Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to decorate a baby shower for $20 ...

spray paint, 10 balloons, a handful of dinosaurs and tapping into those kindergarten paper mâché skills. Done.

dessert table
{dessert table}

dino dessert!
{dino dessert!}

letters, deployed
{letters, deployed}

baby shower
{baby shower}

Okay, so this was not the most elaborately decorated Pinterest-y baby shower ever, but it was one of the most fun, laid back baby showers I've ever been to (co-ed party with pizza and pasta, minimum of fuss, and no one asked me to taste any baby food). Our friends wanted it simple but I begged for permission for a few (very minimal) decorations just to make it festive. The mom to be is one of the thriftiest ladies I know, so in that spirit I tried to keep the cost low and not go overboard.

I spent $10 on dinosaurs. The little ones came from Party City but I had to track down the larger ones at the dollar store. I have a shoebox full of spray paint, so I didn't have to purchase any. I primed them before painting them a couple different shades of green (Montana has the best spray paint colors).


the herd
{the herd}


$8 on balloons - they really do help let people know where the party is happening, so they're not just decorative.

$2 on dessert plates that matched the general color scheme.

The letters were a collaborative labor of love and halfway through I decided we were totally insane but persevered because I still can't come to terms with sunk costs. And I do love how they turned out. D printed out large letters on paper and used them as templates to cut out our letters (twice as many as we needed, so we'd have front and back). Then he made them three dimensional by sandwiching cardboard spacers between the front and the back. THEN I started the painstaking process of dipping colored tissue paper in watered down glue and draping it over the forms. I think I ended up having to do 5 - 6 layers (and let it dry completely between each) and it was layers 3 - 6 that had me really questioning our sanity. Unless you have hours of spare time (the commodity we were lacking), I'd recommend purchasing letters like these and maybe just spray painting them. I am SO GRATEFUL that we decided not to try to add "welcome" like we originally intended.

letter crafting
{letter crafting}

paper mache in progress
{paper mâché in progress}

Emily very kindly stepped in to help tutor me on the sugar cookies, because the last time I attempted decorating with royal frosting turned out so badly (although delicious-ly) that I never shared them here. Partially because I was embarrassed by my lack of skills and partially because they were for a bachelorette party and therefore mildly inappropriate. My current favorite sugar cookie recipe is this one, because it has cream cheese in it and is most similar to the one we used growing up.

sugar cookies
{sugar cookies}

Our friends picked up catering, a few of us brought desserts (those chocolate and peanut butter rice krispy treats were so amazing that I'm still thinking about them) and there were plenty of drinks. Everyone hung out and talked for hours. The perfect way to celebrate the imminent arrival of a new addition.

I wish I'd had a tiny bit of extra time because I'd have added cute kids books and very simple, small flower arrangements to scatter around. But, you know, life happens. And we all survived.


  1. so cute!!! sometimes simple is the best! without all the clutter, the few details are able to shine. your letters have a much more dinosaur-esque shape than most cardboard letters, so i'd say they were worth it!

  2. It's absolutely darling! Love the mini dinos and the cookies are perfect.

  3. I'm a fan of simple myself. Everything looks great. And I'm super impressed by the letters... I now have an urge to paper mache, even after your cautionary tale.

  4. I completely understand your problem with sunk costs. I cannot accept them either! Despite my boyfriend always trying to convince me otherwise. The spray-painted dinosaurs are adorable, btw.

  5. I love low key celebrations like this. I almost feel like everything has gotten to be too Pinterest-y.

  6. I love this! We are planning our little boys baptism with a party for family and close friends after, and I'm planning on keeping it really simple. Simple, but nice! It's fun to make decorations, but it shouldn't be stressful.

  7. this is so freaking adorable!

    perfect baby shower theme, first time I've seen it but
    it will also make for a beautiful birthday party!

    thanks for sharing!

  8. love the dinos.

    ps. has anyone else mentioned how sad they are about you removing your blog links on the sidebar?!

    1. This makes me sad too! I was using a widget that pulled my favorite blog links directly from my Google Reader and I LOVED it. It was super simple and let everyone see what blogs I was actually reading (and even what categories I had them in). But when GR died, so did my blog links widget. It means I have to go back and re-create them manually, which is going to take up more time than I currently have! But I will eventually get them back up. I'm still not over Google Reader going away. : (

  9. you know how i love it when you spray-paint.

    random, on the (awesome) dinosaur herd: i read somewhere the other day that t. rexes were closer in time to seeing justin bieber than they were to seeing stegosauruses. i can't verify this, but i will note that, like the t. rex, justin bieber has weird little arms.

  10. Looks perfect! And although the letters almost made you nuts, they turned out fantastic!


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