My son Mason’s 7th birthday was a cause for celebration for our entire family! Parties like this allow me to use my artistic flair to highlight many of the things that are special to my kids in creative ways. Staying in line with tradition, we picked the theme for the party by drawing inspiration from what he was super interested in at that time. Recently, Mason’s been a big fan of sea animals, so it was only natural to choose a fun shark theme right off the bat!
It all started when Mason came to me with a list of 52 different sharks and a request that I paint every one! Luckily, we were able to settle on 10 sharks we thought would be best and I began hand painting each one. My approach was to design his invites with a creative edge without the sharks looking too scary to the kids, so we incorporated some cute rhymed copy to lighten up the tone. "Beware of sharks, but have no fear, come join us as we celebrate Mason's 7th year, at our fin-tastic birthday party!"
Mason and I getting inspired. Doing our shark research with his favorite animal book. Below are videos of some of my shark paintings.
The paintings turned into this fun invitation for the kids!
Each invitation was encased in a box with a detailed mailing label covered in my hand painted sharks. When opened, the invitation lay in a bed of blue crinkle surrounded with little toy sharks for all the kids to play with. On the lid’s inside was a red warning sign, alerting the kids to beware and “enter at your own risk”! The invites were accordion folded vertically so that when opened, it was almost as if you were going deeper and deeper under the sea. Similar to an animal picture book, the invite was decorated with my watercolor sharks that swam around the details of the party in sharp, white, all caps typography.
I think the birthday boy is happy! Of course, we couldn't stop there. We wanted to carry the theme of sharks into every element of the event, so we created unique signage around each activity that tied this in. From the snack table that labeled each food as their own ocean treats like “fish food”, and the cornhole station where kids were directed to “feed the sharks” by throwing their hackysack into the shark's mouth, to the gift bags that each guest received at the end of the party covered in the hand painted sharks, our design touched every component of the event.
Creating for my kids is truly a passion project. Every detail is just that much more personal and the best part is seeing how much they light up when everything is revealed. Luckily, bringing creativity like this to your child’s birthday celebration is something everyone can easily do! My advice is to really pay attention to how your theme can be incorporated into every little piece of the event, from start to finish. Not only does it show how choosing to go the extra mile makes a world of a difference, but it engages the kids in creative ways that they are sure to remember for years to come!
Watch the video below for the opening of the final shark party invitation!
Explore more about this event and our inspirations by reading Beware of Sharks! Mason's Fintastic Backyard Birthday Party.
Invitation Design & Event Branding: Ceci New York | Custom Watercolor: Ceci New York | Photography: Sara Kauss Photography | Cake: Cake Power | Shark Cookies: Eleni's New York | Personalized Names and Shark Head Crayons: Art 2 The Extreme | Linens: Nüage Designs | Shark Towels: Yikes Twins | Elle's Dress: Smiling Button | Ceci Shark Tooth Necklace: Kate Davis Jewelry | Ceci "Mason" Necklace: Tiny Tags