Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cars Themed Birthday Party {with printables}

I know I've talked about it a lot, and it was really fun to put together, and now I can finally share it with you! (Actually, my husband, who takes all our family party pictures and edits them beautifully, said the pictures were actually done a while oops!)

Okay, so here's the run down.
We had an afternoon birthday party for my youngest son's 2nd birthday party. After watching "Mater's Tall Tales" on Netflix about a billion times, I thought that would be a pretty good theme for his party.

Step 1: Find ideas on Pinterest.
My basic strategy is not to duplicate every single idea I find, but more to saturate my brain with ideas, and then adapt what I can. Some stuff is just so cute that I have to use exactly what I see. :-)

This is my actual Cars Party Pinterest board. Feel free to browse it for more ideas.

Step 2: Narrow it down.
I decided I liked the playdoh favor idea, and I picked which of the snacks I wanted to have, and decided on a single activity out of the many I saw.

Step 3: Print what's available or design my own.
There were a couple things I was able to find that worked really well with what I decided to go with. I'll share those links in a bit. Unfortunately, many of the things I found, just didn't line up with my "vision", so I set out to create my own things to print. Lucky for y'all, I'm going to share those printables with you too! Keeping in mind that I am not a professional graphic designer, I just do what works for me. :-)

Step 4: Use what you have on hand.
One of the things I picked up at the Rhea Lana's consignment sale was a huge lot of toy cars from the Cars movies. I was able to use these and the Cars-themed rug I also found there as a major part of the decorations.

Step 5: Finish it off with supplies from Dollar Tree and Walmart.
Best idea for keeping a party within a budget is to purchase solid colored party supplies and then print your own themed items to pull it together. So, I got the black plastic table covers and taped yellow strips of construction paper down the middle, used black and red paper goods and streamers and balloons, and then depended on my Cars toys and printed items to nail the theme.

Step 6: Have a great cake.
I found like 7 different cake ideas, but obviously, those were just ideas for my dear sister Elizabeth who is a fantastic cake decorator and always does amazing cakes for our family birthdays. I just love her! :-)

Step 7: Don't overload guests with too much going on.
When you have 5 activities and only 2 hours, it can lead to unnecessary stress for you and your guests. Kids are happy playing with each other, and adults just want to visit! After some waffling back and forth, I went with just a single activity outside of snacks, cake, and presents. And kids and adults alike participated (I wish we had pictures of the adults - they had I think as much fun as the kids getting their "body art"!)

Step 8: If you've planned ahead, you can take a step back and enjoy the day.
Do take time to visit with your guests and enjoy the birthday kid! Be in some pictures. Because your kids may remember their birthday or they may not, and they will not know or remember how hard you worked to make it special. But when they see pictures of you on party day, it will mean so much more if you are smiling and having fun, not stressed and frazzled.

You can see those ice cream servings I pre-scooped.

Calm and collected or caught completely off guard by photographer hubby? You be the judge!

So in addition to cake and ice cream, we also had the following yummy treats:

Rust-eze Bumper Ointment (applesauce cups with printed paper labels)
Mater's Dip Sticks (plain and chocolate-dipped pretzel rods)
Cozy Cone Popcorn (kettle corn in orange construction paper cones)
Luigi's Tires (chocolate covered mini donuts)
Sarge's Survival Mix (Chex party mix)
Sheriff's Traffic Lights (rice krispie treats topped with umm chocolate again and red, yellow, and green M&Ms for the lights)
Lightning McQueen's Lemonade
Fillmore's Organic Fuel (sweet tea - although, about 10 minutes before the party I thought this should be ice water and the sweet tea could be "Allinol" or "Motor Oil")

I designed labels for each of these except the Rust-eze, which I just printed from clipart I found searching Google images. Also, I tried to design a label for the Fillmore's Organic Fuel, but the one here is just way better. :-) This is also where I found the printables for the Flo's V8 Cafe sign and the Ramone's House of Body Art sign.

You can get my printable labels HERE! To spruce up the labels, I also found an image of each of the characters. But I'm sure copyright laws or something would prohibit me from publishing those here, so just feel free to do your own search. ;-)

Want a few more pictures? My wonderful husband does a great job of capturing all of our family events - I'm so thankful for his talent and his willingness to do this for us, even when the lighting isn't the greatest and he's trying out his new fancy lens.

I searched everywhere for checkered scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, but had to settle for fabric,
which actually worked better for the flags and the pennant banner.
And finally, my adorable birthday boy. Such a happy little guy in his Lightning McQueen chair. :-)


  1. You did a really good job. I love the names for the different snacks. Especially for the bumper oil and dip sticks, so creative!