Make This! Homemade touches make a birthday f it for a (frugal) princess
by Deirdre Long
Feb 03, 2013 | 3720 views |  0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
The Big One turned 3 this past week, and at her request, we threw a princess/Tinkerbell birthday party. She actually requested a peaches/princess/Tinkerbell party, but I didn’t really want to explain to her that peaches weren’t in season in January, so we just dropped that and never mentioned it again. And like most 3-year-olds, she never noticed that peaches weren’t around, especially when the presents started rolling in.

I don’t go over-the-top for my kids’ birthday parties. I mean, this kid is turning 3 — she’s not going to remember this party from any other. We went light on decorations: the birthday pennants I made for her first birthday and reuse every year, a handful of helium balloons and my favorite, tissue paper flower pom-poms. I found the instructions for the pom-poms on Pinterest and bought a pack of 25-count multi-colored tissue paper at Dollar Tree. I used two colors, pink and purple, stacked in sheets of five. I made four pom-poms from each color, making a total of eight — so averaging about 5 cents per pom-pom. If there’s anything I like better than homemade, it’s frugal homemade.

The princess also received three tiaras/crowns, two of which were destroyed within 48 hours. The sole surviving crown (save for a paper Burger King crown that was left by a guest) is one that was handmade by me the day of the party. I even stepped on it the other morning, totally warping it, but simply bent it back into shape. It just goes to show that handmade really is better.

Tissue paper flower pom-pom

Stack five pieces of tissue paper on a flat surface. My pieces were 20 inches by 20 inches, and I cut the stack into quarters, creating four stacks of equal size. This made pom-poms that are about 8 inches in diameter (for a bigger pom-pom, stack 10 pieces of tissue paper and use the whole sheet, instead of cutting it into quarters).

Starting on a short edge (if a square, like mine, start at any edge), and accordion fold the stack of tissue until you reach the other end.

Press firmly to crease each fold.

Cut the short end of the folds into a point or rounded end — this makes the “petals” on your flower. Wrap a piece of pipe cleaner around the center of the folded paper.

Starting with the outermost layer of tissue, gently pull each sheet toward the center of the flower, separating each sheet from the others.

Pull, fluff and generally mess with the paper until it forms a rounded shape and the pipe cleaner is hidden from sight.

I hung a couple of the pom-poms from fishing line from the ceiling and used the others to cover up the glass doorknob that I used to weigh down the balloons (look, another use for old door knobs!). It made a nice-looking centerpiece for our serving table.

— Adapted from

Lace crown

This crown was simple because I had a good base. It also justifies why I keep (i.e. hoard) pieces of cardboard.

I used a circular piece of cardboard that was about 2 inches tall and big enough to fit comfortably on my daughter’s head. This particular piece of cardboard had been floating around our house and was already decorated with marker, because we used it when I threw our dog a birthday party several months ago (a ploy to get my kids to behave on a busy work-at-home day. And it worked like a charm.)

I used my hot-glue gun to first layer a piece of ribbon to cover the cardboard, and then layer a piece of 3-inch lace on top of that — enough to go above the top of the cardboard so you can’t really see it. That still looked too plain to me, though, so I layered another piece of lace to complete it. Then it was a beautiful lacy crown fit for a princess.
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