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July 26, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Get the party started by letting Vox inspire you with ideas for throwing an Olympic-inspired bash at home. With the help of Cheri Pavia, event planner and owner of Heart & Arrow Events, we staged a party with a London twist. This quirky, playful style of décor is simple, affordable and anything but cookie cutter.
To create an Olympic atmosphere, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on elaborate decorations. All you need are a few simple items to DIY that will help guests settle into your version of the 30th olympiad.
Where: 23 S. Eighth St.
Megan Stoll Studios
For a Herculean decoration that can add a lot to the party space for little cost, trace the outline of a pizza pan on a poster board, then trace another circle in that outline with a mixing bowl. Cut out the resulting ring, spray paint it metallic gold, and repeat to create five identical rings. When you’re done, hot glue the cutouts in the shape of the Olympic rings, and hang it up with fishing line.
Did you know photos taken before 1923 on the Library of Congress’ Flickr page are free to use without permission? Get on the site, search for “vintage Olympics,” print out your desired picture at home, and frame it to give a true Olympics feel to your party.
To design your own chip bags, cut the top off paper sandwich bags with a pair of decorative scissors. Then stamp an image, such as London’s Big Ben, to match your décor. The stamp used in the picture is available
A packet of key rings from an arts and crafts store can quickly become Olympic rings. Hot glue five of them in the iconic shape, then glue a string of gold ribbon to each side, and tie the loose ends around the napkin. Voila, Olympic-ring napkin-ties!
Make your shindig a party to remember by providing fun, whimsical props that reflect the games. Pavia came up with several ideas for the shoot, but other household items such as a tennis racket, swimming goggles or a chalkboard also make good props.
Flex those muscles at the photo booth with this DIY dumbbell. Spray chalkboard paint on two large Christmas ornaments, stuff multiple small dowels between the two ornaments, super glue them so they’re secure, and finish off with more chalkboard paint. Lastly, don’t forget to write the weight of your dumbbells on the ends in chalk. For an alternative to the ornaments, replace the them with Styrofoam balls.
A big part of the games is the awards ceremony. Making a podium will not only be a nice decorative add-on to the party but will also serve as a great photo booth prop. To make it, just hot glue fabric and spray-painted numbers onto three different sized, sturdy boxes. Hot glue is reliable because it’s quick, clean, strong and versatile.
This Pinterest-inspired idea plays off of an ancient Olympic tradition. Roll gold-glitter paper into a cone and hot glue it. Then cut orange, gold and darker orange tissue paper into the shape of flames. Crumple the ends, and stuff them into the cone. Finally, fluff the flames until you get the desired fiery look.
Give your guests a fun prop to tinker with at the photo booth. These Olympic-rings glasses are made with the same steps and materials as the big decorative rings in step one except these circles are traced with Scotch-tape rings. Hot glue a dowel at one end for a handle. The glasses can also be used for table decorations.
This versatile addition can be used as a prop in the photo booth, framed for quick and easy party décor or laminated and used as a place mat on the table. The graphic pictured is inspired by the British flag poster and was designed by Megan Stoll Studios, but partiers looking to highlight other countries can easily customize their own with a photo editing program or print them off Pinterest.
Pavia says making your own trivia is also a party idea that incurs almost no cost. “It’s a cheap and easy form of entertainment,” she says. “You can easily look up the facts online and type it up on your computer.”
If there’s a category among food and drinks, entertainment and décor that you should spend the most money on, it’s splurging on a good menu. “A good menu is something guests usually look forward to,” Pavia says. “People always get a lot of enjoyment out of food.”
Menu Board: The menu is another easy way to inject more of the Olympics theme into your party.
Banner: Get creative with colored paper, and create a banner by cutting out your own letters.
Cupcakes: Turn regular sweets into Olympic treats like these custom desserts from Velvet Cupcake.