Animal + Zebra 3rd Birthday

  • cake11a copy1/23
  • prep72/23
  • invite7 copy3/23
  • tee4 copy4/23
  • animal25/23
  • outside3 copy6/23
  • outside2 copy7/23
  • fireplace copy8/23
  • fireplace2 copy9/23
  • fireplace3 copy10/23
  • balloon6 copy11/23
  • k table 2 copy12/23
  • k table 8 copy13/23
  • k table6 copy14/23
  • animal115/23
  • table3 copy16/23
  • cake6 copy17/23
  • cake10 copy18/23
  • cake13 copy19/23
  • cake15 copy20/23
  • favor2 copy21/23
  • boy3 copy22/23
  • family copy23/23


I wanted a fun & colorful birthday for my son. I was browsing Pinterest for ideas and saw a neon animal party. I took that idea and ran with it, making a board of all kinds of animal themed ideas.

Design Inspiration

I see birthday parties (& Halloween costumes) as a place to let my imagination run wild. I am not a fan of characters and wanted a fun theme, that was not specifically boy or girl, just kid - and one that makes you smile.

I went to the craft stores and Home Depot looking for paint colors since that was the main theme. I found 3 paint chips I liked, paints to match and I was off. I added zebra for a nice contrast.

Decorating Style

I am a big fan of repurposing, upcycling and DIYing things to have clean modern lines. Pinterest is great for ideas - I see something and make it mine.

Project Details

After I decided on a theme, I made the graphic invite. I went to thrift stores and the dollar store to find cheap plastic animals of all sizes. After I had gotten paint chips from Home Depot (& paint colors), I spray painted the animals and glued my wineglass + plastic trays together for cake stands and spray painted the animals and trays. After I was done I decided I wanted a special touch so I took a silver paint pen and painted a feature on all animals - eyes, teeth, tail, toenails, etc.

Let me just say that I'm not working right now so I have plenty of time to be creative & do over the top things like sewing streamers together to make ruffled streamers. I love how they look though! I cut out some paper to make fan snowflakes and made a simple construction paper welcome sign in the colors.

I often see paint chip ideas on Pinterest and think, no way! But I did take my (big) paint chips & cut out triangles, hot glued them onto a ribbon & I still have it up, it looks so cool.

I took the smaller spray painted animals and hung them on fishing line to make a garland that I hung over the mantel as well. It's nice to see movement in them and the fishing line makes them look like they are floating.

I knew I wanted a big number for the party since it's a statement piece. I saw coffee filter numbers but that seemed too time consuming. I found a piece of foam core and giant bubble wrap. The texture was amazing and I painted it ombre. I also used this number for his birthday picture, which was then in his thank you card.

I made soap crayons as party favors - so easy - glycerin, food coloring + fragrance poured in ice cube molds. Washed easily off the tub too, I tested it. I also quickly sewed up favor bags and wrote the kids names on the bag. I had come across a ton of free beanie babies so I put one of each in the favors as well.

I cut out animal feet silhouettes to make stencils and used flour to make a pathway to the front door - people loved it.

His birthday t-shirt I got on clearance, got the fabric paint for $1, and made a stencil of the elephant and painted it on.

In my research I saw a kit you can buy to attach animal faces on balloons. I decided I can make my own - out of all things I had around, construction paper & plastic eyes.

The birthday banner was cut out of construction paper with edging scissors and I reused last year's letters.

For food, I made animal crackers, fruit kabobs that were cut out in animal shapes, colored cereal treats in the theme colors (I admit this was over the top but I have time!), and other snacks.

I'm known for my cakes so I knew it had to be a good one. I definitely knew I wanted it colored inside. Then I (not so successfully) attempted zebra cakes in the other layers. I used zebra sugar paper you can get at craft stores. the problem is, it bubbles up if you put it on too far in advance so next time, do it day of! I made an elephant out of rice crispie treats and covered with my homemade fondant. I love the simplicity of it, and the fun surprise inside.

Favorite Items

My most favorite item was the cohesion of it all. I love the ruffled streamers though as well - such a simple way to elevate streamers and they can be re-used.


I spent so little money on this party, simply by using things I had already or remaking things into something more - the streamers, the snowflake wheels, door sign, number 3, etc. The invites were actually leftover from last year.

Use Pinterest for ideas, and make them your own! Most of all, have fun and remember creative doesn't have to be expensive.


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    I thought this party was really clever. Congratulations on being one of our favorite parties of the week.

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