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Owen’s Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party


I wanted Owen's first birthday to be unique and special, while using as little money as possible. My goal was to decorate with things I already had in the house, buying only a few basic necessities. The result was a very simple, handmade party... nothing extravagant or expensive, just a sweet little celebration of our baby's first year.

Design Inspiration

The little graphic on the invitations inspired the entire party. I didn't want it to feel overly themed - just light and fun.

Decorating Style

I'd much rather make things than buy them. I'm a cheap DIY-er who likes old-fashioned things.

Project Details

Invitation - DIY in Photoshop, printed on cardstock; copied from an Instagram I can't seem to find anymore :/


Orange Envelopes - Office Max

Big Hot Air Balloon - DIY; Japanese paper lantern, colored tissue paper for the stripes, yarn, half an oatmeal container for the basket  


Circle Garlands - DIY


Party Hat - free printable from, DIY yarn pompom


Little Hot Air Balloons - DIY; mini Japanese lanterns, mini cupcake liners


Cake Topper - DIY; mini Japanese lantern, toothpicks, mini cupcake


Pretzel Hugs -


Popcorn Containers - Target


Stripey Straws - Target


Favorite Items

The big hot air balloon is my favorite... I spent the most time making that. I also loved Owen's face when he saw the party favors (helium balloons tied to animal cracker boxes) sitting all in a row - balloons just make everybody happy.

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  1. avatar Katy says:

    Where did you find the tiny paper lanterns especially for the cake?

  2. […] Air balloon cake  – love the way this cake has been decorated […]

  3. […]  Hot Air Balloon Topper – This hot air balloon topper is just so darn cute.  And guess what else? Easy! Composed of […]

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  6. avatar Emily says:

    I’m not sure if you’re still looking at comments on this page, but I’m doing a hot air balloon party for my son, and I’d love to know where you found the elephant/hot air balloon image you used on his invitation! It is SO cute.

  7. […] Owen’s Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party by Elizabeth […]

  8. […] also love the colour palette and cute cake for the party below. The cookies on the right are by Hello […]

  9. avatar Elizabeth says:

    The basket is a mini cupcake, and the top is a mini Japanese lantern that I pulled off a string of lantern lights. I taped toothpicks to the inside of the lantern, and stuck the toothpicks in the mini cupcake :).

  10. avatar Nrmk says:

    How did you make the DIY mini cake topper?

  11. avatar annabear says:

    very creative!

  12. avatar Ekie says:

    I vote for Owen’s birthday party I like the colors and food ideals.

  13. avatar Faith says:

    I voted for you!:) I voted for Owen’s birthday party because it’s unique, creative, and AFFORDABLE. It’s nice to know that you can have a chic and fun party without having to go overboard on food and decor.

  14. avatar Tasha Cune says:

    Those hot air balloons are so creative! Such a lovely idea! Will definitely try making them one of these days.

  15. avatar mychael13 says:

    So cute! Simple and sweet.

  16. Oh now this is ingenious and so sweet! The cloud templates on the shelves made me smile and the draped circular bunting that tied in with the shapes of the hot air balloons is magical and very professiona looking.

    What is darling to me is the little balloon on top of the cake – a show-stopper and perfect for a little boy. I hope he had a delightful birthday!