How-To: Colorful Birthday Party

Celebrate a milestone birthday with a brightly hued affair decorated entirely out of simple party store items.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel, Camille Styles ©2012. Cooking Channel, LLC. All Right Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel, Camille Styles ©2012. Cooking Channel, LLC. All Right Reserved.

Neon Birthday: Party in Five

For most of us, the word neon conjures up images of spandex apparel from decades past. But by combining easy-to-source party store supplies and DIY details in bright and neutral tones, you’ll take these fluorescent hues out of the '80s and into your modern and sophisticated soiree.


To throw this electric-hued birthday party, you need just five essential ingredients: colorful confetti, printable do-it-yourself invitations, classic party hats, extra-long and numeric birthday candles and cupcakes with neon icing.

Party Store Palettes

Navigating the cluttered aisles of a party store and finding materials for a chic adult birthday party can be a bit overwhelming. Whether it’s neons, pastels or primaries you fancy, choose a color palette before you hit the store (and stick to it!) for smart shopping and to turn an ordinary birthday party into a sophisticated event.

Inviting Invitations

Set the tone for the party by sending out modern, easy-to-make invitations. Simply download this template and use a laser printer to print it onto half-size kraft paper sheets. Use numbered stamps to mark the guest of honor’s age, then create diagonal neon stripes with colorful tape for a final pop of color. Fill in party details, fold the card into thirds and seal with tape. 


(Click here for the invitation template.)

Festive Fluorescents

This bright birthday table is fun, modern and just screams party time! A kraft paper-topped table provides a neutral backdrop that doesn’t compete with neon decor, allowing the food and details to pop. Party store items like metallic tinsel and oversized balloons add a festive touch and double as the perfect “photo booth” background for guests to pose in front of.

Do the Dip

Put a fresh spin on standard party fare by displaying vegetable crudites in a novel way. Slice veggies such as carrots, bell peppers and asparagus into long strips, then stand them up vertically in clear acrylic or glass containers. Arrange the containers on a platter and fill one last container with Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip –– a flavorful and neutral-colored accompaniment.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip

Roll With It

Refreshing summer rolls filled with veggies and rice noodles add a global touch to the menu and can be served simply with chopsticks and a sweet-and-savory sauce. Cut them in half for bite-size pieces that are easy for guests to manage as they mingle.

Get the Recipe: Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

Toast With the Most

Festive libations are a must for any birthday. For a bright (and tasty) option, serve this electric Blissini topped off with gold tinsel stir sticks. It has the perfect blend of Prosecco, orange juice, pomegranate juice and mint leaves for a refreshing, sparkling cocktail.

Get the Recipe: Blissini

Hats Off to You

Give the classic party hat a much-needed makeover by creating your own. Disassemble a standard party hat to use as your template, then trace its shape onto card stock that matches your party’s color palette. Next, cut out the shape, roll the paper into a cone and secure it with double-sided tape. Ditch the elastic band in favor of sheer gold ribbon and attach a tinsel pom to the top for an instant dose of glam.

Cool Cupcakes

Instead of a traditional birthday cake, serve homemade vanilla cupcakes frosted in ombre shades of icing. Set cupcakes on classic white cake stands for an eye-catching edible centerpiece. You can also lay an inexpensive “table runner” by scattering neon confetti –– created using a jumbo hole punch –– down the length of the table.


To recreate these cupcakes, divide a batch of buttercream frosting into several small bowls. Using different amounts of gel food coloring, tint each bowl a slightly darker or lighter hue for a gradient effect. This is a great way to tie in your color palette of choice.

Get the Recipe: Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcake

Make a Wish

It’s not a birthday party until the age-old song has been sung and the guest of honor has blown out the candles. Poke extra-long gold birthday candles into each cupcake for a glowing display, and top the cupcake tiers with numeric candles for the birthday age. Stash party store flatware in clear containers to keep utensils organized and to add another bold pop of color to the table.

Electric Geometrics

To keep this punchy palette feeling modern, mix bold geometric patterns into the table design. Use painter's tape to create a decorative pattern “stencil” on the border of disposable bamboo dinner plates and fill in with neon paint. Let dry, remove the tape and complete each setting with a party hat and tinsel-topped cocktail for an irresistibly inviting table.

Bright Bubbles + Bits

Neon containers of bubbles and confetti are whimsical, inexpensive touches that can be picked up at the party store and are sure to bring out the inner child in all your guests. Set one at each place setting, scatter across the table or send home as favors with sweet tags attached.

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