Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dora The Explorer Birthday Party

You might want to grab yourself a's going to be a long read.

Before I show any photos of Ella's birthday party, I want to share all the party decor and activities from the day.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I tried really hard to avoid all the tackiness that goes along with a Dora the Explorer birthday party.  Of course, I had to include some parts of the show...for Ella.  I bought Dora the explorer paper plates for the cake.  I used a Dora and Boots figure on the cake.  I also made some cutesy backpacks for the kids which looked like Dora's backpack.  The rest of the decor is Mexican fiesta inspired (does that even make sense?).  I basically just tried to use bright colours.

Around here, children's heads are getting bigger, therefore, party hats must be altered! Back in June I did a brief post on how to make birthday party hats.  These little hats are so not big enough for Ella's three-year-old head.  So, I did a little Internet searching and found these ADORABLE party hats from Oh Happy Day.  I loved the bright solid colours she used as well as the tissue paper pom poms on top.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the template to download.  Fortunately, I found another template! 

Project Nursery has a very similar shaped party hat template which I decided to free-hand rather than print out. For these hats, I used a large piece of scrap-booking card-stock instead of a standard sized piece of construction paper.  This allowed for a wider base on the hat and a much taller cone (I LOVE the tall party hat).

Ella insisted on the purple hat.  She also referred to the tissue paper around the base of the hat as the hat's skirt.   :D

Now, I didn't mention the Dora balloons that I ordered for the party...but I did...I ordered a gigantic bouquet of Dora balloons.  Aside from those, the other party decorations included a couple of banners.  I probably should have had a 'Happy Birthday' banner, but I didn't.  The banners were plain.  I'm over it.

For the banners, I used the beautiful card-stock that I used to make the Spring Bridal Shower banner.  Each banner consisted of 13 large triangles strung together by white ribbon.  Easy as that.  I was able to get 4 triangles from each sheet of card-stock (I made 2 banners).  

The party hats were actually made using the same card-stock, however, I made them with the patterns facing inside.  The banners are displayed so the different patterns can be seen.  This adds a bit of variety to the decor without the added cost of buying two types of card-stock.

Let's get to what's really important here...the cake!  From the moment Ella woke up in the morning, she was determined to have a piece of her cake.  I found some inspiration on Pinterest for this cake, but ultimately the design was my own.

Ella requested a strawberry cake for her birthday.  I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do about making a strawberry cake.  I didn't want to make strawberry shortcake because I knew she would be disappointed with that (not birthday cakey enough).  I found a recipe which used strawberry jello powder, but I was kind of grossed out by that...I have no idea why.  So, I decided to make a regular cake and fill it with strawberry butter cream   Yum!!  

Here's the cake breakdown:

Bottom Layer 10" - french vanilla cake with strawberry butter cream

Middle Layer 8.5" - chocolate cake with standard vanilla butter cream

Top Layer 6" - chocolate cake with strawberry butter cream

All layers are covered with fondant icing.

I'm not going to lie - I totally used store bought cake mix for these cakes.  Normally I make them on my own, but there was a SALE on cake mixes!!  $1 each...I had to do it.  I did, however, make the butter cream.  I MacGrubered up my own recipe for strawberry butter cream...and here it is:

1/2 cup butter
4 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 Tablespoons of strawberry jam

Whip butter in mixer until it is light and fluffy.  Add icing sugar and vanilla and mix well.  Add in jam one tablespoon at a time and mix well between each addition.  

It turned out to be DELICIOUS!!  I thought it tasted like strawberry ice cream, but that was just me.

On to the festivities!  Or should I say in in I planned one activity for Ella's party guests.  What can I say, they're only three.  The plan was to do some sort of Scavenger Hunt complete with a map, backpack and several treats along the way.  This got a bit simplified as the planning went on, but here's what we ended up with.

Ella and each of her guests were given their very own Dora the Explorer backpack to use for the activity and  of course take home with them.  I wanted to make these backpacks from towels because I figured it would be the most economical option and they would hold up well with little kids (due to the thickness of the material).  

I searched Pinterest for a towel backpack pattern and came up with this from the blog The Idea Room.  The pattern was so easy to follow!  I made a few changes along the way (no doubt).  Instead of using a cord for the draw-string, I tied together 6 long pieces of yarn and braided them to make the cords.  I also made a smaller version than the one featured by The Idea Room (12" by 12" for each square).  

I used felt to make the faces and each piece was hot-glued to the bag.

Super - Easy.

Here's a view of the back of the bag...

Inside each bag, I put a map for the scavenger hunt (from this point on, I'm calling it an adventure).  The maps were relatively short and I used as many pictures as possible (mostly clip art).  To view the maps click on the links below.

Some of the surprises that could be found during the adventure were Dora the Explorer tattoos (inside the tunnel), peanut butter cookies (hanging in the trees of 'Tico's Nutty Forest') and mini felt boards for the fridge (found buried in the sandbox).

That brings me to the mini felt boards for the fridge.  I couldn't decide what to put in the kids' loot bags (IE. backpacks).  Food is always good (hence the cookies) and tattoos (as I've recently learnt) are also popular.  I decided to go with these cute little felt trees with mini apples (in the spirit of my Etsy shop).  

Each tree has a magnet on the back, so it can stick to the fridge (the trees can also go on a larger felt board).  

The tree trunk and leaves (green part) are hot-glued together.  I also included 5 mini apples that can be placed anywhere on the tree.

Unfortunately, my pictures kind of suck.

Here's the back of the tree with one magnetic strip...don't mind the ugly flooring.

And that concludes the Dora the Explorer Birthday Party post!

I would also like to point out a major change to my pictures.  I've recently discovered Photo bucket!!  If you haven't signed up then you are missing out - missing out I tell you!  You can upload pictures and make cute changes to them (such as adding text).  I've been wanting to put markings on my craft pictures for awhile, but didn't have the slightest idea how!  The last thing I need right now is something else to occupy my (very little) spare time. However, I'm going to find a way to fit Photo bucket into my life.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post with pictures of Ella at her party!

Thanks for reading :D

I'm linking up!  Click here.


  1. WOW Jessica-Lynn I wish I was your daughter and you arranged my birthday parties. L0L What a lucky little girl. Can't wait to see pictures from the party.

  2. That cake looks amazing, and the backpacks are awesome as well! I'd love for you to share this at my new linky party, Submarine Sunday. I hope you'll stop by!


  3. Thanks for linking up at Submarine Sunday!

  4. I'm so glad that I'm following you! The backpacks are adorable! Thanks so much for sharing on Sundae Scoop:)


    1. Thanks! I'm glad you're following me too :D haha. Enjoy.

  5. Your birthday turned out great! LOVE the backpacks and so happy that you shared them with me. Thanks so much for the link back. I always appreciate it. And Happy Birthday to your daughter. I bet she LOVED all the details!

  6. Very cute. Love the backpacks! Visiting from Submarine Sunday linky party.


    1. Thank you! I will head over to check out your page :D

  7. This is a very cute Dora Party. I'm sure you had a very happy little girl

    1. Thank you! She sure was excited for her Dora birthday.

  8. This is such a great party! I absolutely love the Towel backpacks! Too cute! I am a new follower, found your party link on Homemaker on a Dime. Would love if you would come visit my blog and follow as well. Thanks!


    1. Thanks Nichole - the backpacks were very popular! Thanks for following, I'm heading over to visit you right now :D

  9. Dora- the Explorer Birthday Party is looking adorable. It is just a perfect idea for my nephew’s upcoming birthday bash. We want to book the suitable and spacious event venues in LA for this partyas we will invite a lot of guests. Is there anyone having some venue recommendations?


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