a party studio

Printable party supplies, ideas and creativity

Banner Tutorial August 1, 2011

Here’s another look for putting together a beautiful birthday banner. There are a few different ways to put together a banner. If this isn’t the look you were going for then check out my previous tutorial on hand tied banners over here.  For pennant banners, I prefer this look. It is also much quicker to assemble (hooray). For this tutorial, I am making the banner from the Fiesta collection available from my Etsy store. I love the bright colors!

You will need:

paper slicer


printed banner from my store

3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon

hole punch


Step one:

Cut your banner letters using the paper slicer.

Step two:

Punch holes in the corners. Where you punch the holes isn’t too important, however, you want all the letters triangles to be identical. Consistency is the key to a beautiful looking banner. What I like to do is use some scrap paper to make a template. Mark your first hole on the template and punch a hole. Now use the template on the actual triangle letter. For the opposite side, flip the template over. This ensures that the hole is in exactly the same location. Once you’ve punched the two holes in your first letter, you can place this letter over the other ones to mark where you are going to punch the rest of the holes.

Step three: 

Once the holes are all punched, you can thread your ribbon. For this banner, I used a total of 78 1/2 inches of ribbon but you can use less if you have smaller gaps between the individual letters or between the two words. Also, if you don’t want one very long banner, you can make two banners- one for Happy and another one for Birthday. Don’t forget that you will need extra ribbon on the ends if you are planning on tying the banner to something.


Tutorial: Large Tissue Pom-Poms July 9, 2011

About a year ago I saw tissue pom-poms for the first time on the Martha Stewart website. Sometimes people call them paper flowers and you can totally see why. Don’t they look like enormous dahlias?  I thought they looked beautiful and are a great alternative to paper lanterns for party decorations. Isn’t this beautiful:

Martha Stewart

I have decided to make a more detailed tutorial because there are a couple tricks to getting perfect, full pom-pons. The two most important would be to use good quality tissue paper. I once helped a neighbor make large pom-pons and she’d brought her tissue paper at T J Maxx. It was very thin paper and the final pom-pons drooped. For these pom-poms, I used tissue paper from American Greetings and it worked great. Each pack contains 9 sheets. If you want even fuller pom-poms you will need to use 12 to 16 sheets all together.

You will need:

packets of tissue paper

alligator clips

monofilament (fishing line)

floral wire


supplies for the pom-poms


1. Carefully open the packet of tissue paper and unfold it. Keep the tissue paper stacked neatly. Use an alligator clip to keep the tissue paper stacked. This really helps to  keep the paper neat and in place. I like to put two alligator clips at the front of the paper (where I will be folding) and one on each side.

Attach alligator clip

2. Start folding the tissue paper. Use an accordion fold about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. The important part here is keeping the fold consistent.

Fold the tissue paper

Accordion fold


3. Keep folding until you reach the end of the paper. Now, you’ll have a rectangular accordion. The last fold may be a lot shorter than the rest of the folds and that is ok.

Final fold

4. Cut your floral wire so that it measures 18 inches. Fold it in half. The wire may not be completely straight and neat. Again, don’t worry about that, because no-one will see it when the pom-poms are finished. Now, you need to loop the floral wire around the middle of your tissue paper. I like to loop the wire twice and then twist it at the top.

Fold the floral wire in half


Twist the wire around the paper

5. The next step is to cut the ends of the tissue paper. You can either cut the ends into triangles (for a Dahlia look) or scalloped (for a softer look). It is very hard to cut through all the layers of tissue paper at once. What I do is cut in stages- I cut half of them and then do the other half, doing my best to get a clean cut. Use good quality, heavy, sharp scissors!

Cut half the tissue paper

Cut ends into triangle

6. Start carefully separating each layer by gently pulling it upwards and out. Pull away from the center. Do this very slowly and gently because you do not want to rip the delicate tissue paper.

Separate the layers

Be very careful to not tear the paper


Pull layers away from the center


Continue separating layers


7. Once you’ve separated all the layers on one side, continue to do the other side.

Do the other side

completed pom-pom

8. Once the layers have all been separated, you have a completed pom-pom and you are ready to hang it. Cut your fishing line to whatever length you want and knot it on the floral wire that is in the center of your pom-pom. To hang these, you can tie the monofilament around a dress maker’s pin (sewing pins that have a flat top) and push these into the ceiling. This method leaves the tinniest hole that no-one is going to notice once the pin is removed. The great thing about using fishing wire to hang your pom-poms is that they look like they are floating. No-one will see the wire.

Tissue pom-poms

Of course, if you don’t have the time or the energy to make these yourself then you can order the pom-poms online from various Etsy sellers. They will ship the pom-pons to you, ready for you to separate the layers! This is a great option, especially if you are having a hard time finding tissue paper in the color you want or if you want a rainbow effect, such as the one below from PomLove.

Rainbow pom-pom




Pink and Yellow Birthday Cake June 5, 2011

Remember the post about the amazing Neapolitan cake by Sweetapolita?

I decided to make a similar cake for my daughter’s upcoming 4th birthday. I don’t bake. I don’t consider myself a baker. I don’t even make cupcakes or cookies. In fact, I think I failed the Wilton level one cake decoration class I took three years ago! So for me to undertake a cake-making project for this special event says a lot. I promised to share the results so here you are…

I used store bought cake mixes. Strawberry cake and yellow cake. The yellow cake wasn’t quite yellow enough for my liking so I added yellow food coloring. I let the layers cool then trimmed the top so that each layer was flat. I made sure to stack them in order: pink, yellow, pink, yellow. I put buttercream frosting between each layer and strawberry preserve.

Four layers stacked


Vanilla buttercream frosting

After I covered the cake with buttercream frosting (also store bought), I covered the entire cake with desiccated coconut. This covered all the imperfections in how I spread the buttercream frosting. I finished the cake with fresh strawberries and a 4 inch party circle, available in my Etsy store. After printing out the circle and cutting it, I stuck it to a 6 inch lollipop stick. Very quick and easy way to add a special touch to the cake!

I would have liked smaller strawberries around the base and if I had frosting left over then I’d have piped some on the rim, at the base of the cake, to help keep the strawberries in their place. Ok, the strawberries were big, but they were super sweet and super juicy!  We call our daughter Aubrie Strawberry so this cake was perfect!

Finished cake

Blowing out the candles

Pink and yellow layers

Slice of cake



I will confess that I ordered vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from a local bakery so there was a back-up plan!!! I ordered very plain cupcakes… white buttercream frosting and then added pink and yellow sprinkles.  Actually,
it was great to have cupcakes because the kids LOVED those and the adults got to enjoy the delicious cake!



Cupcake with yellow sprinkles

Thank you to my friend Erin for loaning me the cake pans and the spatula! Couldn’t have done this cake without you! Also, Casey- thank you for the use of the cupcake stand (again)!








Tutorial: Ribbon Wand Party Favors June 2, 2011

Ribbon wands are really fun- my three year old loves moving the wand up and down and watching the ribbons twirl. She is completely fascinated by them and when ever her friends come over, they want to play with her collection of ribbon wands, too. So, here’s a tutorial. These are so easy to make! Of course, if you don’t feel too crafty then you can check out the ribbon wands in my Etsy store. I have some ready-made and ready to ship otherwise, you can order a custom set with any colors you choose!

You will need: 

grosgrain ribbon in red, white and blue, cut into 36 inch strands

(the blue used in this tutorial is called Capri)

hot glue gun

12 inch wooden dowel rod



1. Put a little spot of hot glue on the end of the blue ribbon strand (approximately 1 inch from the tip of the ribbon).

Spot of hot glue

2. Place the red ribbon directly on top and press down firmly to adhere.

Start to stack ribbon

3. Put a little spot of hot glue on the end of the red ribbon strand (approximately 1 inch from the tip of the ribbon) and top with the white ribbon.

More glue

In this way, the red ribbon is sandwiched between the blue and the white ribbon.

4. Loop the ribbon as though you are going to tie it. Then, slide your dowel rod in the middle of the loop.

Loop ribbon for form a knot

Get ready to knot

5. Put a dab of hot glue on the dowel rod, approximately 1 inch from the tip.

Dab hot glue on dowel rod

6. Now tighten your ribbon loop so that it is knotted on the hot glue.

Tighten the loop/knot


Completed wand


Safety note: For children under the age of 4, I use ribbon that is 12 inches long. The long strands of ribbon could be a strangling hazard for little kids so make sure they are being supervised!


Dress by Mels Marvelous Designs


Pillowcase dress

Ribbon wands

Thank you to Mels Marvelous Designs for supply the beautiful patriotic pillowcase dress for this photo shoot! Check out her Etsy store!

Also, don’t forget to become a fan of A Party Studio on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/apartystudio


Tutorial: How to line an alligator clip May 2, 2011

Once you know how to line an alligator clip, you can make hair bows and turn silk flowers into beautiful hair accessories! It is worth practicing this technique because it’ll open the door to making lots of different fun hair bows.

Lined alligator clips

You will need:

3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon (total of 4 ½ inches)

Fray Check


Hot glue gun and mat

Double prong alligator clip

Everything you'll need


Prepare your ribbon by cutting it to 4 ½ inches. Make sure your cut is straight across, not at an angle. Treat both ends of the ribbon with Fray Check to ensure it will not fray. Allow the Fray Check 10 minutes to dry.

Cut and treat ribbon

Cut and treat ribbon

Spread hot glue onto the ribbon. Spread it along approximately 1 ¼” of the ribbon.

Apply hot glue

(Please note: Your ribbon glueing process starts on the inside of the upper part or lever of the clip, runs along the outside, over the grips end and finishes along the outside of the lower, flat half of your alligator clip.)
Take the part of the ribbon that you have just applied the hot glue and place it under the top of your alligator clip. You will need to use one hand to open the clip (squeeze the end) and use your other hand to firmly press the ribbon against the clip as shown in the photo.

Hold ribbon against clip

Apply some hot glue on the top of the alligator clip. Simply run it along from the gripper end to the tips.

Apply more glue

Spread glue

Pull your ribbon up and over onto the glue you’ve just applied and in this way covering the top half of the alligator clip. Smooth the ribbon over the glue and press firmly for a few seconds whilst the glue hardens to ensure that the ribbon adheres to the clip.

Fold ribbon

Press ribbon

Hold the clip in one hand and take the piece of ribbon and bend it back. This will make sure the ribbon is not in the way when you apply the hot glue on the edge of the clip’s grip.

Side view

Very carefully apply glue on the upper clip grip. The glue goes on the edge, as shown in the photograph. Be careful because you can easily apply too much glue. You just need a small amount.

Apply glue

Firmly press the ribbon against this blob of glue. Use your pointer finger to press the ribbon into the notch between the two clip grips. Hold the ribbon against the glue for about 10 seconds to ensure it sticks properly.

Press ribbon

Now, bend the ribbon back. Again, you want the ribbon to be out of the way when you apply the next blob of glue. Place a small dollop of glue on the other clip grip.

Apply more glue

Use your finger to firmly press the ribbon against the glue. The ribbon will ‘dip’ in the middle of the clip, between the two grippers.

Press firmly

Place the top of the alligator clip (the gripper end) against your glue mat so that the ribbon is laying flat. Spread hot glue on the last of the ribbon.

Spread glue

Take this piece of ribbon and place it on the back of the alligator clip. This completes the ‘lining’ of the clip.

Press firmly

It is a good idea to now open the clip. You can remove any stray blobs of hot glue using your finger. You want to make sure that there isn’t any hot glue seeping through the gap of the two prongs because this could dry up and stick the clip together. That is why I like to always open the clip at the end and ensure there’s no unwanted glue on the inside!

Open clip and remove excess glue

Et voila! A gorgeous partially lined alligator clip!

And if you never master this technique, don’t worry… there are lots of Etsy shops selling handmade lined alligator clips. Check out these cute rainbow clip set from Mommy and Me Boutique!

Rainbow clippies

Set of clippies


The first few clips you line may not look perfect. That is ok- don’t get rid of them because once you attach a bow or a flower to the clip, it’ll be covered and no-one will see any imperfections.

Lined alligator clips make the basis of any bow but they also look very pretty by themselves, especially if you use a patterned ribbon.


Tutorial: Personalized Candy Bar Wrapper April 25, 2011

Things you’ll need:

Print out wrapper*. Be sure to use bright white heavy paper

Bars of chocolate (1.55 oz)

Paper cutter

Adhesive such as a glue stick or photo tabs

Stylus (useful but not essential)

The things you'll need

*I can make personalized chocolate bar wrappers to match any of the invites in my Etsy store or I can make a design for you from scratch. You think of the theme and colors and I’ll create it! For this tutorial, I used the Sailboat wrapper.

Step 1: cut the paper on the grey line. Use a paper cutter to ensure a straight neat edge.

Cut the wrapper on grey line

Step 2: fold on the black line at the top of the illustration. Use the flat end of the stylus to sharpen the crease of the fold.

Fold on top black line

Use stylus to crease sharp crease

Step 3: fold on the bottom black line. These are the only two folds you’ll need to make. Again, use the stylus to get a nice crease.

Fold on bottom black line

Use stylus

Folded wrapper

Step 4: slip the chocolate bar behind the wrapper.

Insert bar

Insert bar to wrap

Step 5: turn the wrapper and the chocolate bar over so that you can apply adhesive to the back of the wrapper. I like to use a glue stick for this.

Turn over

Apply adhesive

Fold wrapper on itself

If you are using a glue stick then you’ll need to press very firmly for a few seconds to make sure it sticks.

Press firmly

Et voila! Cute personalized chocolate bar wrappers– the perfect party favor! These are a huge hit every time I throw a party- adults love them, as do the kids. Plus, the personalization mean that these wrappers make fabulous keepsakes. When you do these every birthday, you can create a fun way to track milestones.

Personalized chocolate bar

Custom party favor

Check out the other personalized chocolate wrappers that I have made in years past for my daughter’s birthday parties!


Tutorial: making an Etsy treasury April 3, 2011


What is a treasury?


An ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery!

Etsy treasuries are so much fun to look at and also to make. In my free time (ha ha ha- that is a bit of a joke nowadays- what free time!!!), I love surfing through the website and creating a beautiful treasury. Here is a glimpse of my most recent one, called All Tangled. You can check out the complete treasury– with all 16 items- on Etsy!


Go to the Etsy homepage.
Bottom left, click on ‘treasury‘ (under ways to shop)
On the right click on ‘create a list‘ (under curator tools)
You’ll have 16 squares to fill. Just copy and paste the item URLs.

Really, really good treasuries end up on the Etsy front page (FP). Good treasuries should:

  • have all the tags completed
  • use beautiful pictures
  • have a theme (could be color, holiday, specific item, etc)
  • use a catchy title
  • check back on your treasury in case you end up with open spots
  • post your treasury on Facebook, Stumble Upon, etc and let all your friends know about it!

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