Here’s a throwback post to when my hubby and I DIY-ed a hobbit birthday party for our daughter some time back (specifically, in 2014!).
Now let it be known to all that my husband and I are major Lord of the Rings fans. I must admit that my Tolkienitis has lessened of late (you know, like the courtesy of Edoras Hall *wink wink*), as I haven’t been rereading my books at least once a year as I used to. I totally wanted to do a Christopher Lee.
But it wasn’t so hard for my husband and I to pick a theme for our daughter’s first birthday party: A Long-Expected Hobbit Party, just like Bilbo Baggins’ fun 111th outdoor fiesta from The Hobbit.
Hobbit party preparations
Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold the party outdoors because her birthday falls right in the middle of typhoon season. So we tried to DIY the elements and decor as best as we could just to get that festive, outdoor hobbit picnic party feel, even while inside an airconditioned clubhouse.
I began with the preparations months ahead. I created a Pinterest board to get inspiration from fellow Tolkienites, and was pleased to find so many cute and cool ideas.
Hobbit party materials hunted and gathered
I had a budget to work with, and back then, a day job that took up most of my time. So I could only work on my DIY projects at night. But toil I did, given I had much lead time.
From June to August, I bought the following materials:
- rope and wooden clothing pins (from IG seller @zoedesignpaperie)
- crepe paper in different shades of green, and pink, blue, orange, and yellow;
- multicolored construction paper and reams of short and long bond paper;
- parchment paper;
- popsicle sticks;
- laid and cardboard paper;
- sticker nametag labels (all from National Book Store)
- Toy bows and arrows, swords, and bubbles (from various department stores)
I also did a trip with a friend to Divisoria market in Manila. As everyone already knows, Divisoria is a treasure trove of DIY party materials. Practically everything we needed was sourced from there. Of course, one needs to stomach in the crowds and the mud and the puddles around streetside sellers.
I specifically didn’t buy from the airconditioned malls, thinking I could get better deals from street stalls. In hindsight, experience has taught me that this isn’t always the case. Nevertheless, I was still able to buy a lot of stuff, and all within my budget:
- a thick, wide roll of craft paper
- more jute rope
- packs of chocolate “coins” wrapped in gold foil, for the giveaways
- 3D letters made of carton
- some boughs of holly which I thought we could use for a Party Tree
- small baskets for table centerpieces
- about 10 bunches of dried rice stalks
- flower wreaths for me and my daughter (which she of course refused to wear at the party)
- two sets of brunette curly-haired wigs for me and my husband
- a skirt and a pair of sandals to complete my costume 🙂
- a palayok, or clay pot, for one of the games
- and 100 pieces of mini burlap bags (which I thankfully found through this bride-to-be’s blog)
Working on decor, months ahead of the hobbit party date
Whenever I DIY my parties, I know that I will most likely be stressed and all over the place on the day of the event.
Which is why I try to get all the DIY-ed stuff done weeks ahead, so it’ll just be a matter of putting them up at the venue.
For our daughter’s hobbit birthday, my husband and I had a headstart of about four whole months. Excited, much?
To create a birthday banner just like the one that was unfurled under the Party Tree for Bilbo, I used a thick roll of wide craft paper.
I then downloaded a couple of hobbit-related fonts online (there are so many of them!), which I mixed up in the invitation and used as reference for the birthday banner.
I tried to practice on paper first to get the fonts right. But as I’m usually just so gung-ho about these things, I just went ahead and sketched large-sized hobbit letters on the craft paper banner in pencil.
Later on, I filled the strokes with black marker (yep, I used up a LOT of black markers. If I ever decide to do this again next time, I’ll just use poster paint!).
Making both hand-drawn and digital invitations
I had initially wanted to hand out rolled parchment-paper invitations to all our guests, and even made several prototypes.
I also tried staining paper with coffee to create a weathered- looking hobbit-party invite. But after realizing that I didn’t have the budget (nor the strength) to make physical invitations to all the guests on our list, I ended up printing out invitations on parchment paper for just our families and next-door neighbors.
Then I invited the rest through a Facebook event page, with a flatlay photo of the handmade invite, styled The Hobbit-way, of course.
I styled and shot an online invitation and event cover photo (also co-art directed by the hubby), to let everyone in on the party theme.
Many of the materials in these photos (like the sword-shaped pen, quill, inks, wax sticks and sealers, and a leather chest) were stuff I already owned. The gas lamp was on loan from my mom.
Sometimes, you have to thank those spur-of-the-moment purchases you make, as they often come in handy in situations like these!
I also tried to make a map to the venue, and realized that I could do a much clearer and understandable map on Adobe InDesign rather than by hand.
Using recycled materials for hobbit-style centerpieces
For the table centerpieces, I decided to make use of the Gerber baby food jars we’d collected since the babycat started eating solids. I simply added more to our stash by buying from Divisoria.
To make sure the jars were clean, I boiled them five times in clean water, then washed them with alcohol, and soap and water. Then I boiled them again five more times, before drying under the sun.
Yes, I wanted them to be food-safe clean! I wanted to use them as containers for jams and butter, as well as for the buffet table food labels.
DIY Hobbit-inspired party frocks
So I asked our family dressmaker (the same one who made my wedding dress) to make one like it. It only cost me about P1,000 too!
I would’ve wanted a better choice of fabrics, but I didn’t want to sweat the small stuff, and trusted the dressmaker’s picks.
Anyway, everyone liked the babycat-hobbit’s dress!
My and my husband’s outfits were put together from clothes we already had. Though I did buy our wigs, my pleated chiffon skirt, flower crown, and leather sandals from Divisoria market.
That’s about everything I prepared for the party. Check out the next blog post for the rest of the party decor, food pics, and notes!
All photos by Jico Joson, unless otherwise stated.