• Elizabeth Montilla

DIY 1st Birthday Party Decor w/ Minimal Waste

My twin girls turned 1 this past Summer, and I wanted to share an overview of their party. I knew leading up to the party that I wanted it to be as conscious as possible, meaning I didn't want to use too many single-use plastics and create a lot of the decor myself.


Check out how I managed to do it, with only one pretty big regret :S


Entry Sign I found this piece of scrap plywood in my basement. I believe my husband was using it as a little work table when making his wine because the back of it had wine bucket stains all over it lol I had some chalkboard paint kicking around, as well as a chalk pen. I drilled a hole at the top left corner, stuck a little arrangement I made using Dollar Store flowers and voila! Entry sign complete. I will now use this sign for years to come, changing out the age and possibly the flowers if needed.

Highchair Banners

This was a quick DIY I made pretty reluctantly before their party. I wasn't sure if these were even going to stay attached because, well, toddlers. But to my surprise, they didn't rip them down! I just got the letters from Walmart, the pink banners from Michael's and strung them along with some ribbon. I attached the banners using velcro tape, which is way stronger than double-sided tape. These letters had some weight to them! I was then able to sell these to a fellow twin mom on Facebook Marketplace so they were reused for yet another twin birthday party. How fun is that!

Monthly Age Sign I loved making this one! Not only did I go down memory lane and looked at all 12 months of my girls' monthly photos, but I was so pleased with the end results. I simply took a 19" metal ring (I used THIS one), wrapped it in some twine and added more of those lovely Dollar Store flowers. I then added some more twine and clipped the photos using laundry pins. I think in total it took about a half-hour to achieve the look I was going for.


Here's the thing about Dollar Store flowers. Be selective. Some are downright fugly and look unbelievably fake. I went to a few Dollaramas as well as Michaels stores. Stick to 1-2 colours and that's it!

The final product! Look at my little bubs! I deserve an award for sticking to those photoshoots every month #NeverAgain


Shutter Photo Display This was another last-minute DIY I just threw together. I was walking out from a meeting in Toronto one beautiful afternoon and noticed these shutters on the side of the road. My wheels started turning. I didn't know exactly what I was going to use them for, but I figured why not? One man's trash is another's treasure!

I cleaned them up, gave them a fresh coat of white paint and stuck some photos of my girls from this past year using painters tape. Sprinkled more faux peonies throughout the slats and Bob's your fricken uncle! Reduce, Reuse, recycle, people!!

The only paper products we used were this small stack of paper plates & napkins for the desserts. All of the treats were simply placed in some glass mason jars we had lying around.

The shutters were the perfect backdrop to our dessert table. Cakes by Mrs Peaches Custom Cakes.


General Decor / Dining Table I kept things fairly minimal on our Dining table as this was a BBQ so dining was going to be pretty casual. I pulled out some decor I had throughout my house and used reusable melamine dishes and my wood appetizer plates. I eliminated the use of paper napkins and just used our cloth ones.


THESE paper straws were both pretty to look at and functional. And best of all, they're biodegradable!


Regrets / Things I would do differently next year One thing I regret is the number of balloons we used. We did the traditional balloon arch over the highchairs, and each twin got a giant '1' mylar balloon over her chair. These all looked great for photos, but at what cost? Balloons take years to break down and they end up in landfills or even worse, beaches. Sea turtles often mistake larger pieces of plastic, such as balloons, as food. I really wish I had made a more conscious effort and limited to 1 pack of balloons, but the Pinterest mom got the best of me. Live and learn. Next year I will make better choices, for my girls.


I will also state on the invitations that if a gift is necessary, please let it be an experience rather than a physical object. This will eliminate excess packaging like gift bags and wrapping paper, which in most cases cannot be recycled.


Overall, I was pleased with how everything turned out and how little garbage we ended up with after the party. I think next year I will explore the idea of renting decor as it seems to be a bit more practical. Remember, your kid doesn't care about these little details. So if you can reduce your footprint by eliminating some of the non-essential items, you'll be golden.

The most civilized cake smash of all time!

Thank you so much for reading. Tell me, what small changes are you willing to make for your next big event? Follow me @elizabeth.montilla.design on Instagram to join the conversation!


xo



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