Beach Themed Graduation Party

I used an old shipping crate and with a dry brush, painted the wood slats 4 different shades of blue green.  Then I took long pieces of jute ribbon and raffia and hot glued it to the top of the crate and glued a starfish on top of the jute.  I had little tan starfish that I hot glued to the jute for accents.  I cut various lengths of dowel and cut 1/2-inch planks of wood and drilled holes in the center.  Then I glued the dowel to the stand and when the glue was set, I spray painted them white.  I glued starfish to the dowels that I bought on line.  I used strips of burlap as a table runner over a white tablecloth and scattered shells around and found pieces of driftwood and scattered them around.

I made a banner with some scrapbook paper I found that looked like burlap and cut a larger banner out of cream colored scrapbook paper that I hot glued to long pieces of jute.  I used a stencil to customize the banner and used a hot glue gun to glue mini clothes pins to the top of each banner. 

I made votive candle holders with a mason jar and used jute ribbon, raffia and jute string to tie around the tops.  Then I hot glued a little starfish in the middle and scattered them around the buffet table and used them on the dining tables.

bday emily party 117We used mason jars and found some pretty blue striped straws for the drinks and had plastic cups for backup.

I made 50 push up cake pops and they take some time to put together (I had a friend helping me and it took us 2 hours -not including the baking!) but are so worth it for the  wow factor.  I cheated and used white cake mix and bought cartons of egg whites so I wouldn’t be left with all those yolks.  You will have extra cake left over, but I just put it in the freezer and and will make a little mini cake one of these days.  You need to buy the plastic push up pops and I found the best price on the internet and ordered them.  I used four colors of cakes for these pops and several batches of the vanilla buttercream frosting.  They can be made the day before.  There are stands you can buy to serve the push up cake pops, but I drilled holes in pieces of driftwood and it worked really well.  You could also use pieces of wood and paint it.  You might also try to fill a glass bowl of jelly beans or glass beads to hold them.

Step 1. Line a piece of styrofoam in a cardboard box with sides tall enough to hold the cake pops (for extra protection if you need to travel with them).  Drill holes the size of the handle every 2-inches.

Step 2.  Make a double batch of batter for each of the colors you want and bake them on 2 parchment paper lined and greased 13×17 baking trays.  Mine took almost 20 minutes per sheet, but check at 18 minutes to not over bake.  Allow to cool (can be made the day before).

Step 3. With your fingers, gently remove the layer of browned cake (so it won’t discolor the layers of cake pop) on each side.

Step 4.  Make a double batch of vanilla buttercream frosting and place in a piping bag with a large round tip.  Set aside.

Step 5. Get a clean wet towel or sponge and several sheets of paper towels ready because you will need to clean your fingers between the layers.

Step 6. Use 1 push up cake pop for each color of cake and cut rounds of cake and press the first layer to the bottom of the pops.  Gently press down so the cake is even all the way around.  Pipe a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake pop and in the center.  Proceed with the next layer of cake and repeat until you have 4 colors of cake. Use a star tip or a round tip and pipe a rosette of frosting on the top of each cake pop.  Sprinkle with decorations if you want and place in styrofoam lined box.

For the cupcakes, I bought cake wrappers on Etsy.  I made white chocolate seashells from a mold I found at Michael’s and tinted some of the chocolate in shades of sea blue and green and used a toothpick to “paint” a marbleized effect on the bottom of the mold and then poured the warm white chocolate on top and let it set.  You can make the white chocolate molds several days before the party.  I sprinkled large white sugar crystals over each cupcake and pressed a chocolate seashell onto the wet frosting so it would stick.

I used a 5 foot shade tent and bought almost 6 yards of 90-inch wide white muslin.  I used sticky velcro and stuck 4-inch pieces of velcro to the top of the fabric about every 6 inches (because velcro is so expensive).  The inside of the tent has a velcro side so I was able to stick the other side of the velcro to it.  I cut a 74-inch piece of felt and cut scallops on the bottom.  I didn’t want to paint the felt because I will use the photo booth again for other events, so I just printed the letters, cut them out, and used a hot glue gun to secure them to the felt.  I bought some decorations on line and hung them in the back of the booth.  The kids loved having a bunch of hats, silly glasses, boas, and a little chalk board to write whatever they wanted in a basket next to the booth so they could have different looks for their photos.




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