LET'S PARTY: Painting Themed Birthday Party

In May, we threw a painting themed birthday party for our 14 year old daughter. Oriental Trading reached out to their brand ambassadors (including me) for birthday themed posts featuring their products. Seriously perfect timing!!! I don't get paid to create posts for Oriental Trading, but being able to receive essential party supplies from them is a huge time saver. Back when Alex was a wee girl, we did a painting themed birthday party at a different park. It's an ageless theme, which could be done with wee kids to adults, so I knew her group of teen friends would like it too.

All of the Oriental Trading products were provided to me for free, in exchange for this post.

For Pinata
  • Monster Pinata
  • Charms Carnival Candy
  • Paint Splatter Plastic Tablecloth Roll
  • Clear packing tape - Take this to the party with you to secure the tablecloths too
  • Scissors
  • Cotton cording - I used a jute twine I had on hand to suspend the pinata. We had breakage issues, so this Natural Cording or something similar would be better
  • Extra wrapped candy - Oriental Trading has a lot of candy to pick from
  • A big stick for breaking the pinata - Our friend Nathan brought one for us to use
For Painting:
For Dining:
  • Cobalt Blue Paper Dinner Plates
  • Metallic Gold Paper Dessert Plates
  • Turquoise Paper Cups
  • Red Luncheon Napkins
  • Clear Utensils
  • Serving utensils
  • Trays and bowls for serving food
  • Slider and veggie burgers 
  • Hotdogs and sausages
  • Correct size buns
  • Condiments - relish, mustard, ketchup
  • Toppings - Cheeses, lettuce, sliced tomato
  • Fruit tray
  • Veggie tray
  • Mixed veggies hot dish - My husband roasted sliced squashes, potatoes, and sweet peppers in olive oil. We always include a few vegan friendly and gluten free dishes for our group of friends
  • Deviled eggs - Our friend made some from her chicken's happy eggs
  • A variety of chips or similar snacks...pretzels, popcorn, pita chips, chex mix, cheese puffs, etc.
  • Dips are optional, but always tasty
  • Drinks - Sodas, tea, and bottled water are staples at our outdoor parties
  • CAKE!!!!
  • A cake knife and server set - I couldn't find me, so I improvised, but Oriental Trading has a bunch to pick from
  • Birthday candles
  • A lighter
  • Trashbags - Most parks will have lined trash cans, but bring extra trash bags just in case

A Month Before the Party:

1) You need to reserve your park shelter about a month ahead of time to insure a good location and time slot. Have your debit or credit card and calendar on hand. Look online for nearby parks that have shelters to rent. Find the number to call park services. When you call tell them you are looking to rent a shelter and specify the park. You might be transferred to the rental office. Tell them the park name, shelter location, and what date you want to rent. If that date is available, they will tell you which time slots are available. Be flexible, as they aren't going to move another group's party for you. We picked a small park by the James River (a beautiful part of our area), that had a playground, trails, and bathrooms. Pay over the phone to secure your date and time. Update your calendar with the date and time. If you are having the party at your home, you can skip this step obviously, but you'll have to clean your house for lots of company. I'd rather skip that if I can...hahaha.

2) We're in the digital age now, so send those invites via email or Facebook. I use Facebook events to plan my parties. Evite is a service that is great for say grandma who doesn't have a Facebook, but does have an email. You can also just call people. Set your start time for about 15-30 minutes past shelter rental time, so you have enough time to set up the party. Feel free to go potluck style on the food and have guests bring the snacks and drinks. It's a good host to at least provide the essentials...burgers, hotdogs, condiments, sides, 

3) Order your cake from a bakery you like. The size will depend on the amount of people you estimate will attend the party. Make sure the birthday person's name is spelled correctly. "Happy Birthday (person's 1st name)" is good enough. Select your pickup time for about 1hr to 30 minutes before the party. I picked a bakery that was on the way to the party. I ordered mine online.

4) Pick and order your supplies on Oriental Trading. They have other kinds of pinatas and lots of party decorations to pick from. Check the item amounts to make sure there will be enough canvas backpacks, 

A Week Before the Party:
1) Check your guest list, so you know how much food you will need.

2) Gather any supplies you need, other than food. I had most of the art supplies on hand, because well it's me we're talking about.

3) The Oriental Trading order should be at your home already, so sort through it and make sure everything is correct.

4) Pack the painting supplies together and make sure you have everything.

5) If you order your cake online, make sure to call the bakery to double check that they received the order. Trust me, this is very important...and something I didn't do, but should have!

The Day of the Party:
1) Some parks have a grill available, but trust me that it's so much easier to cook everything at home and transport it to the party. You want to be able to enjoy the party, not do lots of work while at the party.

2) Fill the pinata with candy through the flap opening on the back. Use clear packing tape to close the pinata.

3) Use the list of supplies as a checklist. Load the car with the painting supplies, pinata and anything that doesn't need to be cooked. We always give our gifts to our daughter separate from her party, usually before her birthday or the morning of, depending on the present.

4) Go pick up the cake. We hit a big snaff when I went to pick up the cake. They didn't have the order at all. I showed the bakery manager (who happened to be standing there when I went to pick up the cake) my email receipt to double check the bakery location (it's a grocery store chain). Everything was correct. The gals made it up to us by decorating a sheet cake, NOT CHARGING US AND HAVING IT DELIVERED TO THE PARTY! Hugely thankful for that! This is why it's important to make sure they have the cake order if you order online.

At the Party:
1) Get to the party location on time or a few minutes early if possible. If you can, drive your car to the pavilion. Have friends help you unload the car.

2) Have a friend help you roll out the tablecloth and cut it to fit the tables with extra at both table ends. Wrap the tablecloth edges under the table. Use packing tape (my best friend's idea) to secure the tablecloth corners to table corners.

3) Set up an area for the food. Set the plates, napkins, eating utensils and cups at one end with the drink. We put the ice in a big tub, which the teens enjoyed helping with. Set the food along the table, pairing like things together...all the chips, the veggies and fruit, the hot dogs and burgers with the buns and condiments. Add the serving utensils where needed. Set the cake another another table with the cake serving utensils, candles, lighter, and small dessert plates. Keep in mind safety with little kids, so the lighter and knives should be out of their reach.

4) Set up an area for painting. I have a vintage lazy susan that I use for craft parties. I set the paint, paper plates, and stencils on there. Fill the paint water cups and space them out along a table. Line the canvas bags with parchment paper. My sister-in-law helped me line bags. Set paintbrushes and paper towels along the table for the guests to use.

5) Everyone normally comes to parties hungry. Let the guests eat the main meal and relax.

6) Afterwards, uncover the cake, so it can easily accessed. I undid the cake box tabs, so the bottom would lay flat. Insert the candles and light them. I had a friend help me with lighting the candles, because I'm terrible with normal lighters. Sing a birthday song and have the birthday person blow out candles. Cut and serve the cake.

7) We got into the painting activity immediately after serving cake. People were eating cake and painting their bags. My rule for paint is that you can always pour more on your plate, but you can't put it back. Without fail, everyone pours too much. Haha!

8) As the kids were finishing up their bags, I moved the early finisher bags to dry on another table. I set the big canvases on the table. One was for Alex's friends to paint. The other was for our friends to paint. Here are two of my friends working on a canvas together. I added some designs later.

9) After all the kids were done painting, we did the pinata. I didn't get any good photos or video of this, as I was busy blindfolding and spinning kids. My husband tied cord onto the pinata top and tossed the cord ball over a rafter. He pulled and swung the pinata, so the kids had an added challenge in hitting it. After the pinata was broken, the kids gathered candy. They put it in their painted bags.

10) To finish up the party, we went on a walk to the river to take photos. Instead of photos of the kids, here is a photo of my husband and a friend.

11) Alex wanted to open her presents at the party, so she did that with her friends. Some people do this privately at home instead.

12) Most of the kids were picked up early, but we packed a couple games to play while they waited for rides. They picked Apples to Apples, which is much more peculiar with the teen crowd than our adult friends. I cleaned up while they played games. My eldest niece is 19, so I had her monitor the teens while I moved my car to the pavilion and packed the car.

Everyone had lots of fun and it was a memorable day. I'm happy how much people got into the painting activities and party. The park we went to was muddy from days of rain, so we skipped bringing outdoor activities like hula hoops and horse shoes. The kids enjoyed seeing the river and the quietness of the park. The little kids enjoyed playing at the nearby playground. Thanks to Oriental Trading for providing supplies for Alex's birthday party. They have a lot of supplies to choose from to make your party gorgeous and fun. Whatever you're doing, have fun with it. Happy Makery!


  1. A painting party looks like so much fun, painting is the perfect activity to relax and enjoy.

    1. It's lots of fun. Everyone has a good time and you get to skip giving out treat bags.


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