February 2, 2011

Toy Story Birthday Party -- Free downloads and ideas -- To Infinity and Beyond...


So many things have changed since I first became a mother back in 2001.  And while I no longer have as much time, energy, or money as I used to, my desire to create birthday magic for my girls hasn't diminished one bit.  

This past weekend, I put together a Toy Story themed birthday party for my 6-year old daughter.  With a few creative touches and a little bit of elbow grease, I was able to create a fun and memorable party without breaking the bank, or staying up until 4:00a.m. the night before.


Step 1:  The Invitations

I've always been of the mindset that a nice invitation sets the tone for the whole party.  But what to do when you're short on time and on funds?  

I found my solution in the creative personalized invitations at printmyparty.com.  Print My Party creates personalized invitations that look like special event tickets, in dozens of styles (Disney themes, Super Heroes, Movies, popular musicians, etc).  Ordering online was incredibly easy, and I was provided with a proof in less than a day.  Once you approve the proof, you are able to print as many inviations as you like from your computer, or have them printed at a photo kiosk.  A personalized invitation costs only $12.99!  I had my invitations printed at Costco through their online service.  The invitations print 2 to a 5x7 sheet.  I was able to get 16 invitations for less than $4!  As an added touch, I created an "Etch A Sketch" mailing label for the envelopes (which I already had at home).  

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  I simply stumbled across printmyparty.com while browsing online for invitations.  I took my chances, was thrilled at the outcome, and am happy to share my honest and unbiased review.


Here are the Etch a Sketch labels that I created.  You are welcome to download and use them for free.  The font that I used for the addresses is called "Dim Wit" and can be downloaded for free by clicking HERE.   

Download the labels for FREE in MS Word Format by clicking HERE



Step 2:  Decor


FRONT DOOR and WALL DECOR:  The invitation set the tone that the birthday party was taking place in "Andy's Room".    So, when the guest arrived, I wanted to echo that sentiment.  I found a font called "Pastel Crayon" that mimics the look of a child's handwriting in crayon.  You can download "Pastel Crayon" by clicking HERE.  



Using this font, I printed out a sign that said "Andy's Room", mounted it on a sheet of red poster board (purchased from the dollar store), punched a hole in either corner, and looped through some rope.  I hung the sign on the front door along with the "Wanted" poster from  Toy Story 3.  


There are a few scenes in the Toy Story movies where you see drawings made by the character "Andy".  I found downloadable copies of Andy's "original" drawings and printed them in color on regular printer paper.  I mounted the pictures on the same sheet of red poster board, and hung them in the main party room. You can download Andy's pictures by clicking HERE.  


MAIN ROOM:  The dining room table was first laid with a white linen tablecloth, followed by red bandannas and a square of burlap.  I created towers made from classic Tinker Toys and Lego, which I used to support full-size toy versions of Woody and Buzz Lightyear that I borrowed from a friend.  The great thing about this centerpiece is that Buzz and Woody were interactive talking  toys, so they carried on a dialog with one another throughout the party.  In addition, we rounded up as many Toy Story toys as we could from the girls' rooms, and used them as instant decor.  


I got a lot of mileage out of a bucket of official Toy Story army men that I purchased at Target for $9.99.  Using butcher's twine, I created zip and rappel lines.  I affixed the army men to the twine using a small dab of hot glue.  This gave the appearance of the army men zipping in to the room and down the chandelier to the party table.  


Another classic children's toy, alphabet blocks, were a fun way to spell out a birthday wish, and add color to the table.  


In the movie Toy Story 3, the nefarious bear "Lotso" rides around in a toy dump truck.  Our cupcakes pulled triple-duty as a table decoration, cake, and party favor when they were served in individual dump trucks.


Step 3:  Games

The kids enjoyed a pinata shaped as Buzz Lightyear's space ship, and had a lot of laughs playing "Pin the Badge on Woody" and "Stick the Space Ranger Patch on Buzz" (both purchased from Party City), but the favorite game by far was, "Fix-up the Mixed-up Potato Head".  In this simple, yet fun game, two children at a time compete to put two very mixed-up potato heads back together.  They are each given a Mr. Potato head that has been assembled incorrectly.  The first one to put the potato head back together correctly wins!  I purchased the Mr. Potato heads from Target for $7/each.  



Step 4:  Movie

After the kids had run off some energy and shaken their sillies out with the games, we settled down in the living room to watch the original Toy Story movie.  The children were served popcorn in movie-theater style bags purchased from Smart & Final.  

Step 5:  Food & Drinks


Throughout the party, bottled water was always available to keep the kids refreshed and hydrated.  To make it extra fun, I designed a custom label that I printed on adhesive paper and wrapped around the small sized bottled waters.  You can download the labels for "Buzz Lightyear's Refueling Fluid" for free (non-commercial purposes only) right here:  

Click HERE to download the labels for free from Google Docs.
 


The health-food police may come and put the cuffs on me for this one, but we thought it would be fun to offer up a silly snack that made an appearance in Toy Story 2.  


We started the party at 2:00 p.m. so that we could serve dinner after the movie.  My daughter's favorite food is pasta, so we served "Slinky Dog" pasta (just corkscrew noodles with butter or red sauce), fresh fruit, and garlic bread.  Drinks were served in old fashioned milk bottles that I picked up at an auction, and were adorned with silly straws from the dollar store.  


For the "cake", chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting were dunked in a bowl of crushed graham crackers (with a few chocolate grahams crumbled in for contrast) for "sand".  Each cupcake went in to the bed of a toy dump truck, and got covered with more crumbs.  As a "topper", a Toy Story army man hitched a ride.  After the cupcakes were eaten, we gave each truck a quick rinse, and put them (along with the army man and silly straw) into each child's goody bag.


The birthday girl sure seemed to enjoy all the Toy Story fun.


And so did her friends!

I hope you did too!


45 comments:

  1. That last picture is great, I know it makes all your work worth it! What fun, and you are so creative, thinking of things that I never would have, right down to the water bottles. This was not just a party, it was an all day affair with dinner as well. Everything is just adorable, and thanks for the labels!

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  2. Wow. You did an amazing job. My kids love Toy Story so maybe I will do this for my youngest son's birthday in a couple of months. Thanks for the freebies too!

    I would love for you to link this up to my Fridays Unfolded linky tomorrow at http://stuff-and-nonsense.net

    Blessings,

    Alison

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  3. Your parties are just the best! So professional and personal! Your kids are adorable and will cherish the memories you are making with them! Thanks for being so generous with the download info and those dump cakes, too perfect!
    Lezlee

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  4. Wow what a great party!! I love the cupcake dump truck idea, so clever!! I also love the invitations, I will have to keep that in mind! Thank you for the nice comment on my blog!

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  5. Oh, my- how adorable!!! You did such a great job of making every detail so special for your daughter! And so thrifty too! Thanks for sharing the printables and for linking up! Please let me know when your party is and I'll be linking up! ;)

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  6. Wow, you are an amazing birthday party genius! I cannot believe the thought, creativity and effort you put into that party - I'm sure it will be a memory to last a lifetime!

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  7. Hi Jenn! Thanks for dropping by my blog and for the lovely comments! I like your blog too. And you did such an awesome job with the Toy story party, love the dump truck cup cakes and specially labelled H20 bottles. I have followed you as well. Happy blogging!

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  8. Wow, you did an amazing job!! I love the dump truck cupcakes. :)

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  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Oh my goodness, this birthday party is amazing! What a creative mama you are! I haven't seen Toy Story 3, but boy do I want to now! LOVE it!

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  10. Wow! I have never seen Toy Story but your party is amazing! I bet the children had a blast! Very kind of you to share your labels. I will pass your site along to a couple friends and bloggers. I am sure they could use them!

    Take care,
    Kerri

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  11. OH MY GOODNESS HOW SMART ARE YOU!!!!!!!!?!??!?!! LOVE the idea and would LOVE to throw this party for my son on his bday! Awesome ideas, Jenn!
    Thank YOU!
    -CK

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  12. Oh my Jenn!! That was absolutely amazing! You are such a creative, clever and inventive creator!! lol. I'll just bet you're the best mum in the whole world right now!? Well done you!
    I'm sure I've missed many wonderfully creative things since I last visited. Hope you're keeping well. x

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  13. That was an amazing party! I can't choose my favorite thing. It might be the army men and their zip lines. You're so creative!

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  14. Your blog was recommended to me and I wanted to say that your creativity and craftiness for this was fantastic! Love it! :]

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  15. holy smokes. that party is AMAZING! seriously. well done! new follower (:

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  16. Oh my...this is one of the most fun birthday parties I've seen. Congratuations on pulling off economically! Great presentation and thank you very much for all of the tips and links!!
    It is pretty ironic that both posts had Toy Story characters this week...of course you can think of a sheriff and not think of Woody! Thanks for Stopping by Organzied Chaos and again for the wonderful party ideas!!

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  17. Very cool party and a very cool blog. I surfed in from SITS.

    I wish I was crafty. I'm more of an "idea" person and I leave the actual doing to somebody who knows what they're doing:-)

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  18. That is too cute! What agreat theme for a boy or girl B-day party!
    Thanks for linking up with Fun for Kids Friday.
    http://www.localfunforkids.com/

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  19. What an amazing party! I love all of the little details. She's going to love is when she gets older and realizes all that you did. What a fun birthday!!

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  20. This looks like an awesome party! :) Love it!

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  21. What a fabulous party!! I loved all of your ideas! So very creative and fun and easy! Thanks for sharing!

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  22. WOW! My daughter would absolutely LOVE this party! Her birthday is next month and she was saying she wanted Toy Story!! I'm so happy! I found your blog! It's so Inspiring!!!!!! Thank you!

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  23. WWOOOOWWWW! I came over to your blog from Alison at Oopsey Daisey and I LOVE your blog! The Toy Story stuff is AMAZING!! I have to go get the army men! My 3 year is having his party this Saturday and I hope I can plan as well as you have! thanks for being so generous with your ideas!

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  24. Wow, these are great ideas. I am throwing my daughter a toy story party in May. thank you for the label pdf, how did you end up adhering them to the envelopes? did you just cut them out and paste them or did you print onto lable paper? Thanks for all the great tips.

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  25. I wonder if your daughter knows how cool you are? This was AMAZING. Totally stumbled upon this randomly, and I just love your blog. Thanks for all the freebies and the inspiration. Definitely linking you to my blog!

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  26. I have a question for the Etch a Sketch labels, how do I use them for address labels, it will not let me modify the doc? Do I print them first, then do a word doc label and print over that? Also, what size label do you use? Thanks so much for the ideas, my little one is going to be so excited!

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  27. Hi Gage's Mom,
    I tried to send a reply, but it looks like you have your settings set to "no-reply". I'd be happy to send you a copy of the labels in MS Word. Just send me a private message with your email address and I'll get that right off to you. Thanks!

    Jenn

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  28. Such wonderful ideas! I was not able to download the etch a sketch or buzz water bottle labels for free. If you could send them to me I would so appreciate it! Thanks so much!
    Blessings,
    jmpierc@msn.com

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  29. Love the ideas! I had trouble downloading the bottle lables as well. Would you mind forwarding them to me too?

    Thanks!!
    alyssa@petersonpickle.com

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  30. Loved everything! I had trouble downloading the bottle labels as well. And, they are so cute! Would it be possible for you to send me a copy too?

    Thanks!!
    alyssa@petersonpickle.com

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  31. Would also love a copy of the bottle labels :) Thanks - love the ideas...

    amberkarns@hotmail.com

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  32. Truely amazing! What a fabulous party! I love that you paid attention to every detail.

    Our niece is throwing a Toy Story party for her daughter who is turning 3. I've been trying all weekend to download your waterbottle labels with no luck. I'm not sure why it's not working. Any chance you'd be willing to email me the file directly?

    Many thanks and again, GREAT party!
    Jennifer
    jenn_tejada@yahoo.com

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  33. Wow! I like the stuff it look so unique and fun. Keep up the good work guys very inspiring!

    catering in philippines

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  34. I loved your tips.
    The party was very nice and happy.
    I'm sure the kids loved it.
    I was inspired to decorat the party of my kids.
    Kisses from Brazil

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  35. Where can i print the ones for the water bottles???

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  36. Where can i print the labels for the water bottles????

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  37. Hi kandy909, I just checked the link for the water bottles, and it appears to be working from my end. Go ahead and cut it from this message and paste it into your browser: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7L_tq7uNQloZ0JmaHpLaEVQZGs/edit?usp=sharing

    Jenn

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  38. Thanks for all the tips! I ordered the invitations but can't seem to figure out how I can send my order somewhere to be printed. I'd rather have them printed somewhere than print them from home. How did you do this?

    Thanks!
    jennifer.ann.becker@gmail.com

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  39. Thanks for all the tips! I ordered the invitations but can't seem to figure out how to send them somewhere to be printed. I'd rather have them printed somewhere than print them from home. Any suggestions? I don't have a Costco account.

    Thanks!
    jennifer.ann.becker@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I know that Walmart also offers an online upload (with store-pick up) service. I'm pretty sure that Target and Walgreens do as well. Just make sure to follow the instructions for how to lay out the photos that was sent with the image from Print My Party.

      Jenn

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  40. Thanks for all these wonderful ideas! We're having a Toy Story themed party for my son next week, especially appropriate because we're moving next month, just like Andy! I love the water bottle labels - when you say you printed them on adhesive paper, what exactly was that? I know I've used Avery full sheet size labels for others things, but I don't know if that would stick to the bottle. Is there something else better to use?
    Last year, I just found duct tape that coordinated with the party theme and put that on the label - super cute too!
    Thanks!
    Debbie G

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  42. Wow! In love this party & all of your ideas are amazing. Thank you for sharing your hard work! I was wondering where you found all the dump trucks? Since you mentioned you were trying to be a little more economical, thought maybe you had found them for a steal somewhere!

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    1. Hi Jessica! Thank you, and thanks for asking about the dump trucks! I found them at Target in the section that had small beach toys. If I'm recalling correctly, they were under $2, which made them a great buy for a cake/favor combo!

      Jenn

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