DIY Art Party Decor
March 27, 2018

Mantel decorated with rainbow banners for an Art themed Birthday Party

DIY Art Party Decor 

Everyone likes to save money when planning a birthday party and these four, {yes, I said 4!} DIY Art Party Decor ideas are not only SIMPLE but also really affordable. I LOVE it when I can create something fabulous on the cheap. Since I’ve heard from so many of you party mommas that budget is one of your biggest party concerns, I’m pretty sure you do too!!

  1. Rainbow Hexagon Backdrop
  2. Cake Letters
  3. Rainbow Dyed Popcorn Centerpiece
  4. Rainbow Paint Brush Garland

1. DIY Rainbow Hexagon Backdrop 

  • Level of difficulty: EASY
  • Time commitment:  2 hours with Cricut, 4 hours by hand

Rainbow colored hexagons arranged to create a backdrop for an art party food table

When we are talking DIY Art Party Decor the backdrop is typically the number 1 priority and often gets costly. My goal is to create as many budget friendly backdrop options as possible! I’m compiling a list for you now. The first one is this amazing rainbow hexagon. I really wanted something fun and unique for our Party Like Picasso birthday party and playing off the geometric trend of hexagons seemed a fun way to create a rainbow party backdrop.

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Rainbow Hexagon DIY Supplies:

  • 41 pieces Vinyl Wall covering samples {Ask an interior designer friend}
  • White fleece lined vinyl table cover 60″x120″: Amazon
  • Cricut Explore Air 2: Amazon or Cricut Maker: Cricut  {someday…}
  • Rotary cutter {if you don’t have a cutting machine}: Amazon
  • Spray Adhesive: Amazon

Step 1: Layout your Design

Sheet of hexagon paper used to lay out the design of a rainbow colored Art Party backdrop

First I laid it out on a sheet of hex patterned paper. {I just Googled “hex pattern” and it came up} This design step allowed me to see how I wanted it to flow and how many of each color I was going to need. This was my 2nd version and as you can see I changed it up a little as I did it. Instead of recreating a perfect version to post I thought you’d like to see that real life design isn’t perfect and is often messy and changing! I actually even changed it up a little bit at the very end during assembly.

Step 2: Collect your Colorful Materials

Piece of vinyl wallcovering laid out before cutting to create a backdrop

As an Interior Designer I have loads {and loads} of material samples! It’s sort of an occupational hazard. In sorting through my stash of vinyl wall covering samples I was able to pull great colors with subtle patterns to create the hexagon rainbow I desired. Now I hear you saying, “good for you, you’re a designer so of course you have access to that stuff. What about the rest of us!?” I’ve got you covered here too….most of you will have, or have access to scrapbook paper, or left over fabric. Fat quarters used for quilting are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. I do recommend using an interface liner however when working with fabric so it doesn’t fray on the edges as you apply it. This also allows you to use it again later for permanent wall decor, or future embroidery projects. The ability to reuse your party decor after the birthday is a BIG plus in my book! It makes the money and effort worth it, like these DIY Angel wings that I’ve found a use for nearly EVERY season!

Step 3: Cut out your Hexagons

I broke out my Cricut Explore Air to cut all the hexagons and that saved me tons of time, but don’t fret if you have to cut them by hand. Just create a “pattern” by cutting a hexagon out of chipboard or heavy card stock so your pieces will be uniform. You can Google Hexagon and print it out, adjusting the size according to your needs.

Step 4: Lay out on Base

Hexagon pieces laid out on a white backdropUsing a white tablecloth, bed sheet, or curtain as the base of your backdrop gives you options to use what you have on hand. If you don’t have any of these things, I recommend you add a thick white sheet and tablecloth to your party arsenal. They come in handy all the time. I used a flannel backed white vinyl table cover for this project and it worked perfectly. I labeled each hex with a number to make it easier to assemble. Measure how high you want your backdrop to be – too low and it’ll be covered by the food display, too high and it’ll feel like it’s floating. Start in the center and arrange your hexagon design COMPLETELY before gluing down. Do NOT skip this step. You don’t want to get to the last couple of columns only to find they don’t fit. Laying them out ahead of time lets you know how much spacing you can have between pieces.

Step 5: Glue those Babies on!

Spray adhesive in a cardboard box with piece of hexagon vinyl wallcovering as part of an art party backdrop DIY

I then started gluing the pieces down starting from the CENTER line, working my way out on either side. Again, this ensures a balanced end product. I love using spray adhesive and since it was late at night, in the middle of winter, I used a tall cardboard box as a “spray tent” to for applying adhesive to each piece. The spray adhesive is not a permanent solution. I prefer it as it doesn’t harm my table cover when I remove my items. If you are looking for a stronger hold, try Gorilla Glue.

Step 6: Install and Enjoy your Party!

Rainbow colored hexagons arranged to create a backdrop for a colorful art party food table

You’ll notice that I curved the hexes up so the rainbow watercolor cake could be set off by the white backdrop. You are free to design it in anyway you want but I really like the movement of this free form shape. You could also add an Art Party banner to the top but I chose to leave it unadorned and let the rainbow hex backdrop speak for itself. Is this a piece of DIY Art Party Decor that you want to try? I’d love to see it! Let me know in the comments if you do. You can try it with any color combo too. It would be beautiful as a soft ombre in light metallics, think white gold to rose gold. Oooh, now I might have to try that one!!

2. DIY Cake Letters

  • Level of difficulty: SUPER EASY
  • Time commitment:  15 minutes

Rainbow watercolor cake with the word eight spelled in bright candles and candy letters with birthday girl's name

I always want to have fabulous party food BUT I am not a patient baker and they usually end up as spectacular Pinterest fails! I ordered a rainbow watercolor cake but wanted to dress it up myself. The plan was to add my daughter’s name and a number 8 candle to the top. Plans changed when I found these amazing rainbow candles that spelled the word “EIGHT”. Not wanting to compete I added my daughter’s name to the Amalfi Decor cake plate instead, and she was thrilled!

Rainbow Cake Letter DIY Supplies:

  • Wilton Alphabet & Numbers Cut-Out Set: Amazon
  • Air Heads candy: Amazon
  • Wax paper: Amazon {this is a great price for Prime members only}
    • Don’t have Prime? You can try out a 30-day Prime Membership for FREE and thank me later! It’s seriously life changing and will ruin you on shipping forever!
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Step 1: Layout Colors

Air heads candy used with mini letter cutters to create edible words on an art party birthday cake

This is pretty easy but decide how you want your colors to go. I went with a rainbow {Surprised?} using the colors I had available.

Step 2: Choose your Letters & Cut

Airheads candy strips being cut into letters using tiny cookie cutters

I laid out the letters on each color. The strips are long enough to get 3 letters. So you really don’t need very many if using just one color. I purchased mine at the checkout candy rack at my local Smith’s Grocery store. Interestingly enough they were NOT stocked in the candy section. ?? If you can’t find them at your grocery store, ask. You may be pleasantly surprised. The candy is stiff in cool temperatures so push the letters down hard then turn them around and push the candy through the edges with your thumbs. I used a toothpick to clear away the excess and simply smoothed any rough edges with my thumb.

 

These candies are the perfect size for the Wilton cutters and the ideal thickness for a cake letter. If you are like me, you’re already coming up with things in your life that “need” some candy letters! We ended up serving a letter on each piece of cake and the guests loved it! I hope you have fun with yours and would love to see pictures of your finished creations via our submissions page.

3. DIY Rainbow Dyed Popcorn Centerpiece

  • Level of difficulty: EASY
  • Time commitment:  30 minutes {with a lot of waiting}

Glass vase filled with pink popcorn kernels, mini easel, and paint palette filled with rainbow colored beads for an Art Party

I love this centerpiece idea because it is inexpensive, looks fabulous, and you can easily pop the kernels after the party. I do not like wasting food and it makes me happy that this DIY Art Party decor is dual purpose.

Rainbow Popcorn DIY Supplies:

    • Bulk white popcorn kernels: Amazon
    • Liquid food coloring: Amazon
    • White vinegar: Costco {Costco has the best price for a large container but it’s super cheap at any grocery store}
    • Parchment paper: Amazon {these cookie sheet sized parchment liners are AWESOME!}
    • Disposable Cookie sheets: Amazon
    • 7.5″ Cylinder glass vases: Dollar Tree
    • Colorful gift wrap: Amazon
    • Paint brushes: Amazon
    • Inspiring watercolor labels: Free Download

Download Art Flags Here

Step 1: Soak Kernels in Dye

Dying popcorn kernels in large bowls in rainbow colors

      • 2 1/2 cups popcorn kernels per 7.5″ tall x 3 /14″ diameter cylinder vase
      • 2 cups warm water
      • 2 Tb white vinegar
      • 120 drops of desired food coloring

You basically want to dye the popcorn kernels like you do Easter eggs. You may need to add a little more water just to make sure the kernels are covered with the liquid. Let soak for 24-36 hours. Take a very kernels out to test color after 24 hours. *WARNING* If you let them soak for too long they will get gross and the potential for mold skyrockets. Please note that all of the colors were beautiful and vibrant EXCEPT for the blue {see image below} and I chose to run them through a second dying process identical to the first.

Step 2: Thoroughly Dry Kernels

Colorful dyed popron drying on cookie sheets to be used for an Art Party centerpiece

This is the MOST important step. After kernels have reached the desired color pour each bowl full into a strainer and allow to drain thoroughly. Then spread each color on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. The parchment helps soak up a little of the extra moisture and makes cleanup a breeze. You MUST let the kernels dry completely for several days, turning them periodically to ensure all sides are dry or they WILL develop mold inside the vases. Let’s just say that I learned this from experience. My poor magenta kernels didn’t make it very long.

Step 3: Fill up Vases

Rainbow colored popcorn in glass vases down the center of a table covered with striped gift wrap

Now that your popcorn kernels are COMPLETELY dry you can pour them into their respective vases. Double check the levels are the same in each. {It appears our original measuring was a bit off!} We chose to place them in this order down the center of the table on top of a colorful gift wrap runner:

      • Magenta
      • Red
      • Orange
      • Yellow
      • Green
      • Blue
      • Purple

Step 4: Add Paint brush labels

Rainbow colored popcorn in glass vases down the center of a table set for an Art Party

The final detail is a long paint brush with an inspiring message in every other vase. Now that your centerpiece is done it’s time to set the table. {details on the table settings coming soon} Now wasn’t that just the easiest DIY Art Party decor ever!?
Download Art Flags Here

4. DIY Rainbow Paint Brush Garland

      • Level of difficulty: EASY
      • Time commitment:  1 hour {excluding dry time}

Mantel decorated with rainbow colored banners for an Art themed birthday party and paint brush garland

I love using simple banners and garlands to dress up every party and holiday. This one was no exception. I love the simplicity of this mantel with the three garlands.

Rainbow Paintbrush DIY Supplies:

      • Paintbrushes with holes in handle: Amazon, Alt: Dollar Tree
      • Craft paint in 7 colors
        • Or Painters tape and spray paint
      • Twine
      • Fabric strips in 7 colors
        • Or banner kit: Etsy

Step 1: Paint the Brushes

Brightly colored paint brushes hung in a garland for an Art Party

Now you are going to want to choose inexpensive brushes for this project. The only requirement is that they have a hole in the handle. I used craft paint in rainbow colors minus orange {not my favorite} and purple. As many of you know purple is my favorite so my purple paint supply had run out and sadly so had my time! The plastic handles do not cover very well so plan on at least 3 coats with a few hours of drying time in between. If you want to take the time to tape off the metal, spray paint with primer would be a great option for this project.

Step 2: Tie the Brushes on

Once dry I tied them to my white twine. With the hole you can just string them but I didn’t like that they hung sideways so I chose to tie them of through the hole so they hung facing out. I think I’ll add a video to show how I did that just so it’s really clear. Now the garland could be done at this point but as the main mantel decor, it really needs to make a statement.

Step 3: Tie on Fabric

DIY garland kit - Fabric strips in rainbow order with twine

I ordered a Rainbow banner kit from EIEIO Designs on Etsy. Amy typically sells ready made high chair banners for first and second birthday parties but I’ve used these banners for several events like our Red, White, and BBQ summer party and our Big Game Kick Off Superbowl party. She just created a custom listing for me for the kit which included all the fabric strips and twine. I need to point out that this would be an easy project to complete on your own if you have a large inventory of fabric to choose from. I do not, so this banner kit was a LIFESAVER!

Using a rainbow fabric banner is the perfect way to dress up your mantel for an Art themed birthday party where you can party like Picasso! Halfpint Design. Art party, painting party, rainbow party.

Practice tying the pieces so the pattern ends up in front to enjoy the full color and design of each fabric strip. Once you’ve spaced everything out properly, enjoy the gorgeous focal point and go have fun at your party!!

Pinterest collage of 4 di it yourself art party decoration ideas: backdrop, cake letters, centerpiece, and garlands

I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind of DIY Art Party Decor ideas today! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these. FOUR tutorials is a lot to take in at one sitting so Pin it for later and come back when you’re ready to tackle your next art party project!

Halfpint Design, personal headshot, Bri Adams

20 Comments

  1. Lori

    Love all your creative ideas Bri!! I can’t even choose a fave…they’re all so amazing!!

    Reply
  2. pressprintparty

    There’s so much in this post! I thought your trick on how to make the letters for the cake was genius!!

    Reply
  3. Susan

    You’re so creative Bri ! I love all the attention to the details you put into creating this party ! Wonderful job !!

    Reply
  4. Corrine

    I love all your ideas, you’re so creative Bri! My favorite has to be the backdrop, it’s stunning! The popcorn kernels are such an awesome idea too, I would never have thought of that but it’s so effective.

    Reply
  5. garrisonelia

    This tutorial is fantastic!! Gave me ideas for my daughter’s birthday coming up. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Jenny @ Cookies Coffee and Crafts

    This party is so colorful and beautiful! Great idea to use airheads for your daughters name. My favorite is the paintbrush garland.

    Reply
  7. sewwriter

    So cute! My daughter would love this for her 9th birthday this fall.

    Reply
  8. Carolina

    Bri!! Such a fun backdrop!! You are a genius!!

    Reply

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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange PartyI’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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