Alice in Wonderland Party Prep – Part I (Decorations)

Well, my daughter’s Alice In Wonderland party was this past weekend and I will say it was pretty successful.  Thankfully, she is only 5 and just being the center of attention for a few hours is all she needs.  I desperately tried to make decorations that matched the theme, while staying on our very limited budget.  Of course, nothing turned out like the ideas that I found on Pinterest, no matter how simple the projects seemed in theory, but I have learned to accept my limitations.

Therefore, here’s a glance at what I did in the many weeks before the party, side by side with what I was trying to accomplish and how it all turned out.  It should give you a laugh.  But, in my defense, I did stay on budget thanks to my minimal DIY skills and power shopping months in advance so it turned out to actually be one of the least expensive parties we have ever done (currently patting myself on the back for the money aspect)! Enjoy.

Idea #1: Incorporating playing cards: I decided early on to just use a basic black/white/red “queen of hearts” idea for the food table so that I wouldn’t have to buy expensive plates, cups, etc.  As I have stated numerous times before, my creative ideas tend to flow hand in hand with my “how cheaply can I do this and still kind of pull it off?” brain.  I hit up Walmart’s generic party supply aisle and was quite pleased.  I now knew I had to use the playing card characters as inspiration to kind of pull it all together.  There was no way I could build the life-size men out of wood like some other parties I have seen,

An ideal decoration (obviously found on Pinterest)

nor could I realistically sit there and make a ton of tiny ones like those shown on the “children’s craft” ideas on the Disney website.  So, I decided just to buy a cheap deck of cards and string them on some left-over red and black ribbon (shout out to Becky who laughed when I told her that I would be recycling the pretty ribbon that she used at her son’s party earlier this year).

my spectacular card strings (used for the food table and the hearth on the fireplace)

I also ended up making “menus” for the food out of the leftover cards.

see my playing card labels...yeah, I'm that good.

Total cost: $.50.  Yep, I’m pretty awesome, even if my outcome wasn’t nearly as spectacular as it could have been.

Idea #2: Mad Hatter hats: I really wanted to be able to buy everyone huge mad hatter hats to dress up in at the party, but the cost of these hats really adds up, so I went with some tiny green hats (leftover from St. Patrick’s Day) that came in a multi-pack and let the kids decorate them with various art supplies I had lying around the house.

Some kids loved it, others could have done without it, but they ended up being cute decorations too.

Idea #3: Character tables – Alice in Wonderland is all about being eclectic, which totally works when you are on a budget, so I wanted to try to incorporate some of the other characters, even if they didn’t quite match the red/white/black general theme.  This turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought since our tiny city doesn’t have a Disney store and I didn’t want to spend a fortune ordering random stuffed animals and things we would basically only be using for 2-3 hours.  So, we improvised (I’ll elaborate on some of the homemade items in a minute).

White rabbit table (a white rabbit, a clock and the key to wonderland)

queen of hearts table (a heart "tree" and painted roses)

the caterpillar table (our version of the caterpillar and homemade mushrooms)

Idea #4: Talking flowers – I love the talking/singing flowers from the Disney version of the movie so I tried to find some ways to make something even remotely close to that and originally, this is what I was going for:

so cute in the little tea cups

However, I wisely tested this with some googly eyes on random silk flowers I had around the house and nothing made them stick to the flowers; not the adhesive already on the back, not glue, not tape, etc.  So, I found another plan: hanging cardboard flowers which the eyes did stay on!  These served double duty as they also welcomed the guest into the party room.  (Found a 6-pack on sale for $1 at Target! So lucky!)