Tiny Nest Napkin Rings with a Personalized Banner {Tutorial}

We just received a shipment of the sweetest tiny nests (only $2.00 for a bag of 6 tiny nests) and since Thanksgiving is next week, I wanted to make something for our table.

This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make napkin rings with your hot glue gun, about 8" of your favorite ribbon per napkin ring, cardstock paper scraps, scissors, a Sharpie marker and our tiny nests (or twigs from your backyard would work great too).

I found some lime green gingham check scrapbook cardstock scraps and cut these little flags with my scissors.  They are about 3 1/2" long and 3/4" tall.  Then I wrote "Lauren" by hand with my Sharpie.  Now it's time to hot glue my tiny banner to my nest (or sticks):

Next, flip over your nest with the banner now attached.  We are going to hot glue the bottom of the nest to the center of your ribbon:

After your nest is secured to the top center of your ribbon, flip that over and we are going to form a loop and hot glue the ends:

When I flipped the finished napkin ring over, I added a few more drops of hot glue as needed to secure the nest to the ribbon ring.  All ready for a napkin roll with utensils here:

Ready for my Thanksgiving table!  Now I just need to make12 more....

Let me know what you think of this little napkin ring...and Happy Thanksgiving!  -Sally

Two Free Printables = One Last-Minute Halloween Party Invitation

Every year our family hosts a casual drop-in party on Halloween night.  Some families come before trick-or-treating for our slow cooker white chicken chili, pigs in a blanket and photos of the kids in their costumes.  Some families stop by after trick-or-treating so the kids can dump their candy bags and they can sit down in a warm house and relax with a cup of coffee or a bowl of chili.  Either way, we love to have our neighbors over on Halloween!

But what if I just moved to a new neighborhood and haven't even told my new neighbors about our tradition yet?  Eeek!

I now have 4 days to tell our neighbors about our annual "Trick-or-Treat Tailgate".  I needed something cute, but definitely QUICK.  Here's what I did (in about one hour this morning):

I headed straight for my computer files labeled "DIY" - these are mostly free printables I save when I find them.  Kim's Chevron Invitations were one of the first ideas that popped into my mind.

She made a six-page PDF of the cutest Chevron Invitations for HGTV.com (she owns The TomKat Studio).  I knew that would work for Halloween (the black and white version is on page 6 of the free PDF).  Find the free PDF here:  The TomKat Studio Chevron Invitations for HGTV.

But it needed a little extra somethin'...

BAM!  AndersRuff to the rescue with another DIY file I saved - the cutest "Happy Halloween" tags a girl could ever ask for.  Prints six tags to a page, which I love.  Find the free PDF file for the cute shipping-style tags here:  AndersRuff Halloween Printable Tags (originally designed for The Twinery).

Next up, your paper cutter, scissors, a single-hole puncher and some jute twine to put your two freebie printables together into ONE totallly cute and unique Halloween party invitation!

You did it!  Maybe planning ahead isn't good all the time...I really like how this last-minute DIY invitation project turned out (and I hope my neighbors do too).

Do you have a favorite Halloween printable invitation too?

Happy Halloween, friends!  - Sally

Polka Dot Halloween Party Ideas

Friday, September 23rd is the first day of fall and I know many of you are planning parties for fall birthdays and Halloween, so let's share some ideas for incorporating polka dots into your themes!

Above is the Halloween photo shoot set-up for Visive Photography (Jacksonville, FL and High Point, NC photographer) styled by Preppy & Pink using many of our Polka Dot Market products, including our Halloween polka dot balloons.

Let's start with one of my favorites, mini candy corn treat sacks are ready for your personalized gift tag or sticker:

Something new this year to our shop are the cute polka dot cupcake wrapper sets complete with a black cat topper and a happy pumpkin topper:

I think these happy pumpkin stickers are the perfect addition to your favor backs for classroom parties, fall festivals, neighborhood gifts and more.  Dress up a simple brown paper lunch sack with your child's name in orange crayon and lots of pumpkin stickers (or let the kids color the bags and add the stickers for a party activity):

You know the popular tissue paper honeycomb globes for decorating parties?  I am smitten with these new tiny pumpkin picks - they are miniature versions of the large honeycomb globes.  Each pumpkin opens for a 3-D cupcake topper or appetizer pick.  How cute is that?

You don't want to miss our large 12" diameter paper pumpkin lanterns either!  These will look great with LED lights for Halloween night or hanging on your trunk for your church "Trunk or Treat".  Reusable year after year - simply fold flat and store with your decorations.  You can even hang each lantern with polka dot ribbon to increase the "cute" factor even more!

 Felt Halloween bags are so much fun.  This year's tote features a chiffon pumpkin applique OR a chenille white ghost applique.  These are less than $10 each for an adorable bag your child will use for years.  I love these bags to dress up a mantle or foyer table - fill with wrapped candies for your fall guests to sneak a sweet before they leave your home!

Looking for a Halloween or fall party favor idea?  Try our polka dot treat boxes paired with coordinating personalized pumpkin stickers!  Boxes are FDA-approved for food contact so fill with your best pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins and spread the love this fall.

What, no sweets?  No treats?  I've got you covered.  Something easy that is right up my alley - Marshmallow Sprinkle Pops!  You can make without chocolate by first brushing or spritzing the marshmallows lightly with water or a glaze of powdered sugar + water.  This will make the sprinkles STICK to your marshmallow pops.  (Or try this easy chocolate-dipped version by Easie Peasie!)

Whatever you do, spend some time "shopping the house" to gather up any items that would work with your fall party or decorating color scheme.  Start with what you have!  Add orange and black polka dot ribbons, flowers, balloons, fabrics and more to items you already have at home.  By gathering items all in one place, you can have a beautiful party set-up just like Stacy of Preppy & Pink created for her Halloween photo shoot shown above (first photo).  No matter what, have fun and save a marshmallow sprinkle pop for me!

{11,000 Fans Giveaway} Custom Polka Dot Party Hat by Preppy & Pink

I cannot believe we just surpassed 11,000 fans on Facebook!  What an amazing ride...I really do enjoy posting party ideas, free printables and party finds for you each and every day.  Thank you for sticking around to see what will "pop" up next on the Polka Dot Market fan page wall!

Our good friend Stacy of Preppy & Pink has generously donated prize #1 for our 11,000 fans celebration and you are going to love it!

One winner will win a custom-designed polka dot paper party hat in your colors, your design, your birthday number or initial...Stacy will make your idea come to life in a fabulous way.  Just look at the photo above of a recent birthday hat she designed for a pink and yellow polka dot lemonade party!

To enter to win, please leave a comment below with your email address and also tell us what your custom birthday hat will look like (this is very important!).

Comments will be closed on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 12:00 noon EST.

View more of Stacy's fabulous custom designs on her Facebook wall and blog.

Good luck!

Make a Tissue Daisy Fan Backdrop

You've seen the gorgeous tissue and paper daisy fan backdrops around the party blogs...have you ever wondered how to hang the daisies to create your own DIY backdrop?

Tissue daisies and backdrop fans are an inexpensive way to add bold pops of color to your party space.  Just like the fans our moms used when we were kids, now the trend is to group large bunches of tissue daisies (in your party colors) to create a unique and colorful backdrop for your dessert or presents table.

Let me show you one way I like to hang my daisies:

I started with a 24" x 36" blank artist's canvas (that's what I had on hand).  For your backdrop board, really anything will work.  A piece of plywood, foam core, a sheet, plexiglass, a corkboard or even a gigantic picture frame you found on clearance.  You just need something that you don't mind using hot glue on...something that your daisies will be stuck on for a while (until your next party with a different color scheme).

I first tried using double-stick tape.  That was a no-go.  Not secure and who wants tissue daisies flopping off their board in the middle of their party on top of the cake and desserts?  Not me.  So fire up your glue gun and while it heats up, gather your supplies:

  • Hot glue gun and glue stick(s), depending on the size of your boad + number of daisies
  • Cardstock, white or any patterned cardstock you have (will not show in finished product)
  • Scissors
  • Tissue Daisies, Backdrop Fans, Honeycomb Globes (opened 1/2 way) or Handmade Fans
  • Your board, canvas, foam core, frame or fabric screen/backdrop

Cut your cardstock into approximately 2.75" x 8.5" strips, then cut each strip in half.

Fold each 2.75" x 4.25" rectangle in half again.  Then, fold back the edges like you're starting to make a mini paper airplane or a mini "M" shape.

This little piece of cardboard is our TOP-SECRET METHOD for hanging your daisies securely on your backdrop board. Not really, but this is the secret to creating a FLAT surface on the back of the delicate tissue daisies and fans (which are anything but flat). Now you know the secret (wink)!

Now your hot glue gun should be all warmed up right now and ready to get to work.  Open your tissue daisy fan from the package and grab one top-secret mini "M" cardstock piece.  Your going to place the center fold of your "M" into the space where your daisy ends come together.

First, place hot glue in the center fold and press your "M" together. Now place hot glue on one of the "M" sides and press into one tissue daisy cardboard side.

Now squeeze hot glue on the other "M" side and along the other tissue daisy side and press the whole long piece together. Your daisy will be glued together with your cute little flat side now on the back, ready to go on your board.

Squeeze a few strips of hot glue onto your flat backing and press into place on your backdrop board.  This is what the flat strip looks like from the back, attached to my canvas:

Repeat these steps for each tissue daisy or backdrop fan until your board or canvas is all filled up with these gorgeous, bold, vibrant and inexpensive party decorations!

I hope you like this method and the super-secret cardstock folding trick!  You can also finish the tops of your tissue daisies by cutting off the cardboard tops or tying on a big ribbon bow.

Have fun and send us your tissue daisy party backdrop photos to polkadotbirthday@gmail.com.

I'd love to hear what you think or if you have questions, please post a comment.

Michelle's Pink Polka Dot ELMO Birthday Party

Our sweet customer Michelle sent us photos this weekend of her daughter's fabulous 2nd birthday party.  Her theme was an ELMO girl's party in pink, orange and red polka dots!

Michelle compiled a detailed list of her finds and I'll share those at the bottom of the post.  She made a lot of the decorations herself and her friend Stacy Hart Photography of Birmingham, Alabama beautifully photographed the entire event.

Let's start with the gorgeous pink and orange polka dot ribbon topiary centerpiece above...wow!  Michelle made this using our easy topiary tutorial.  She added the pipe cleaner curly-q's for a whimsical touch and I just love that!

Michelle picked the Girl's Elmo Party printable collection from Shindigs and it is a huge set of goodies for $29!

The infamous HowDoesShe? balloon wreath tutorial came in handy for Michelle - more pink, red and orange balloons and more of my favorite pipe cleaner curly-q's make this a special and inviting door decoration for her daughter's 2nd birthday.

Ahh...the food table!  Amazing!  More topiaries, more polka dots, Dorothy's fish bowls and even our popular cake/cupcake box tower tutorial all decked out with Elmo printables!

What a beautiful day for a party!  I love how she decorated the tent with tissue poms, polka dot balloons, little red chairs and a polka dot table topper.  Looks like a magazine, Michelle!

Thank you for sharing your daughter's special day with us, and all of your hard work!  Here's to you and your beautiful family, Michelle!

Michelle's tips and resources:

This is amazing!  I know so many moms will be so happy to see your ideas and be so inspired by you, Michelle.  Thank you!  - Sally

How to Make a Stretchy Bracelet Party Favor

I just love this stretchy bracelet tutorial by itmom - super easy and can be adapted to match your party colors or theme.  This is a great party activity (to keep the girls busy) that doubles as a party favor.

Perfect for party themes like Spa, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Eloise, Paris, Girl's Night Out, Slumber Party, Sweet Sixteen and more!

Take the birthday girl to the crafts store a few days before the party to pick her favorite beads and satin ribbon.  While you're there, pick up itmom's detailed list of supplies you'll need to make the bracelets.

Choose round beads in your party colors and each girl will have a strand of "polka dots" on her wrist to remember your event!

Thanks for the great party favor bracelet tutorial, itmom!

10,000 Fans Polka Dot Birthday Tee Giveaway

Introducing our new line of polka dot birthday tees featuring the cutest fabric appliques (so many to choose from!) paired with traditional embroidered monograms.  We can design your shirt to perfectly match your birthday party theme and you will flip over the quality and workmanship.

To continue our 10,000 Facebook fans celebration, we are giving away ONE custom birthday tee in your choice of design, fabric and thread color.

Simply leave a comment below with your idea for your custom tee (how it will look) and we'll randomly choose a winner on Monday night, August 8th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Here are three more of our recent customer designs to get you thinking about your party shirt design (we have hundreds!):

To enter, please leave a comment below with your email address and tell us what you want YOUR tee to look like if you are the winner.

Comments will close at 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, August 8, 2011.  Good luck and thank you for helping Polka Dot Market reach (and exceed) 10,000 fans on Facebook!

- Sally

Tutorial - Grand Crepe Paper Initial Door Decor

Today's party tutorial is by our sweet customer and creative lady, Carey!  I begged her for the instructions of how to make this fabulous giant initial...and I am now sharing it with you

Carey lists the supplies needed for us:
  • Styrofoam large enough to create your initial
  • Serrated knife or small hand saw to cut the styrofoam to shape
  • Sharpie marker to sketch/outline your initial on the styrofoam before you cut
  • Crepe paper, tissue paper, knit fabric or any cotton fabric (cut into 4" x 4" squares)
  • Pins and/or strong bond glue or low-heat glue gun

She used crepe paper found here which is more durable and thicker than tissue paper.

Step 1:
Lay your large piece of styrofoam (or foam core) on a safe surface for cutting (like the sidewalk or patio) and freehand draw your initial with a Sharpie marker.  Now cut out your initial with your craft knife, electric knife or small hand saw.

Step 2:
Gather your crepe paper or tissue paper (or I think knif fabric, tulle or even quilter's cotton would work great) and cut into oodles of 4" squares.   These will be the roses you need to cover your entire initial.

Step 3:
To create the rose, pinch the bottom of the 4" square in the middle.  Your edges will naturally flair up and bunch together.

Step 4:
Next twist the bottom of the square which will create a little flap or "stem". This flap will be what anchors the rose to the styrofoam.  As soon as you twist the crepe paper you will see you have created your rose.

Step 5:
To ensure your roses stick securely to the styrofoam you will need a low-heat glue gun for this step.  Place a dot of glue on the stryofoam.  You will see the stryofoam begin to melt a little.  Insert the "stem" tab you created on the rose into the glue dot, pressing down.  You can feel the rose attaching securely.

Note from Carey:  "I suggest first covering the edges of your initial, then the interior portions, and lastly the sides as it just makes it easier to work with."
Step 6:
Grab another 4" square and repeat steps 3-5 again!
Step 7:
When you are finished, use hot glue gun to attach a ribbon for hanging to the back of your initial.
Note from Carey:  "It took me about 2-3 naptimes to complete the project but once I begin to see it really taking shape I became a little obsessed to finish!  I honestly didn’t know if I could pull this off, but it really was easy and it was a great decoration for the party.  Her giant "P" initial now hangs on her bedroom door!  Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions!"

9,000 Fans Giveaway Prize #4 - Polka Dot Tote

I'm diving into my secret stash for you guys today!

Prize #4 of our 9,000 Facebook Fans celebration is on of my favorites.  Super cute black polka dot tote bag includes a zippered wallet, pink lining and velcro closure.

ONE winner this time.

To enter, please leave a comment and tell us:
  • What state you live in and...
  • Your e-mail address in case you WIN!  :)
Comments will be closed tonight at 11:00 p.m.  EST.  Good luck!

9,000 Fans Prize #3 - Polka Dot Ice Cream Outfit by Mud Pie!

For our 9,000 Facebook Fans celebration today, we are giving away TWO of these precious Polka Dot Ice Cream Outfits by Mud Pie!

The sweet chiffon ice cream cone applique tunic is complete with oodles of grosgrain ribbon ruffles and a back snap closure.  Polka dot knit capri tights feature sweet shiffon ankle ruffles.  Two-piece set ($30 value).

We will randomly choose TWO winners.  You may choose from two sizes:  12-18 months OR 2T/3T.

Please leave a comment below to enter.  Be sure to tell us:
  • Your favorite ice cream flavor and...
  • The outfit SIZE you need and...
  • Your e-mail address so we can tell you that you've WON!  :)

Good luck!  Comments/Enties will be closed tonight at 11:00 p.m. EST.

9,000 Fans Prize #2 - Zebra Market Basket

Prize #2 in our 9,000 Facebook Fans giveaway (www.facebook.com/polkadotmarket) is this fabulous Hot Pink & Black Zebra Market Basket!

Perfect for shopping, keeping homework folders, organizing your car's front seat, home decor, kids rooms and more. I store my daughter's library books, socks, stuffed animals and movies in these market baskets.
Size : 18" wide X 10" tall X 9" deep

  • Insulated Lining 
  • Zipper closure
  • Removable ribbons
  • Plastic feet on bottom
  • Folds flat for easy storage
 Only ONE winner for this prize.  Please leave a comment and tell us:
  • What you will put in your basket and...
  • Your e-mail address so we can get in touch when you WIN!  :)

Comments will be closed tonight at 11:00 p.m. EST.  Good luck (and thanks for helping us reach 9,000 fans on Facebook!)

9,000 Fans Giveaway Prize #1

Thanks to all of you for helping Polka Dot Market on Facebook reach over 9,000 fans!

I am gathering as many prizes as I can find around here for you as a way to say, "Thanks!" in a big way.

Our first prize is a set of twelve (12) custom personalized water bottle wraps in YOUR colos with YOUR custom text.  Made just for you by our talented designer, Lindsay.

There will be THREE winners of this prize!  So leave a comment below to enter.  Please tell us:
  • Your two colors for your water bottle wraps
  • Your custom text
  • Your email address so we can get in touch when you WIN!  :)

Comments will be closed tonight, Monday, June 26th at 11:00 p.m. EST.  Good luck!

{1st Birthday Boy} Orange and Aqua Elephants Party for Twins!

Welcome to the orange and aqua elephants party for her twin boys by Mae Armstrong Designs!

Mae is an invitation designer and her talent shines through!  She shared with us:

"I was inspired by all the handmade parties I've seen online and wanted to give myself a similar challenge. Planning for this party began five months in advance. I wanted it to be super special for my twin boys and husband. All three of them share the same birthday!  The trick of course was finding the time to finish all the different elements I wanted. Between all of my normal mommy duties, household chores, errands and freelance gigs, I was able to sneak some time to research, learn a few DIY birthday projects, design and create my very own handmade birthday party."

She began this party project with designing the cute elephant graphic which you will see throughout her photos.  I just love this color combination.  Let's start with a close-up of her invitations and that sweet elephant (orange polka dot paper straws available at Polka Dot Market):

(I think the handmade orange yarn pom-pom balls are my favorite!)

I just noticed the elephant fabric flag banner and the orange and aqua tissue daisies strung together add such a great pop of color!

Mae didn't forget the front door - she welcomed her guests with more orange and aqua yard (love) and more elephants.  I bet this handmade wreath is hanging on their bedroom door now!

We cannot forget Mae's amazing spread of party food:  Orange jelly beans in jars, homemade caramel popcorn, orange goldfish crackers and animal crackers set on a pretty aqua gingham check fabric tablecloth.  See the orange wrapped box towers (tutorial) - that adds such a great touch!

Mae, thank you for sharing your twin boys' special 1st birthday party with us!  Find more of her designs via her Facebook page too.

Wonderful party!  Makes me want to buy a giant tub of animal crackers and pick out all of the elephants...(smile).

Patriotic Summer Party Cupcake Stand + Kit Giveaway

To celebrate reaching 8,000 fans on Facebook, we are so happy to partner up with Stacy at She's Kinda Crafty to bring you this fun summer party surprise!

One winner will win this Patriotic Polka Dot Summer Party Kit:

To enter to win this great prize, leave a comment below for each entry (up to 4 entries per person):

Giveaway entry comments will be closed at midnight PST on Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2011.

View more red and blue polka dot party supplies available every day at Polka Dot Market.

Good luck!

"My Party Colors" Board - Pink and Aqua Polka Dots

I created this collage for our sweet client, Crystal.  She is hosting a pink and aqua polka dot whale birthday party for her daughter.  She sent us her invitation as a starting point and asked us which products would be the best color match.  We created this custom "My Party Colors" inspiration board just for her and we'd be happy to create one for you.

Let's get started!  Here is a round-up of our recommended color-match products for Crystal's pink and aqua polka dot party:

Leave a comment with additional color-match ideas for Crystal, or tell us which party colors you'd like to see on our next inspiration board post.  Your ideas inspire ME every day!

Win $75 to Shop at Pea Pod Announcements

Our friends at Pea Pod Announcements have the perfect invitation for your upcoming party.  From birthdays to baby showers, moving to engagements, they have you covered!

I've picked just a few of my favorite birthday invitations found in this wonderful website to share with you.  Like the boy's cupcake invitation above and the girl's sweet shop birthday invitation below:

With easy online ordering, quick shipping and a large selection, you will enjoy every moment browsing the aisles of Pea Pod Announcements.

To celebrate our reaching 7,000 fans on the Polka Dot Market facebook wall, the ladies at Pea Pod Announcements have partnered with us to give one lucky winner a $75 gift certificate to shop for your favorite invitations!

To enter to win the $75 gift card, first visit http://www.peapodannouncements.com/ and find your favorite product and leave us a comment below.

For a second entry, leave a comment if you "Like" Pea Pod Announcements on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PeaPodAnnouncements).

Comments will be open until Sunday, May 1st at midnight CST.

Thank you for a wonderful prize for our fabulous fans, Pea Pod Announcements!

Keep up with all the Polka Dot Market news on our Facebook wall too:  www.facebook.com/polkadotmarket.