The Big ONE: First Birthday Parties

Baby’s first birthday is as much an anniversary of being a parent as it is a celebration of the debut year. Add a few personal touches to the party to make it special.

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Smashing Cake

No matter the flavor, all eyes (and cameras) will be on this much awaited party moment. So go ahead, guest of honor, dig in!

How to Make a Crepe-Paper Lantern

Crepe-Paper Crazy

Keep decorations and favors simple by using one material for all (19.5″ x 98.5″ crepe-paper roll, $7; Napkin rings, cupcake toppers, favors, paper lanterns, and a birthday badge are all easy to make.

How to Make a Baby-Food-Jar Lantern

Beyond Baby Food

Find a second use for those cute baby-food jars.

  • Stripe jars of different sizes with washi tape to create mini vases. Japanese paper tape, $2 to $36 a roll;
  • To make favors for the adults, use a nail to poke a hole in the top’s center and then paint. Fill jar with candy, seal, and insert a lollipop into the hole. Numbers Hard Candy Lollipops, $3.50 each;
  • Baby-food jars make perfectly sized votive holders. Turn to Resources, page 162, to learn how to tint them to match your d?cor. 6 LED flickering tea lights with batteries, $5;

How to Make a Baby-Handprint Napkin

Prints Charming

Trace your baby’s hand onto craft foam, cut out the foam, and glue it to a piece of cardboard to make a stamp. Use letter stamps and a date stamper to add your baby’s name or initials and birthday. Printer Type Alphabet Lowercase Rubber Stamp Set, $15;, StazOn ink pad, $10;

Photo Decor

Tara Donne

Snap Happy

By now, you likely have a few gigabytes of baby pictures. Celebrate your little one by using her sweet face!

first birthday party

Tara Donne

More Great Birthday Supplies

Sweet At One Girls 1st Birthday Felt Hat, $8; (also available in blue)

1st Birthday Blue Stripes Cake Candle, $5; (also available in pink)

1st Birthday Cake Plate, $26;

Sunshine cookies

Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: You Are My Sunshine

Build a celebration around the most popular song known to babies.

Sunny Sweets For dessert, serve yellow macarons made to look like suns by pushing drop-shaped candy around the rim. Cry Baby Tears candy, $7 for 2 lbs.;

Bright Buffet Make the food table light and cheery with yellow napkins, plates, and cups. Cut out 2″ to 3″ strips of yellow and orange paper and glue them around the back of the plates to form suns.

Happy Tunes For the favor, burn CDs with songs like “Here Comes the Sun.”

Zebra Wearing Party Hat

Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: Party Animal

You can’t go wrong with a zoo theme for your baby’s first-birthday party.

Plastic Parade Set the scene with toy animals wearing party hats — create a conga line of critters. Cut half circles and roll them into cones, then trim if necessary. Glue a pom-pom to the top and 2 thin ribbons inside for a tie.

Wild Kingdom Cake For a dessert that will really impress the guests, visit

Take-Home Treat For favors, decorate small brown bags with paw prints (use a 2″ and a 3/4″ circle punch to create the shape) and fill with animal crackers.

Alphabet Block

Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: Alpha-Baby

ABC blocks are standard toys in any baby’s collection. The bright colors and iconic shape create a great party motif.

Big Blocks Use stencils to cut out letters from patterned craft paper, then use a thin colored tape to add a border. Mix it up by using the cut-out letter and the negative shape. 3.5″ wood block, $8 for three;

Photo Favors Create photo stands by hot-gluing a colored paper clip to the back edge of a block.

Boxed Cake Serve petit fours for dessert; decorate each one to look like an alphabet block.

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of Parents magazine.

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