Max is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine but I just could't bring myself to put together a Thomas party. So I went with an overall "vintagey" train theme instead. We didn't wanted to do special-on-a-budget so decided on an early evening party with a few treats and a pinata.
Thomas, Pinterest, & Project Nursery! What else? He loves the colors red & blue and got this fantastic hand-made wooden train set when he was first born so I wanted to incorporate those.
I usually lean towards retro/industrial/craftsman styles. I know, eclectic right?
The ideas for the tracks, the invitations, simple cupcake toppers and fruit kabobs came from these 2 cute train parties: http://maddycakesmuse.blogspot.com/2011/09/train-crazy.html, & http://onmysideoftheroom.blogspot.com/2011/05/train-party-food.html.
Invitations: I designed these to look like a train ticket and tear-off stub. I did it all on MICROSOFT-Paint. I'm happy with how they turned out and Max loved asking his guests for their tickets.
Decor: We started with the duct tape tracks leading from the street, up our driveway, through the courtyard and ending at the treat table. It took about 3 rolls and with 2 of us doing it (each of us doing one side) it went fast. It was so easy & is still there today. My boys love riding their bikes on it.
It isn't pictured, but I also set out a large empty suitcase so guests could put their gifts in it.
My fabulous friend made the banners for me using her Silhouette machine (http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/) & I made the cupcake toppers & THANK YOU bag stickers using mine.
A red vinyl tablecloth & brown wrapping paper made for an easy-peasy table covering. I also used the brown wrapping paper to cover the BAGGAGE CLAIM table.
A vintage suitcase & of course the wooden train he got as a baby serve as the center piece.
TreatTable: Pretzel "tracks" , fruit kabobs (cuz who doesn't want to eat off a stick?) & cupcakes were served. We also had to throw in a little bit of Thomas the Tank Engine, so he made an appearance as the pinata.
Blue contruction paper rolled into cones and stapled made the pretzel "track" holders. Bricks were used on the back half of the table under the tablecloth to add the higher tier. Paper products & the fun red striped straws all came from Oriental Trading. http://www.orientaltrading.com/
Baggage Claim: This was an easy & fun way to say Thank You to party guests. Brown paper bags with train hats & wooden whistles (also from Oriental Trading) with a sticker (see above) were also used to collect the goodies from the pinata. Throw it all in a suitcase & you're set!
I love how simple the duct tape tracks were and that we stil have and use them today. Some times the cheapest things turn out the best. I also love the simple brown paper elements mixed with the Thomas the Tank Engine Blue & Red.
You don't have to spend a fortune to make it special and memorable. Browse around the web for inspiration. Project Nursery & Pinterest were huge helps.