DIY centerpieces that make your child the star of the show
Our youngest of three daughters became a Bat Mitzvah earlier this year. She loves dance, drama, and musical theatre and wears colorful tutus to school on a regular basis. So no surprise, her Bat Mitzvah decor theme was TUTUS!
After searching online for personalized table centerpiece ideas and coming up with nothing, I figured I’d just invent something myself. Here’s what I came up with:
Our lovely Julia in tutus of all colors of the rainbow!
Because I wanted to put different, real tutus on the actual centerpieces, I started by photographing Julia against a green screen without a tutu. She’s wearing a simple white tank and lacy dance trunks so I could embellish her outfit later in Photoshop. I photographed her in a variety of poses that have her arms away from her waistline so that I’d be able to attach the tutu later on.
Using Photoshop, I deleted the green background from around each of her pics. Then I added cute digital embellishments to her white t-shirt. I also added different colored digital bows in her hair. I changed the color of her hi-top tennis shoes too. I made 6 different Julia designs for our 12 tables. (A 13th Julia graced the entry table where guests picked up their seating cards.)
Again, using Photoshop, I flipped each Julia image horizontally, and set up both versions side by side on one document to be printed as 24″ x 36″ posters. This is so that, when the centerpiece is finished, the back is the same as the front, but a mirror image 🙂 I printed 13 individual posters.
I cut out each Julia from the white background, leaving the touching points connected (elbows, hands, or fingertips) so that I could simply fold in half, back to back, after cutting.
I needed a stand for the whole thing so I went with cardboard boxes covered in fabric. I used Priority Mail boxes that I already had from the post office. Inside each box, using hot glue, I attached a piece of floral foam in the center so that the wood stick would have something to stand up in/be stabilized.
Turning the box on it’s side, after attaching the floral foam and closing the box, I cut a hole in the center of the “top” with a craft knife that was just big enough for the wood stick to fit through.
At Home Depot I found 10′ long flat pieces of wood (I think they are used to make chair rails) that are about 1.5 inches wide. I had a HD employee cut the long pieces down into 28″ pieces.
I painted the tops of each piece of wood (the part that that would show above the bottom platform) with colorful acrylic craft paint.
I attached the folded Julias to the wood stick with a regular glue stick. I also glued her arms and head together. I had purchased the colorful tutus online. I think they are made to fit infants. But I had to cut them shorter because they were too long when I got them. It was simple to attach the tutus to the Julias with staples. The staples don’t show because of all the gathers.
I had purchased sparkly 12 x 12 scrapbook card stock for her “stage floor”. Below the stage floor is colorful satin cloth that covers the box in which the stick balances.
With the craft knife, in the center of the sparkly cardboard stage floor, I cut a small section out, again, just big enough for the stick to fit through. I laid the cloth over the box, centering it. With the craft knife, I slit a hole in the fabric, just over the hole that’s in the box. On top of that, I placed the sparkly stage floor, making sure all the holes line up. I then inserted the “Julia on a stick” through the stage floor/fabric/box, right down into the floral foam. If you’ve made the slits just big enough, but not too big, all will stay in place and not move around 🙂
Using a pair of zig-zag craft scissors, I cut a 4 inch slit in the corner of the “stage floor” so that, during set-up at the party, our balloon person could insert the ribbons of the helium balloons I had ordered for each table. This makes it look like the balloons are coming up from the stage floor (see top pics).
For table numbers, I used Photoshop to design simple 4 x 6 images (2 per each table) that I had printed by my favorite online photo printing service. I use Winkflash. I simply placed the cards on each table, leaning against the stand.
The day before the big event, we delivered all the Julias to the party location so that they would be available for the staff to set up before the guests arrived. (Glad I drive a big van – they all fit!) So many people in the busy parking lot stopped us as we carried them in, wanting to know what they were for and how I made them! I was thrilled to get a preview of the smiles they would bring at the party. 🙂
Centerpieces for a boy
One of our guests at Julia’s Bat Mitzvah was my dear friend Susan who was already planning her son Nick’s Bar Mitzvah. She LOVED the Julia centerpieces and asked if she could “copy” my idea for Nick’s party. Of course I said yes, and I told her how I made them.
And just this past Saturday, Nick became a Bar Mitzvah. At their party, this baseball prodigy was the star of every table! Susan did a fantastic job with her centerpieces. She skipped the tutus 😉 and used pics of Nick in various team outfits. Susan used the USPS boxes without cloth – she covered them in fake grass and added unique team artwork to each one. Brilliant!
Credit for the super fun “Gelt Gift Box” below goes to Peter, Nick’s dad, who came up with the idea when Susan found she had printed one too many “Nicks”, lol. The $ collector was placed on the gift table. Love this!
Even if you’re not planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, this centerpiece idea will work for any kind of a party. If you’re hosting a sweet-sixteen, graduation, quinceanera, retirement, anniversary, birthday, baby or bridal shower, you can’t go wrong by making your guest(s) of honor the star of every table!