For #1’s third birthday, I threw him a Toy Story-themed Birthday Party and did all the decorations for under $20! Let me tell you how…
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First, I love the Dollar Tree. I cannot praise it enough! I use it for most all of my party decor, party supplies, potty training presents, stocking stuffers, you name it. The place is a money-saving gold mine!
Now, I love parties, and events in general. I used to run events as my profession, so I’ve gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. And, since that profession was for a local government, I got really good at throwing events with next to no money.
Sketch Your Ideas
It is super important to sketch out what you envision and make a shopping list from that. If you end up in the aisle with streamers and can’t remember what color was coordinating with what, you may be in trouble. And, if you buy the wrong color, you may have to rework the whole deal.
So, I sketched out my design. I’ll refrain from including it here because my artwork just isn’t up to public display. But my shopping list ended up something like this (everything was purchased from the Dollar Tree, unless otherwise noted):
Toy Story Party Shopping List
- Light blue, plastic tablecloth ($1)
- Paper products – plates, silverware, napkins ($4)
- Red, yellow, blue and green posterboards ($2.76)
- Bag of balloons in mixed colors ($1)
- Yellow balloons ($1)
- Blue streamers ($1)
- Cardboard tri-folds ($1.76 at Walmart)
- Foam tri-fold ($3.96 at Walmart)
- White cardstock ($2.12 at A.C. Moore)
My total ended up coming to $18.60 + tax.
Things I Had
I also utilized these things that I already had around the house:
- Paper cutter
- Printer, ink
- White paint marker
- Metallic silver Sharpie
- Random scraps of colored cardstock
- Purple balloons (leftover from my birthday)
- Green streamers (leftover from #1’s first birthday)
- Cardboard (from a recent delivery)
- Skewers (from the kitchen)
- Basket (repurposed from holding toys)
- Claw (part of #1’s toy collection)
- Every Toy Story character ever made (because #1 already owned them all)
Now, it’s not necessary to already own all of the characters, that was just an added bonus. And, as you can see from the pictures, they worked really well with the decor.
*Names have been redacted to protect the adorable.
Now that you’ve seen my handiwork, let me tell you how I did it all.
Toy Story Birthday Party Decor
I started by hunting down a template for the clouds in Andy’s room.
I printed out the cloud template and cut out a dozen large clouds and a dozen small clouds. After taping them onto the light blue, plastic tablecloth, the backdrop was done.
I hung the backdrop across our fireplace and topped our mantel with all the Toy Story characters I could find in our house. Each end of the mantel had balloons and streamers to give some size to the display.
For the center of this grand display I handcrafted a Toy Story-themed sign with help from the Toy Story Logo Maker.
Now, I didn’t like how the whole thing looked right off the logo maker site, and it doesn’t give you the ability to add in the number. So, I ended up generating one letter at a time, printing them off (in black and white, on regular printer paper) the size I needed, and using those as stencils to cut the letters and number out of poster board.
Balloons and Streamers
One side had purple and red balloons with green streamers. Clearly, Buzz Lightyear.
And the other had white balloons with cow prints drawn on them with a black Sharpie, yellow balloons with checkers drawn on them with a red Sharpie, and blue streamers. You guessed it, Woody.
Toy Story Photo Booth
What’s a party without a photo booth these days? So, I moved on to the photo booth and props.
The printable props came from this great site:
And, once printed on cardstock, I just cut them out and taped them to wooden skewers I had in the kitchen.
Photo Booth Backdrops
The photo booth backdrops took a little research, and that meant pausing, rewinding, and pausing again the DVR’d copy of Toy Story we have had saved for over a year.
I drew the bank, the Mr. Potato Head ‘Wanted’ poster, Buzz’s spaceship, and a saloon complete with “swinging” doors. I also took a white paint marker and silver, metallic Sharpie and made dots on black foam core to give a space look.
The beauty is that you’re modeling this stuff off of Andy’s handiwork, so you can create some fantastic scribbles without regard to necessarily coloring in the lines.
Toy Story Party Games
Pin the Eyes on the Alien
I used green and blue poster board and random scraps of colored cardstock to form the alien. He purposefully doesn’t have eyes, because one of the games was ‘Pin the Eyes on the Alien.’
The other game was a timed claw game. I set an empty basket a short distance away from the players and they had to use the claw to pick up four small toys, one at a time, and carry them to the basket, run back and continue until all the toys made it in. I timed each player and the winner got, well, birthday cake.
Speaking of birthday cake:
Toy Story Birthday Cake
In the past I’ve made the Fisher-Price Xylophone out of cake, and his second birthday brought a goofy Minion cake. This year, though, had to be Buzz!
I’ll be the first to admit that, while I can bake a cake, I can’t make it look very pretty. My layers are never even and my crumb coat is a joke. Paul Hollywood would hang his head in shame.
Have no fear though, that’s why Walmart put in a bakery! All I did was order a chocolate 1/4 sheet cake with green icing. It was ready to pick up the night before the party so I could decorate it with a few extra things. Yes, the cake cost $18, and yes, it would have cost less if I had just baked it, but it sure wouldn’t have been that clean.
I topped the grass green marvel with:
- Fun Dip sticks painted with blue, green and red food coloring.
- Fruit Roll-Ups cut into a circle.
- Extra white icing that I added some blue and yellow food coloring to.
The cake accouterments were purchased from the Dollar Tree and cost $3. We already had the food coloring and candles at home. The cake came to a total of $21 + tax, but I’ve excluded that from the decor budget.
Even if you do include the cake, it’s hard to beat a birthday party with decor, two games, a photo booth and a cake for under $40.
Good luck with your upcoming Toy Story Birthday Party! Comment below what additions you make and your total cost.
For tips to save even more on your party, read my Birthday Rules post.
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