Friday, April 11, 2014

"the ART of the pARTy"

the ART of the pARTy by Alton DuLaney, April 2014
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the boys on the streets of West Hollywood are wearing tank tops - this could mean only one thing: Spring is here!  And what better time to host a little spring time soiree than right now! Just in time for the freshest and most festive season of all, here are some fun crafting projects you can do to customize any event and celebrate the ART of the pARTy!

First things first. In order to have a party you need to get others to come to your party. The best way to do that is with a festive invite.

Invitations by Alton DuLaney April 2014
I like to coordinate my invitations with the color palette and theme of my party. By starting with some standard note cards with matching envelopes, I use decorative tape, punched out shapes, clever postage, and creative  embellishments to add some individuality to my invites.

A few notes while on the subject. Send you invites out at least two weeks before the event so your guests will have time to schedule your party, and ask for an email RSVP to both make sure they got the invite, and that they are coming! Also, postage stamps are available in a world of options so chose one that matches your invite. Finally, April is National Letter Writing Month - so whether or not you are having a party, try sending someone a handwritten letter in a customized envelope or hand-crafted post card and see how much they appreciate it!

Letter writing is a big hobby of mine, so much so that I fondly refer to it as Mail Art. Here are just a few of my creations.
Mail Art by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Now that the invitations are in the mail, it's time to decorate your home for the event. A simple and fun way to do this is with bunting- creating your own flags, and banners using just a few simple ingredients.

Bunting by Alton DuLaney April 2014
For large scale bunting I use card stock in various colors, which I decorate with Scotch Expressions Tape, then using a hole punch I punch a hole in each corner, and string together with a ribbon. For smaller scale bunting, decorative tape can be attached to bakers-twine to create cute little strings of bunting that can dress up a table, a chair, a mantle, or even your front door.

Flags by Alton DuLaney April 2014
The same concept can be applied to create colorful "flags". Here I use decorative tape on bamboo skewers for flags that can be added to floral arrangements, stuck in planters outside your front door, to decorate the grounds at a park for a picnic, or as a cake topper. By using toothpicks, smaller flags can be created which are supper cute cup-cake toppers. Here I have punched out various shapes for added dimension.

Cup Cake Toppers by Alton DuLaney April 2014
The combination of the decorative tapes and the fun shapes dresses up any plate of cup cakes!

And speaking of dressing things up, here are a few more ideas for dressing up you home for a festive gathering.

Paper Pom Poms by Alton DuLaney April 2014
 Paper Pom Poms, made from layered tissue paper add a pop of color to any event. They can be placed strategically around the party or hung from the ceiling.

Vase by Alton DuLaney April 2014
If fresh flowers are more your style, you can easily dress up a simple glass vase by decorating it with colorful masking tape. Even deli-flowers look better when presented in a beautiful vase.

Flowers are just one part of a beautiful table scape, which you can customize to reinforce the theme of your party.

Table Scape by Alton DuLaney April 2014

For this Table Scape I use a 3x5 unlined index card and decorative tape to create name cards for my guests. I've also decorated paper plates, utensils, napkins, cup and straw - all from the party supply store but now customized to coordinate with my party theme. Here I have used a take-out container as a party favor for my guests, filled with mints.

Party Favors by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Party favors are a cute little gift, placed at the table setting, which can be used as name card or just a little something extra for your guests, Some examples would be small take-out containers, a tin with a clear top, paper favor boxes, and tiny gift wraps.

Custom Gift Wrap by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Whether you are the host or the guest, gifting is a huge part of entertaining. Always bring a hostess gift to a party to show your appreciation, and whenever you are gifting, put the present in presentation with a beautifully wrapped gift! Here I chose papers that coordinated with my party palette and embellished the gifts with fun ribbons and bows which I customized with decorative tape.

Feather Gift Wrap by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Another great embellishment to add to gift wraps is feathers! They add an unexpected twist and a colorful zing to any wrap.

Gift Tags by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Gift tags are yet another way to dress up a gift and identify the recipient.You can make your own from card stock and a punch, or buy basic ones and decorate them. Here I've added rhinestones, decorative tape, ribbon, and stickers to create customized gift tags.
Gift Bags by Alton DuLaney April 2014
A great gift wrap solution for any unusually shaped item, or a fun goodie bag to send your guests home with, is the gift-wrapped-gift-bag. Perfect for a bottle of wine, or a variety of small gifts in one bag. I add bows, stickers, ornaments, decorative tape, rhinestones, feathers, name tags, flags, buttons, and even attach a take-out container with an additional gift when making these unique bags.

The same concepts can be applied to create different party themes. Here are a few of my favorite:
Romance Party by Alton DuLaney April 2014
A romantic theme party is great for an intimate party of two, a Valentine's date, or to celebrate love any day of the year!

Wedding and Anniversary Party by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Mixing it up some with silver and gold creates the perfect theme for a wedding or anniversary party!

Patriotic Party by Alton DuLaney April 2014
Red, white and blue makes for a perfect patriotic party. Great for 4th of July, sporting events, tail-gate party, or a picnic!
Hipster Party by Alton DuLaney April 2014
The natural craft paper and ironic design motifs makes for a great hipster party. Also great for dad, the graduate, the eco-friendly, the philatelic, the traveler, or the professor!

Paper Arts Party by Alton DuLaney April 2014

Whatever the occasion may be, when all of the elements and all of the ingredients come together, you have the perfect party!
Alton DuLaney teaching 'the ART of the pARTy' at the "Craftication"event April 2014

The ART of the pARTy blog is based on a workshop I recently taught at the blogger's event "Craftication" in Ventura, California, April 4-5, 2014.

For more on entertaining and crafting with Paper Arts check out my class on

I love to work with Scotch Expressions Tape, available in hundreds of colors and patterns and finishes, from Washi to Masking to Magic. Available at major retailers.

I also love to use feathers which I source from the Feather Place, which stocks the largest variety of feathers in the USA, including many pre-made crafting items.

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