By Christina VanGinkel
Making your own baby shower invitations and decorations can be a fun way to personalize and coordinate all of these items, and make the mother-to-be feel as if she is as important as she really is! With paper crafting all the rage these days, it might even be an economical way to get everything all in a single coordinated theme, and you can have fun pulling it all together in no time at all. If you think you might be a bit overwhelmed making everything yourself, you could always ask a few of the guest of honor's friends to give you a helping hand.
Start out by thinking of a theme that will be easy, but fun to pull together via the invitation, table decorations, streamers, even the cake! My favorite is baby feet, as the shapes are meaningful to the occasion, easy to cut out even if you have to do them by hand with scissors, and can be cut out in a variety of sizes, not to mention that I just think baby feet are as cute as any baby shape I can think of. Cute enough that it was the theme we used for my own daughter's shower a few years ago. Matching things like the cake decoration is also easily accomplished, as the shape is so easy to reconstruct in just about any manner you choose. While I refer to the theme of feet, keep in mind that any simple baby item could become the perfect shape for the next shower you host, such as a baby rattle, duck, bottle, or even a pacifier.
Starting with the invitations, use blank note cards already cut, with matching envelopes, or cut your own from white cardstock, and just purchase the envelopes. Decorate each card with a pair of baby feet in your color choice. If the baby's sex is already known, then go with pink or blue depending on the baby, or else go with a generic green or yellow, or even a striped cardstock or baby themed paper in a variety of colors. You can either make a stencil on your own, or copy a set from clipart you most likely have on your computer already, or search online for readily available free clipart.
You could also purchase an inkpad and stamp in the shape of baby feet, if you would rather avoid cutting too many of the feet shapes. On the inside of each card, simply write the pertinent information relating to the shower's location and time, and if there are any special rules to take note of, such as if it is a surprise for the guest of honor.
Carrying along the theme, decorate plain white, paper tablecloths in the theme of your choosing. For the baby feet, you could stamp all over the tablecloths, or tape down little feet that you cut out of various colored cardstock and themed paper. Streamers can be decorated in the same manner. If you have a stamp and ink pad in your chosen theme, you could do some with the stamp and ink, and some cut from cardstock and papers, for some fun combinations.
Think of additional ways to use your theme in the decorations. The outside of the punch bowl could have feet taped to it using clear double stick tape, and you could make name tags for the guests and guest of honor in the same shape. This is especially helpful if there are going to be people in attendance who do not all know each other. For my daughter's baby shower, we even decorated the bottom of each plate in a simple baby foot shape cut out of cardstock, and attached each set of feet with a thin piece of folded over scotch tape so they could easily be removed. Under one of the pairs of feet, we had placed an X, for our door prize winner. We also made extra baby feet, which we handed out to guests upon their arrival, and asked everyone to take the time to pen a note to her about raising babies. At the end of the shower, we had her read a few out loud, and then after the shower she used them to decorate her first scrapbook she ever made with pictures starting with her ultrasound all the way through his first few months, including shots of the shower and all the fun decorations.
If you are hosting a shower for someone special, take a bit of extra time to make it as special as can be, and celebrate with decorations you made all on your own!