Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Western party (homemade) decorations

 Last post I shared the mini- campfire centerpieces I made for the Wild West themed Blue and Gold Dinner.  Today I will share the rest of the decorations I made.  I wish I would have thought to take more pictures at the actual event, but these will have to suffice.

We wanted a fun pre-opening activity, so in addition to having some old- fashioned relay races going on, the guests could have their picture taken in a "Wanted" poster.  It wasn't hard to put together once I had the concept in my head.  For the poster part, I used my quilting ruler and an Exacto-knife to trace and cut a window in the Styrofoam poster board I had (I probably could have used thick cardboard too).  I wrapped the front of the poster in brown craft paper and taped it down in the back.  Then I cut a large 'X' shape where the window was, and taped each resulting triangular piece up, down, and to the sides on the back of the poster.  I made little stencils for the words by printing outlines of the letters out on my computer.  I used the Cowboys font, which I downloaded from ScrapVillage for free. I traced each letter first in pencil, then went over it with a Sharpie.  I colored the letters in with crayon.


We are lucky enough to be part of a family of photographers, so my in-laws graciously allowed us to borrow their backdrop frame, which I hung a beige sheet from.  I think you could also just use the plain wall behind or use thumbtacks to put a sheet up if you wanted to.  I attached the "Wanted" sign to my husband's tripod, which worked fabulously because we could raise or lower the poster depending on each child's height.  It would have been cool to have backlighting and other fancy stuff to make the photos look all professional, but we figured it was all informal and just fun stuff anyway, and all that was unnecessary.


After taking the boys' pictures (and I wish I could share them with you because they were A-dorable!) we just cropped the photo to be a 4x6 size which worked perfectly.


Of course for a photo booth you need props!  We borrowed some cowboy hats, lassos, and neckerchiefs, and I found some different mustaches by doing a Google image search, and I compiled them in a word document. Then I opened my Cub Scout Leader Sweat Shop and passed out scissors so the adults could cut the mustaches out before the dinner started.  Haha.  It was a good thing they were so good natured and willing to help, because I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to finish the other decorating while trying to pacify my whining children.  >shudder< 


I definitely recommend having the mustaches: 9 out of 10 of the Cub Scouts wanted to wear one for their photo (and a handful of the girls did too).  I had some double- sided tape that they put the mustaches on with.

I made several cardboard decorations in the days preceding the dinner, and I didn't get many photos of them during the event, but here are some pictures I took at home in a hurry!


Our buffet table was the "Chuck Wagon" so I made another quick sign using pretty much the same method as the "Wanted" poster.  I also made wagon wheels, a cactus, saloon doors, and a steer head/ skull thingy.


We attached these wagon wheels to the "Chuck Wagon" table.  My husband was nice enough to cut these out for me.  We made a compass by tying a piece of string to a pencil, and pinning the end of it in the center of the cardboard.  We drew an outer circle, and an inner circle (which had a radius about 2 inches smaller).  He used my ruler and a protractor (I know- way too much math- that's why I delegated it to him!) to draw the spokes, and he cut the whole thing out with an Exacto- knife.  I later added little circles to the middles to give it a little more dimension (I just traced drinking glasses to get the circles).  I colored the wheels with what I had left of my favorite brown Rustoleum spray paint.


I made the cactus out of a large cardboard box... it was about 4.5 feet tall.  After drawing and redrawing it to get the shape I wanted, I cut it out and spray painted it with some green paint I already had.  I held the can close and held the cardboard upright after spraying to get little drips everywhere.  (Side note- my husband was incredulous that I did that on purpose.  I told him it would make it look more realistic from a distance.  I'm pretty sure he thought I was crazy.)  I added construction paper "blobs" to be animal homes.  I drew on spines with a Sharpie pen. 


I wasn't too proud of the saloon doors.  I wished that I had more cardboard to make them longer, and also that I wasn't completely out of spray paint at this point.  I drew the slats with a permanent marker and just had to say "Oh well..." at the painting job.
At the last minute I decided to make a steer skull cutout using some plain white cardboard I had.  I looked at some pictures online, then I sat down and drew/ cut out a shape like this:


And another shape like this:


I used my trusty hot glue gun to stick them together like this:


And I broke out the Crayolas to add some detail.


If you look closely, you can see some of the decor in this photo...


Last but not least, I made some thank you card to be passed out that night, and each one was just a simple rectangle with a paisley design and a "Thank you" on one side, and on the other side, it had a mini Snickers bar (which I bought in packs of 8 at the dollar store) and a note that said "No snickerin' about it, partner! We sure do want to thank you for supportin' the Cub Scouts!"


I spent very little for all the decorations, mostly using recyclables that my husband brought home from work, and things I already had.  Party decorating on the cheap (let's just make it sound nicer and call it resourcefulness, shall we?) side can be done!

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