Planning events is one of my favorite pastimes. Being able to craft a party that utilizes a beloved theme AND makes someone feel super-dee-duper special is so much fun! My son turned 2 in June, so beginning in January, I started brainstorming theme ideas for his party. He's not much of a napper, so I start way in advance since I get very limited time each day to design.
The funny thing? I chose a Construction/Tool theme before he was all that interested in it, and through the planning process, he became more and more fascinated with diggers and dozers and dump trucks. By the time his party rolled around, he was obsessed, so it all worked out. ;)
LOVE my Cameo...it allowed me to cut out the heading and the pieces I needed to create some excavators. I used Sticky Doos from Hobby Lobby to give the machines some depth, and tore pieces of brown paper by hand to give the 'dirt' a jagged look.
Next, I created favors for each of Beau's little friends. My mom, ever the incredible seamstress, used tea towels to make each child their own tool belt with two pockets.
I cut various construction vehicle from vinyl to create stencils for painting.
And the birthday boy helped remove the vinyl once the paint was dry.
I designed hang tags for some baggies I had leftover from a pegboard project and filled each baggie with chocolate rocks I found on Amazon.
Each tool belt was stuffed with a mini machine and a baggie of chocolate rocks.
Treats for our pals, ready to go!
Since we live out in the country, I knew I wanted to mark our driveway with a sign of some sort. I used my Silhouette to cut out vinyl letters to mask off black foamcore board.
Then, I learned the hard way (with a piece not shown here), that foamcore board does NOT like spray paint. Must be the solvents or something in the paint, but it makes the board bubble up and the paper backing peels away from the foam. SUCH a mess.
So, cue Plan B...acrylic paint. I tried a brush, but hated being able to see the brushstrokes. So I switched to a brayer I haven't used since my college days of linoleum block printing.
Because the paper soaked up the paint, it took several coats, but it worked pretty well. Once the paint dried, I peeled off the vinyl letters and cut a black strip around the outside edge to mimic a true traffic sign.
One project I do each year is an age shirt. Let me tell you, truck fabric is NOT easy to find! We ended up with this psychedelic construction vehicles print.
But, once the vehicles were isolated, they looked pretty cute on a plain, brown tee. I purchased orange and yellow tin buckets to hold snacks and forks. I happened to have some construction stickers laying around to decorate the tins. I found hard hats at the party store and added the CAT logo in black vinyl.
To keep stress low as the party approaches, I always make as much of the food in advance as possible. I knew I wanted to make dipped pretzel rods, so I was excited to read they could be done up to a week in advance. So, I dipped, sprinkled, and packed away our pretzel treats.
Sugar cookies are always a big hit, too. My parents sent me this set of tool cookie cutters they found on Ebay.
I like to use this cookie recipe, as it holds a cutter shape really well and isn't too sweet (the icing covers that!). I made royal icing in gray, brown, and yellow and got to work outlining and flooding all the cookies.
Cake decorating is a lot of fun to me, too. I had seen this tutorial about making striped cakes, and I knew it would be perfect for our construction zone theme.
Because the recipe makes two cakes, I was able to practice and perfect my angles. And my mess-making skills.
When it came time to decorate the cake, I pulled inspiration from multiple sources. I have a copy of the book What's New, Cupcake? and it gave me the idea to create 'trees' from Tootsie Rolls and sprinkles.
And of course, Oreo cookie dirt! I made Beau his own little cake mound out of scraps and trimmings.
I used fondant to make miniature traffic cones, then added dyed coconut grass and chocolate rocks to round out the landscaping.
Of course, there was a dump truck, hauling a load of rocks from the quarry.
A little construction zone tape put the finishing touches on the cake display.
I knew I wanted some sort of edible "boulder," so I made chocolate popcorn balls using this recipe. I made them late the night before the party and wrapped them tightly in cling wrap so the popcorn would stay crisp and not get soggy.
To set off the area in the kitchen where the food would be set up, I hung a black curtain over the windows. Then I created a banner from cut letters and shapes attached to satin ribbons.
As for party 'entertainment', what's better than a bunch of rocks and dirt to dig through?!
I set up our pop up tent and draped a tarp over the top for shade. Orange safety netting, marker flags, and painted signs rounded out the construction zone look.
Stay tuned for pictures from Party Day so you can see all these details in action!