Adventure Party Time

My mom recently retired. Lucky! So of course, that calls for a celebration. And decorations! But have you seen the retirement decorations they sell in stores? Yikes. They usually just say “Happy Retirement” in super bright colors. I thought I could come up with something a little more original than that. So I did some thinking, and the movie “Up” came to mind. If you haven’t seen that movie yet, stop reading this and go watch it. Grab some tissues first. And then come back when you’re done……….are we all on the same page now? Good. So I really liked the idea of starting on this next adventure in life, and I decided to use that as the theme for the party. Think vintage travel posters and maps. And now that I had a theme to work off of, I went to THE place for craft inspiration. Pinterest. Best site ever. It’s so fun to see all the creative ideas people come up with. I found some great ideas there, and even came up with some of my own. Let’s start with the banners.

While searching for ideas, I came across this picture of an Up-themed birthday party.

How beautiful is that? I love it! But what I really took away from this picture was the banner that says, “Adventure Awaits.” Retirement isn’t the end of anything, it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure! I had to make a larger version. So I started out with some cardstock.


This comes in so handy in so many projects. I would stock up if I were you. Cardstock might save your life some day.

Next, I got to some tracing and some cutting. I made one of every letter that I needed and then stenciled any duplicate letters from the original. I used some double sided tape to stick them onto the rectangles I cut out of more cardstock. Then I got my handy dandy hole puncher and punched holes on the top corners of each rectangle. Lastly, I got some pretty ribbon and weaved it through. The letters didn’t drift all around the banner because the ribbon was a little thicker than the holes I punched. Done with this banner!

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I also saw quite a few photos with banners made out of maps. That seemed to go perfectly with my theme so I decided to make one of those also. First I had to buy some maps. I was a little stumped on where to buy fold out maps these days. But Target is my favorite store for a reason. I found a couple maps in their magazine section that I could cut up. Only one side was a map though, the other side listed all the cities on the map. So I had to cover that side up with…cardstock! Told you. Not only did it cover up the text, it also helped to weigh down the map paper. I wanted this banner to be like those traditional triangle party banners so the first thing I had to do was cut everything into triangles. I’m a little…particular about things, so I found this site which had a nice guide on how to cut out good sized triangles without wasting a lot of paper. First I cut out the cardstock triangles, then I used one of those triangles to stencil out triangles on the maps. Then I did a lot more cutting. Then I got some double sided tape and stuck the maps on the cardstock. And like the banner above, I punched holes in the top corners of each triangle and weaved a ribbon through. Done with this one!

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Phew! Two banners down and, since I already had a ton of cardstock, all I had to buy was some ribbon and a couple maps. My wallet is liking this so far.

Next, going with the “Up” inspiration, I wanted to do some hot air balloon decorations. This site had a really helpful tutorial. All I had to buy was some paper lanterns and some string. I changed a couple things while I was doing it. First, while taping up the little baskets (made out of…you should know this by now), I saw that they had some tape showing on the outside, and I was able to put the tape between the cardstock instead of on the outside of it. Another thing I changed was the size of the baskets. I did the first one as they directed and it came out like this (sorry for the blur).

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Not bad! But the basket looked a little big compared to the paper lantern. So on the next ones I used a smaller piece of cardstock.

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Looked better to me. And then I put some ribbon around the basket just to spruce it up a little. I made 4 of these total.

Lastly, I thought it might be cool to have one of those directional sign posts, pointing to things like “Adventure” and “Relaxation.” So I went to Michael’s and picked up some Balsa wood. It’s super thin and I was able to cut it with scissors, but it still had the wooden sign look I was going for. Then I bought a dowel to put all the signs on. I already had some paints I could use so I was good in that area. Ready to go!

First, I cut out some sign shapes, and painted them each a different color.

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Then I thought up some words to write on each sign.

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Next I got my hot glue gun and stuck them onto the dowel (more blur…sorry).

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And I was done with that! The dowel was a little shorter than I wanted, so I just thought I’d put it into a planter instead of on the ground. No big deal.

Now it’s time to put it all together! One other thing I did was print out some vintage travel posters on some white cardstock. I taped them up everywhere just to add to the travel/adventure vibe.

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Ok, originally I had taped up a big laminated world map under the banner instead of those little posters, but the stucco didn’t want to deal with it. It looked much better with the map. So…picture the map.

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Banners and hot air balloons!

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Somebody wanted this sign to take home, but I didn’t bother going over the paint with any kind of varnish, so it wouldn’t have lasted too long outside. But if you’re thinking about hanging on to something like this, definitely varnish.

The party was a great success and everyone loved the decorations. And with all the supplies I already had, it hardly cost me anything. I think the maps were the most expensive part and those were about $7 each. I hope this inspires you to throw your own travel themed party and get started on some new adventures of your own!


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