This is it! The time has come to start planning your baby’s first birthday! And I’m sure the biggest question you’re asking yourself is
“Where do I begin!?
We know we want to make the party special and fun and all without having to go over the budget.
What does that mean exactly?
To me, the best way to personalize and tailor a kid’s birthday party to your liking and without spending a fortune is to add DIY elements to it. And what better way to Do It Yourself than to plan a Monster 1st birthday party for your loved one?
My son is a Rainbow Baby so I knew right away I wanted to make his party a rainbow of colors. So… What’s easy to draw, doesn’t have to be perfect and looks fabulous with lots of colors?
This is your one-stop Monster themed 1st birthday party destination.
I have outlined my entire Monster themed birthday party from conception to execution for you with links to the more labor-intensive projects that required more detail and a longer explanation.
Organize your thoughts and Ideas
Having a solid outline to reference while planning and setting up a party is essential for staying efficient and organized.
I’m a firm believer that you need to outline a plan before you get started. That means grabbing a pen and paper and writing down the projects and activities I wanted to include in my son’s birthday party.
My house is small. Really small. So I knew I needed to be strategic while decorating for the party. To help with this I drew a diagram of the areas I wanted the guests to frequent and designated where I wanted everything to be set up within that space. And, as an added bonus, the diagrams proved to be really helpful to those assisting me with the party!
Let’s create some memories!
The Monster Plan
- Adopt a Monster
- Pin the Eye on the Monster
- Monster tri-fold display infographic board
- Monster Smash Cake with Cupcakes
- Highchair skirt
- Large birthday present table-toppers
- Onesie timeline
- Food table
- Decorations in General
- Balloon tower
- Monster puffs
- Rainbow crepe paper
- Table cloth
This is a such a fun and easy sewing activity that will make everyone at the party say “Awww!’”
I love this activity because it works for all skill levels. If you’re new to the sewing machine just keep the overall shape simple and use a bit more creativity on the faces. If you’re an old pro then feel free to let your inner monster out. Really, there’s no limit, no rules and it’s really easy to keep it cute and silly.
Pin the Eye on the Monster
- Monster Poster
- Monster Eyes
- Bandana or scarf
- Access to the internet
No party is complete without a few games! Here, I took the classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey game and tweaked it to my parties theme. Pin the Eye on the Monster was a blast at my son’s party and I just know the kids at yours will love it too! There are some available online already made but I found I could create my own for less money. It’s very easy!
I use Canva, a graphic design website, to create my graphics.
Create a Design
Determine what size graphic you would like to make. I chose to input custom dimensions for mine (24X36) This was the perfect size for my little party-goers. It was big enough to catch everyone’s eyes and small enough to fit on any wall. Canva will scale the images perfectly so they look fantastic once printed out
Give a few moments consideration on how you would like the color scheme to look. You want the monster to be the main focus so choose a background color that will be aesthetically appealing rather than distracting.
Add the Elements
- Now let’s create the graphic by choosing the monster and other elements and adding them to the poster .
- First, select Elements and complete a search for monsters. You do not have to pay for a Canva subscription as there are free elements to choose from. And even if you decide to buy one or two at a dollar a piece it won’t break the bank.
- Once you’ve decided on a graphic select and add it to your poster. Drag and resize the monster so it’s the dominant element on your graphic but be sure to leave room for text somewhere on the display.
- Select elements one more time and use the keywords “Box” or “Textbox” to search for a box you would like to enter your text into. Again, you can totally find some cool boxes that cost just $1.00.
- Now select “Add text” and select the font and size you want the lettering to be. I used Creepster for my graphic but feel free to look around as there are TONS of options.
Create The Eyes
Select Elements again and complete a search for “Monster Eyes” and scroll until you find one that will work for your monster. Size the eyes to fit on the monster and then move the element to a new page. Then create a duplicate of the eye in the number of eyes you need for the children that will be at your party. I had about 12-15 children RSVP so I went ahead and made 16 just to make sure I had a few extras on hand in case something went wrong. .
Order and Print
There are a few different ways to print out your monster poster and eyes, Try and find the most cost efficient by calling around and checking for coupons. A simple Google search for “Poster printing near me” should give you good results. Then just check to see if they have a deal or coupon running at the same time. Some places will deliver the poster to you, just keep in mind there will probably be an additional delivery fee if you go that route.
I loaded mine onto a flash drive and headed to a local printing store and asked them to print them for me in color. It didn’t cost a lot and saved me ink from my printer.
Final thought, while at the printing store you can decide if you want to laminate the eyes or not. This makes them a little more durable, especially while in kid hands. But it’s not necessary if you’re trying to keep costs down. Thankfully I own a laminator so I was able to laminate my eyes with no additional cost.
Cut and Prep the Eyes
Okay, we’re almost done! Now you just need to cut out the eyes so they’re ready to go on the day of the party! Don’t forget to procure a way for the kids to fasten the eyes to the poster. I just rolled up a little bit of tape on each eye after writing the kids’ initials on them. But maybe you have some double-sided tape in your home that would work too. Take inventory of your supplies and shop from home first and see what you have that might work.
The Big Day
The Big Day: Find a nice spot for your poster. Make sure there’s plenty of room for the children to line up and watch everyone else pin their eyes on the monster. My party was outside so I was able to tape it against a wall, at their level and have a small table next to it to hold the eyes, tape, and bandana needed to blindfold the children
I love the idea of using an infographic to draw attention to your child’s accomplishments throughout the previous year! Such an adorable way to highlight all their personality and milestones. I’m not the best at drawing freehand so I thought a digital version would look absolutely amazing as a table centerpiece for my son’s 1st birthday party and I’m so glad I did it!
There are only a few steps necessary to complete this fun and personalized display board. Grab your supplies and let’s get started!
Monster Smash Cake and Cupcakes
The birthday cake is the most important part of any birthday party, right? Having said that, if you have ever price shopped handmade cakes for a child’s birthday party, you would know they are very expensive. So pricey that I really couldn’t justify the expense for a small cake he was just going to put his hands in and destroy. I also love the idea of hand making my son’s cakes every year as something special I can do for him.
You’re going to need two small round cake pans for the smash cake along with cupcake pans or regular sized cake pans depending on if you’re doing cupcakes or a regular cake. I opted for cupcakes so I could offer both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes at the party.
- Mini round Cake pans
- Cupcake pans
- Cooling rack
- Liquid Food coloring
- Offset spatula and scraper.
- Piping tips and couplers.
- Piping bags
- Cupcake liners
- Cupcake tier (optional)
- Cake baking recipe and supplies
- Homemade buttercream frosting recipe and supplies
Bake the Cake
You want to bake your smash cake well ahead of time so that it has time to cool COMPLETELY or you won’t be able to smoothly apply the frosting. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap each of them with plastic wrap and cool them in the fridge overnight.
- Bake the cupcakes: Just like with the smash cake you want to make these the day before. Make sure they have cooled completely before storing them in an airtight container overnight in the fridge. There will be plenty to do the day of the party so you want to take care of what you can ahead of time.
- Mix the Frosting and Add Food coloring: Once your frosting it’s time to mix in your food coloring. I prefer using Liqua-Gel food coloring as I find it gives a more vibrant color and uses less drops to achieve it. You can also mix the colors together to make some really fun shades. Once you have your perfect shade transfer a portion of the colored frosting to a separate bowl for the crumb layer and set the remainder in the fridge to keep firm. Just don’t forget to take the frosting out in time to soften before frosting the rest of the cake.
- Crumb Layer: Pull out your cake turntable, it’s time to start icing! Use the smaller separate bowl of frosting to apply a thin layer of frosting all along the top of the cake with either your spatula or piping back. This is called a crumb layer and it’s going to help your second layer of frosting stick better. to avoid tearing the sponge, carefully spread frosting towards the sides of the cake. Once you have frosted the entire bottom layer apply the second cake’s layer on top and repeat the process. Put the entire cake in the fridge to cool and set the crumb layer. This should take about 20 minutes.
- Finish the Frosting: Once the crumb layer has set you can apply the rest of your frosting. I prefer to use a piping bag to add frosting to the top of the cake. Then use your spatula to slowly pull the frosting out and down the side of the cake, remember to have enough frosting to work with. It is much easier to manipulate the frosting in mounds so make sure you’re scooping enough. Use a scraper along the side of the cake to give it a smooth finish.
- Monster fur: It’s time to attach the piping tips the monster fur for your monster birthday smash cake and cupcakes. There are several fun ways to decorate so they resemble monsters and I found this amazing page that inspired me so much. Be creative and have fun with it! Depending on what time you have finished frosting you’re going to want to either refrigerate until later or layout your treats before the party starts. . I live in a warm climate so I decided to stick Jude’s smash cake in the fridge for a bit and then take it out an hour before we sang Happy birthday so it was soft enough to smash.
- Presentation How do you want to display your treats? I used these adorable monster cupcake tiers my mother bought for the party. For the monster smash cake, I just kept it on his high chair tray in my fridge with a cake cover over it. Then, when it came time to bring it to him I just snapped the tray to the top of his table as everyone sang to him. For the candle, I simply stuck it into the middle of the cake but did not light it in case he tried to grab it instead of blow it out.
A high chair banner is the most picture-perfect addition to any birthday party and incredibly easy to make.
The foundation of my highchair banner was purchased online and was the perfect beginning point to create a full and beautiful banner but it would be just as easy to start from scratch and make your own. You would just need rope, felt and various fabrics to tie on. Again, I just added some colorful tulle to make it my own!
To cut several lengths of tulle at once, measure and cut a piece of cardboard to the length you want your tulle to be. Keep in mind that you will be halving the fabric so your cardboard needs to be double that length.
For example, I wanted mine to fall at least 10 inches so my board was 20 inches long. Secure one end of the tulle to the cardboard and begin to fold the tulle over and around. Each side is one bunch so if you need 6 of one color you’ll need to wrap the tulle around 3 times front and back. Once you have wrapped the tulle carefully snip the ends and pull the strips off the board.
Secure each end of your banner so it hangs freely before you. I found looping the tulle was much easier with the banner draped in front of me than with it bundled up on a table. You want to be able to see it as a whole and adjust each strip as you go.
- To secure the tulle fold each strip so the ends touch and bring the folded strip to the rope.
- Place the top of the tulle to the rope, leaving a loop open at the top.
- Grasp the bottom of the strip, bring them up and back and through the loop.
- Then pull and tighten the tulle strip and spread out the bottom.
- Keep the knot loose and full, try not to tighten it too much.
- Repeat this process until you’ve looped and attached all the tulle.
Once completed, carefully fold the banner and set it somewhere safe. On the day of the party, you just need to tape it strategically around the base of the tray and voila, you’re done. There are other ways to fasten the banner to the high chair but it doesn’t seem necessary to me as tape worked just fine and didn’t damage the highchair.
Large Birthday Box Centerpieces
Items you will need
- Boxes of different sizes
- Wrapping paper
- Hot glue gun
- Hot glue sticks
- Additional embellishments
- Monster decorations
- Googly eyes
Continuing with the theme of colorful rainbow for my son’s birthday party I opted to create some fun birthday box centerpieces to help balance out the monster craft table.
These were so easy to make and cost less than $7.00!
Begin by gathering boxes of varying sizes and play around with them until you have a general idea of how you would like them stacked. I used some shipping boxes, bulk item boxes and other dry ingredient boxes found in my pantry. All which were easily recycled after the party! Then wrap each box in the wrapping paper of your choice. I was determined to not spend too much on this project so I purchased wrapping paper from the dollar store but if there’s room in your budget for more expensive paper have fun with it! Mix and match the patterns to make them really pop! Don’t forget to add the ribbon around the boxes before gluing the bottom of one box to the top of another.
Now that you have the boxes wrapped it’s time to glue them together. Starting with the second to last box in the stack, run the hot glue gun around the bottom and quickly fasten it to the top of your biggest and last box. Then work your way up till you have glued every box into place Allow the glue to cool before moving.
To put the finishing touches on your centerpiece birthday boxes just add some more ribbon, bows and any other decoration to tie the table together.
I made these boxes well in advance because I knew I could stash them away and check this project off my list. There’s so much to do leading up to a large birthday party that it’s nice to be able to get some things out of the way.
Bodysuit and Picture Timeline
This project definitely pulled at my heartstrings more than any other. Watching our babies grow over the first year is such a privilege and can seem to go by in a blur. This onesie timeline is a fun way to document your baby’s progress and give everyone something to say “Awwwwww” over.
I used a long string of lights with clips attached that I found on Amazon to display my timeline. I then went into my Google Photos and selected a picture from each month over the last year while also including a newborn photo. While, only a few tears were shed looking back over the past years photos but the real water works started as I went through his old bodysuits to find some to hang up. Whenever Jude out grew something, I would fold it and set inside a tote in his closet. This made finding bodysuits in the appropriate size much easier. Once I had selected the appropriate sizes, newborn through 12 months I attached them, along with the picture to the string of lights. All that was left was hanging them the day of the party. A task that I happily delegated to one of the many helping hands I had that day.
But, What About The FOOD!
The type of food you provide for your guests depends on the time of day you’re having the party. If it’s right at lunch time you might want to include something of more substance like pizza or a backyard BBQ, but because mine was scheduled for 2pm I opted to only have finger foods available.
A trip to Costco was definitely helpful and I was able to get most of everything I needed from there.
Fruit Platter: As another subtle nod to Jude being my Rainbow Baby I decided to lay out the fruit platter in a rainbow pattern. It was bright, colorful and the perfect healthy snack. I used; strawberries, cantaloup, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries, and purple grapes to complete the effect.
Vegetable Plate: I kept it just as colorful with cherry tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, yellow peppers, and broccoli.
Meat, Cheese and Crackers: I bought a bulk box of crackers from Costco along with a package of lack forest ham and swiss cheese. My lovely sister was kind enough to put the tray together by cutting the ham and cheese into bite size pieces and laying them out nicely on a platter I’d purchased at the dollar store.
Chips and Dip: No party is complete without chips and dip. Chips are a really inexpensive way to offer snacks at parties and that’s why everyone loves them. Be sure to buy an assortment and spread them around the party so there are always snacks within reach. Some ideas include tortilla chips, doritos, lays or even pretzels. You can never go wrong with queso dip, salsa, ranch, or bean dip.
Sweets! Now the best part! Sugar! I figured cupcakes were enough treats for the kids so I tried to make them special by giving them a rainbow assortment of colors. They looked so inviting and I could see the kids eyeballing them throughout the entire party.
Drinks: I kept to the classics, juice boxes, water bottles and some 12 packs of soda. We filled large ice chests up and let everyone grab what they needed.
Just be sure to provide plates, napkins and utensils at all food stations. I bought everything I needed at the dollar store for less than $10.00. And don’t forget to place trash bins throughout the party! This will keep the mess to a minimum and allow you to mingle more instead of doing cleanup.
- Balloon Tower Ordered online and extremely easy to set up. Buy your balloons at the dollar store and group them however you like!
- Table Cloths Another dollar store buy for me! I figured they were going to get dirty and it’s easy to find lots of different colors to create layers so might as well buy disposable. One tip to get most of the wrinkles out of these disposable plastic tablecloths is to hang them on a laundry line for 24 hours to help them lose their wrinkles.
- Hanging Pom Poms Purchased from, you guessed it, the dollar store. We randomly hung them off the porch ceiling and glued googly eyes to them. Very cute and inexpensive way to tie in the Monster theme.
- Monster Cutouts Ordered off amazon they were the perfect addition to the pom poms. We placed them on everything!
- Googly eyes I bought a few packs of really cute googly eyes from the dollar store and sprinkled them all around the tables.
- Rainbow Crepe Streamers: While shopping at Party City I saw the cutest rainbow streamers that I had to have for Jude’s party! We wrapped these around columns on my patio and I love the subtle nod to my Rainbow Baby.
Planning my son’s birthday party was such a fun experience! I thoroughly enjoyed expressing myself creatively for a party in his honor. Everyone adored all the personal touches and a good time was had by all.