August 5, 2010

out of this world party decorations

It's never to early to start planning for a party!

Right around the time that Malcolm turned six months old, I found myself "researching" birthday invitations on Shutterfly. After finding a really cute one, I decided that, for his first ever birthday celebration, my little guy would have a space-themed party. Not only could I see myself finding (or making) decorations that fit the theme rather economically and easily, I was thrilled to incorporate something science-related.

What can I say?

If you haven't noticed already, I'll say it again: I am a total science nerd!

The first thing that popped into my head regarding cute decorations was to create the planets of our solar system from inexpensive foam balls and paint them using craft paint.

A quick trip to my local craft store yielded all the necessary ingredients ...

Foam balls of different sizes (and a couple foam rings):

Acrylic craft paint in a variety of colors and shades, some foam brushes, and other assorted paint brushes for smaller details (like Jupiter's "Big Red Spot" or Earth's land masses, for example):

From there, it was as simple as letting my creativity (and science geekiness) take over.

Since I planned to make multiples of each of the planets, I completed them in batches. The following tutorial shows you how to make Saturn (the most complicated planet, because of its rings).

First, I painted all of the foam rings and balls that I would need to complete my batch ... This can be done as simply or as intricately as you want! I chose my colors and patterns from memory, but you could certainly find a book with accurate pictures of each of the planets. To add dimension to the rings (and a little sparkle) I used some glitter glue pens that I had laying around.

Next, I took some 2.5 inch floral pins (for pinning boutonnieres) and removed the "pearls" using a pair of wire snips.

Once the "pearls" were gone, I carefully pressed one pin in on each "side" of the ring, making sure it passed all the way through the ring and into the ball. I did this four times to ensure that it would have a secure hold.

Here are the finished Saturns:

Here are *all of the finished planets:

*My husband was "disgusted" that I did not include Pluto (his favorite planet). Unfortunately, since it has been demoted to "dwarf planet," I couldn't, in good faith, add it with the others. If I did, I'd also have to make Ceres and Eris ... And that would just confuse everybody! This is a one-year-old's party, after all!

Pictures of these decorations in action will follow in September!

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