It’s never easy putting together DIY parties. In fact it’s a lot of work. But one good reason why we opt to do it ourselves is to keep things budget-friendly. Another reason is that we can’t seem to pass up an opportunity to try new crafty things.
Jo’s fifth birthday celebration was “street” themed. She wanted graffiti, she said. I really think she just meant she wanted to paint a wall. But we rode that idea and came up with this low-key street culture inspired party theme. And here are some of the simple things we prepared — all inexpensive and done at home — to pull of that “Kween Jo street style”.
I patterned the invite after that popular “Off-White” design aesthetic. “Off-White is a huge fashion label most recognized for the quotation marks and stripes in their designs.
FAUX WHEATPASTE PROPAGANDA POSTER WALL
I used Jo’s photos, similar to the ones on her invite, on a poster layout. I had her write her name and make doodles then printed them grayscale on letter-size sheets of pastel paper. We had a bunch photocopied then posted them haphazardly on a wall. We didn’t actually use wheatpaste because we didn’t want to ruin my in-law’s garage wall but some masking tape did the job quite well and I got the gritty propaganda poster look I was going for.
REPURPOSED INSTAX CARTRIDGES
This is a project I have been waiting to work on for quite some time now. I have kept almost every film cartridge I’ve ever used, keeping in mind that I can come up with something to do with them later on. This seemed like the perfect event for it and it turned out to be not so difficult at all.
I simply hot-glued three or four cartridges together. And then, using some leftover spraycans I had at home, I painted these cartridge structures, mixing and matching bright colors. I didn’t forget to use some pink, of course. Once dried, I slipped Instax prints of Jo’s photos into the slots. In some slots, I put in drawings she and her cousins had made. Then I stacked them, two or three together, and placed them in the middle of the table as centerpiece. Easy peasy graffiti! Guests particularly enjoyed looking at Jo’s photos from when she was still so small.
I printed out sticker name tags that served as actual name tags at the party but they are also inspired by graffiti slaps you’ll see on walls, posts and fire hydrants all over town.
BUTTON PIN MAKING
Aside from eating, playing and catching up in lively conversation, we made sure Jo’s guests also had something to get busy with. We brought out our button pin maker and let everyone make their own pins using magazine pages, paper scraps, stickers and washi tapes. I didn’t expect them to get so into it and also get super creative! Happy it was a hit.
As a gift to Jo, our friends from Jacob’s Well Chai set up a DIY boba bar. They prepared simple steps on how to make them and provided three different tea syrups to choose from: Jasmine, Phuer and Oolong, as well as two different bubbles: black boba and popping boba. Our friends definitely had some fun mixing their milkteas.
I was exhausted after the party but also so thankful that Jo had “the best day ever.” She was happy to see her friends (most of which are grown-ups!) and receive gifts and be able to play with everyone. Big thanks to her grandparents who let us hold it in their garage! It may not have been an actual street but it was a long driveway and that was pretty cool. We didn’t exactly finish the piece we had started on the wall but we’ll get back to that soon enough. Our little punk will want us all to continue painting that for sure.