Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Peace, Love & Tie Dye

Please excuse my tardiness, but what's that saying, "it's better late than never," right? Peace, love & gymnastics was the theme for my nieces 9th birthday party this year. I designed the invitation in Photoshop, printed on card stock and my sister mailed them out in colorful envelopes.
My niece and I had both been dying to make tie dye cupcakes and thought what better occasion to try them out! The first time I saw them on Pinterest I immediately got overwhelmed and thought they must be extremely difficult to make. Boy, was I wrong! Take a look at the step by step photos below. Just to keep you enticed, I won't show you the inside until further down in the post.
First, I divided the cupcake mix into separate bowls and from there added food coloring. Honestly, I just eyed the amount of drops. Since I knew I wanted my colors vibrant, I went pretty heavy on the coloring. I used both neon and assorted McCormick food coloring.

Next, I spooned equal amounts of each color into each baking cup. Trust me here, it does not have to be perfect. They will turn out great regardless. I saw certain cupcakes that I liked better than others during my research on Pinterest so I decided to spoon in the darkest colors first, purple and blue landing them on the bottom. You'll see how cool it looks in the end!

Lastly, I followed the baking instructions just like I would any other regular cupcakes and let cool. Keep an eye out on them during the last few minutes to avoid them overcooking and the colors turning dark brown. 
As a part of the goodie bags, we wanted to give them a tie dye shirt to take home. To avoid the messy cleanup of a bunch of 9 year olds tie dying, we decided to do it beforehand (beforehand as in last, last minute the night before. We purchased plain white packs of Hanes t-shirts and one tie dying kit from Hobby Lobby. To speed up the process, tackled it almost like an assembly line. Green all the way down the line, then purple and so forth. It made it much easier than dying them individually. Here's a candid shot of my niece, which she'll probably hate me for in 10 years but I couldn't resist. She was so focused on the project it was too precious not to capture.
The day of the party, it was a bit of a fiasco setting up, with only about 15 minutes left until the guests started arriving. We were able to string up the shirts as a part of the decor. Above the shirts I hung a banner made out of paint swatches from Walmart. I recommend getting them there because they are significantly larger than swatches at other home improvement stores. The banner look is classy but cute and can be customized for any color scheme and event.
I found tie dye plates and napkins on clearance from shindigz.com, an awesome party supply store. I made customized tie dye stickers for the goodie bags and cups. We set up a mini candy car for the kids to fill their goodie bags. Parents probably hated us for the candy overload, but oh well.
Since the party was midafternoon, we provided chips, a fruit tray, drinks and of course cupcakes. After about an hour of the kids playing and parents snacking, we decided to sing Happy Birthday, eat cupcakes and open gifts. I bought a cupcake stand from Hobby Lobby and used a 40% off coupon which ended up costing no more than $10. It's a great addition to any centerpiece and was very simple to assemble. 
Now before I reveal the cupcakes, I have to say they turned out better than I ever expected they would. The kids were absolutely outside of themselves and so was I! I will definitely be making these again for different holidays and events. You can easily do any color combination.
Compared to past birthday parties, we definitely cut costs without skimping on the overall effect. Parents, keep in mind, you don't have to break the bank to throw a great party that the kids will enjoy. This indeed, was another great birthday for the books. Check out some other photos from the party.

 Hope you enjoyed it! Now go out and bake some tie dye cupcakes!