Pirate Party by TheMarshmallowStudio

Ahoy Mateys!!

Welcome to Captain Keiran’s 4th birthday party.

Months ago I told my hubs that I didn’t want to go all out for birthday parties anymore. I told him I wanted to keep it simple, inexpensive and small. Did I stand behind my words??? Kind of haha!

With lots of DIYs and pulling in my existing home decor and props, I was able to pull this pirate off on a very small budget. I’ll explain below.

As much as I love doing styled parties for my kids, I also love having extra cash to take trips or spend on things they need throughout the year. But seriously…. they’re only children once and I’m sure one day they’ll be over the celebrations and won’t allow me to do cute parties for them anymore. So I compromised. I told myself I would do styled parties but stick to a budget and re-purpose as much as possible.

I’m not sure how I arrived at the theme for this year’s party. I think it came to me because Keiran lives like a pirate (always hanging from stuff, not following rules, ready to party at any time) and because I found cute pirate stuff at the dollar section at Target almost a year ago. Hahaha!

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I made the treasure map invitations out of Trader Joe’s paper bags. Yes I did! I cut out 5″ X 7″ rectangles, hand wrote them with Sharpies, crumbled it up and then burned the edges. Everyone thought it was original and awesome!

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We usually cater our parties but this time, we opted for snacks and desserts only. On the savory station, we served fruit medley, veggies, and nachos for our guests to snack on.

For the backdrop of this table, I used a beat up pallet I had in the garage. Really! I was going for a ship wreck look.

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I made a cool banner using scrapbooking sheets. I first printed the letters on kraft cardstock paper, then I cut out black and red and white stripped squares from scrapbooking sheets. I burnt all sides of every squares, glued them layered on top of each other and then finally hot glued them to yute. It was super easy to do and looked fabulous.

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I displayed the treasure map invitation along with a captain hook and pirate coins on top of a raw cake stand covered with a dome. It made a great focal point for the table.

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This sat on top of a stained wood crate filled with decorations: seashells,  foam swords, a treasure map, jewel bead necklaces and more pirate coins.

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I tried to go for a secret cave look. I have a bunch of shells already because my boys’ and baby’s rooms are decorated with a nautical theme.

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I know it’s a kids party but it’s also a pirates party and pirates (parents haha) LOVE rum 😉

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I used the largest of my favorite rustic wood toolbox planter set to hold the bottles and keep them out of each of kiddos.

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I printed a bottle label and slapped it on a rum bottle. Considering the party was at 11am, this label was perfect LOL!!

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We made a pitcher of refreshing mango mojitos for the parents and filled the beverage dispenser with raspberry lemonade for the little ones.

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I’ve never liked serving one big bowl with dip for everyone to share. I prefer serving individual ranch cups for guests to grab and go with their veggies. I think it looks better and more appetizing this way.

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I used shot glasses for the ranch. You can have these poured and ready to go in your fridge before the party.

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One of my favorite details from this table were the captain hook picks.

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I  used them for the fruit salad.

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Let me tell you, this baker’s rack has been one of my best purchases. I’ve used this thing in every single party for 3 years now.

It’s small, light and holds tons of stuff. Due to it’s discrete design, it can go with any theme too.

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Here’s the smallest of the rustic wood toolbox planters to hold the forks. Santa brought the boys this electric lamp for Christmas. He said it was for when they go camping but mommy had to borrow it 🙂

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I decorated it with jewel bead necklaces and a hanging pirate. I wondered if the hanging skeleton pirate was too much but the adults thought it was funny. I don’t think the kids even noticed it haha.

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These fun pirate barrel cups were so much fun. The kiddos loved them. No more half empty juice boxes or scattered missing cups. Each kid got to take one home with them.

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Here is the medium of the  rustic wood toolbox planters. I used it to hold the disposable cups.

Don’t ask me why but I have a mild obsession for IKEA napkins. They’re big, soft and absorbent, not to mention they also come in lots of sizes, colors and patterns. Every time I go to IKEA, I grab a few and have them in stock for whenever I need them. I also keep in stock leftover disposable plates, cups and utensils so I don’t have to buy more for the next party.

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We HAD to have some Pirate’s Booty popcorn!! I used re and white duct tape to cover this cardboard box and use it to hold the popcorn bags.

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Here’s another party must.… cute little frames from IKEA. I have several of these in white, red, orange, blue and green. I pull them out for every party!

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I’ve learned that kids feel “fancy” when they have their own little place to sit. When the kids arrive, the first thing they do is run to the kids’ table and look for their name. I think it’s something they get from school.

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These are 4-foot tables set to the middle height level. I used 1 pirate tablecloth cut in half to cover both tables.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might recognize these chairs. They are my fantastic Goodwill finds that I paid $5 a chair. They are Pottery Barn chairs that retail for $79 each!

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I had Aiden help me set these tables. He really really really enjoys party planning and crafting. He might be the next David Tutera haha!

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Each place setting had a coloring sheet (I printed them on grey cardstock paper), a pirate hat and a treasure chest favor box.

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The treasure chest was filled with lots of fun goodies: tattoos, mustaches, eye patch, treasure map, telescope, chocolate coins and a DIY message in a bottle necklace.

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These DIY message in a bottle necklace kits were super cute!

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I attached a little tag to each coloring sheet with yute.

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Last year I went to Seattle for IFBC. While walking along the piers, I found a pirate store with tons of pirate stuff. I bought this pirate flag. Pretty legit huh?!

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I absolutely LOVED how the dessert table turned out!

I used a black paper tablecloth I had left over from Aiden’s Scooby Doo party. I made a vertical runner out of red & white stripped wrapping paper that I had also left over from his party. The scary cloths draped over are from my Halloween decor.

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Here’s another banner I made to match the “Ahoy Mateys!” one on the snacks table. I hung it on a mirror that we normally have in our bedroom.

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Can you see me?

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Instead of making a cake, I decided to make a bunch of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

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Check out these fabulous greaseproof cupcake liners!!! They stayed bright even after baking red velvet in them. Gosh, I love Sweets and Treats Boutique for making these!!

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I went for minimal decor on the cupcakes. a few gold pearl sprinkles and a pirate coin.

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I’t all in the details. More seashells and starfish decorations.

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These cool little black velvet baggies were a surprise for the kids. Right before they left, I gave them out and thanked them for coming over and finding the treasure with Keiran.

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Inside there was a handful of plastic jewels!

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I like to balance the dessert options by offering baked and non-baked goods. I think Jell-O cups is a perfect option.

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I made “pirate’s blood”cups and decorated the tops with a few skull, bone and gold pearl sprinkles.

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I also made edible treasure map treats. These were styled on a wire wine rack.

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Making these fondant treasure maps was super easy. I kneaded Wilton’s Decorator Preferred vanilla and chocolate fondant together, cut out squares, rolled it out with roller, rolled edges in and let it sit out overnight to dry. Once dry, I used edible markers to draw on them. I attached them to each RKT with melted Baker’s white chocolate. (You can see more photos of the steps on my Instagram feed.)

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I purchased a bunch of these chocolate coins at Party City. I like that they sell them individually and in an array of foil colors. I got a few gold, silver, red and black.

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I used a wood jewelry chest that I had and filled it with Hershey’s “gold nuggets” and pirate coins.

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Yum, chocolate!

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My limited Photoshop skills come in handy when it’s time to style parties. I like being able to do my own printables, banners, tags and more.

Here I stained a raw wood frame from IKEA and made a sign for the dessert table.

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This was a treasure map that I purchased at that pirate store I was telling you about in Seattle. I crumbled it up to make it look old.

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The table was filled with bone chillin’ details. (I love puns haha)

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This chest is my husbands. He’s had it since he was a kid. I thought it’d be a good prop to fill with candy and marshmallows 🙂

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I made these marshmallow “gold coins” using melted Baker’s white chocolate, gold luster and my airbrush. (More photos of these in the making on my Instagram feed.)

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I baked “pirate bone” cookies. These were seriously yummy!

These were easy to make and much more appropriate for this party than cute little sugar cookies. I used my Wilton bone pan that I got a couple of Halloweens back.

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You can see the recipe I used from SprinkleBakes HERE.

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I spray painted an old candle holder with Rustoleum gold metallic spray paint and burned a cheap red candle I got at Walmart for like $2 bucks.

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My friend’s husband let me borrow an empty growler and the cool skull topper.

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I even had a secret in a bottle just for Keiran.

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I’d say the party was a total success! Look at these cuties having a blast 🙂 

Melts my heart. This is how I know parties are well worth the effort!

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Happy Birthday sweet Keiran. Make a wish…

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Check out my other parties to see how I’ve used the same items for a different theme and styling.

I guess you could say that the only expenses I made for this party was the pirate stuff from Seattle and Target, disposable plates and the food/chocolates. Around $150 total. Told you I didn’t spend a lot!

What was your favorite part of the this party?

Pirate Party by TheMarshmallowStudio_stepouts


  • Oriental Trading: favor treasure chest boxes, mini telescopes, DIY message in a bottle necklace kits, tattoos, treasure maps, gem skull pouches, captain hook picks, gold pirate coins, pirate tablecloths, pirate barrel cups, coconut cups, and mustaches
  • Sweets and Treats Boutique: Cupcake liners and paper straws
  • Koyal Wholesale: rustic wood toolbox planters and wood crates
  • Pirate Plunder:  pirate flag, extending telescope, and paper treasure map
  • Wilton: skull sprinkles, gold pearl sprinkles, bone sprinkles, bone cookie pan, fondant, edible ink markers,
  • SweetWorks: black Sixlets
  • Birthday Express: red and white stripped gift wrap paper
  • Party City: disposable plates, cups, utensils, jello shot cups, chocolate coins, black tablecloth, and tongs
  • Ikea: napkins, picture frames and red bowl
  • Target: pirate hat and eye patch sets, foam swords and metal beverage dispenser stand
  • Hobby Lobby: scrapbooking sheets, kraft paper, yute, black cake stands,
  • Michael’s: seashells and star fish, sand, red and white stripped photo box,
  • HomeGoods: red cake stand, metal wine rack, metal cake stand, beverage dispenser, and dome
  • Walmart: bakers rack, jewel necklaces, red candle and metallic gold spray paint
  • The Container Store: wood trays
  • Kirklands: Mirror
  • Pick Your Plum: raw cake stands
  • Costco: fruit, veggies, ranch, Pirate’s Booty popcorn, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, Gold Nugget chocolates and lemonade
  • Smart & Final: chips and nacho cheese

Please note: I received products from Oriental Trading and Sweets & Treats Boutique free of charge for me to review and show in use. No other type of compensation was received for this review. This review is based strictly on my honest opinion. I only endorse products that I love and use personally.

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