the table.  

Using hot glue and animal print felt I made headband animal ears for each child.  It was much cheaper to make my own than buy them premade. 

We had a sweet little owl hanging over the table to watch the kids while they worked. 

I designed these cage treat boxes for the kids to put their Pom pom animal craft in. When they were all set up side by side it was like we had our own mini zoo on the shelf. 


I organized the supplies in cute little paper cups from The Pretty Party Shoppe.  They were the perfect size for little fingers. 

Since it was a rainbow zoo I let the kids pick whatever pieces they wanted to use and then an adult hot glued them together for them.  Everything held together nicely and turned out super cute. 

Then when they were done each pom animal got his own little cage. 

Mostly the kids just ran around and had fun at the party.  Since they were so young I didn't focus to much on structured games or events.  They were happy to dig into our dress up trunk and get their faces painted and wear their animal ears.  It was exhausting but so fun to see Mara with her friends from school giggling and playing all over our house. 

Mara's best friend.  He is such a sweetie and so so silly.  For our lunch we had corn dogs with rainbow goldfish crackers, to go with our theme. 

Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet Mara! 

(and thanks)

Party Printables and styling: Sunny by Design
Photography: Sunny Duran
Printing: Paper + Pop
Zebra Fondant toppers: Kima's Konfections
Candy cups and paper straws: The Pretty Party Shoppe
Plastic square milk bottles: Party On Designs

These will be available in my shop within the next few weeks.  If you need them before that just contact me on Etsy