Posts Tagged ‘Photo Booth’

DIY Tutorial - How to Make a Real Photo Booth

I've been wanting to know how to make an actual wooden photo booth for a while now, so when I saw that Jeannette from J. at Your Service created a tutorial on how she made hers for her adorable Nate's 2nd Birthday Lil' Monsters Party, I knew this was something I wanted to share.

Take it away, Jeannette...

Since Nate's Lil' Monsters party was posted, I've received tons of emails with requests for a tutorial on the Monster photo booth. This time I took a few photos to show the process... Also to show that I did in fact make them myself!

When I made these carnival game booths for Nate's Carnival party last year, people did not believe that I had made them myself but I'm a very handy woman actually. I work a saw and a drill much better than my hubby (sadly).

I recycled one of my game booths and decided to extend the back wall to make room for the monsters.


The side walls are pre-cut wood boards from Home Depot, measuring 4'x2', priced at about $7 to $8 each. The new back wall is a thinner wood board (sorry I couldn't tell you the type because I don't remember) but that was also pre-cut at 4'x4', around $13. I decided to cut a foot off the side, making the back wall 4' tall by 3' wide. I used a hammer and nails for this, only because I was in a hurry but I recommend screwing them together with thin screws. Much more secure that way.


I didn't bother to paint or touch up the insides since I was going to cover the walls with fabric. Which I forgot to take a picture of but it was very simple. I bought enough fabric to fit the dimensions inside of the booth and with a staple gun, attached the fabric to the walls. Much easier than having to paint it all over again. The fabric I bought in the Downtown L.A. fabric district.


It was now time to cut out some monsters! I purchased another pre-cut board, same one used for the back wall of the booth. I drew the shape I wanted with a pencil and pulled out my jigsaw. By the way...... I LOVE my jigsaw! (Excuse the way I look, but I don't wear make-up when I'm gettin' down and dirty!)


I bought a yard of each color but really only needed 1/2 a yard for each. Each monster measured about 3' tall and about 1 1/2 to 2' wide. I purchased this fabric in Downtown L.A. as well.

Using my staple gun, another of my favorites, I stapled the fabric to the back of each, making sure that the fabric was nice and snug. The facial details, eyes and mouth, were cut from foam sheets, glued on with a hot glue gun. You can get those at any craft store. That is how Charlie and Bud were born! :)

The final product!

Thank you, Jeannette for this great tutorial. I love a woman who knows her way around power tools. :)

If you make a wooden photo booth yourself for your next party, please send photos. I'd love to post them! And if you need some FREE photo booth printables, we've got you covered.

Also, definitely check out the incredible parties Jeannette has added to our site. They are really amazing! And to learn more about Jeannette and her party planning services, please check out her blog, J. at Your Service.

Fun and Festive Ideas for a Cinco De Mayo Party

In addition to our gorgeous free Cinco de Mayo party printables, here are some ideas from fiesta parties on our main site for throwing a gorgeous Cinco De Mayo party. (Click on the photo to see what party the photo is from.)

Pinatas for decoration and fun

 Jarritos Mexican sodas makes things authentic

Yummy taco fixings

Delicious churros

A little music

"Papel picado" (paper flags) and sombreros give it a festive feel

Musical instruments add fun

Pin the tail on the donkey for kids and adults

Some lucha libre masks

And salsa dancing

Plus a Mexican photo booth

And these gorgeous party printables which includes invitations, party circles, drink flags, beer bottle labels, and a Cinco de Mayo banner

And you've got yourself a party!

Anyone have any other ideas to add? Please comment...

Have a fun and festive Cinco de Mayo and please add your parties to our site so I can show them off!



My Daughter's 4th Mermaid Birthday

Finally, finally. Now that my daughter and I have both recovered from being sick and I've returned from Bloggy Boot Camp, I'm finally able to post photos of my daughter's 4th mermaid birthday.

Here is my daughter with her fairy princess hat. She debated wearing a mermaid costume, but ultimately fell in love with this dress. The face paint was of her own design. Every Friday, the children at my daughter's preschool are able to paint their own faces, hence the face painting you'll see on the other little guests.

The beautiful printables are from Lindi of Love the Day. The birthday banner was a great decoration for the fence. I printed out Lindi's cupcake topper designs, strung them together, and used them as a border along the pizza table. Plus I decorated a coral centerpiece with hanging tags.

The awesome photo booth props are courtesy of Kelli from The Paper Dolls Shoppe and my homemade "photo booth" sign I printed out and put in a frame.

Here's the bucket of photo booth props. I decided to step out of our mermaid theme a bit and put together a collection  of fun hats, masks, tiaras, leis, sunglasses, boas, and colored hair. The kids had a blast with them and wore them throughout the party.

These are the insanely lovely fondant cupcake toppers from Charynn at Two Sugar Babies and were a nice surprise for the guests. And here's a pictures of the special mermaid cupcake topper (with a bite taken out of it) that Charynn made especially for my daughter's cupcake.

Here is what the table looked like before the pizzas arrived.

The bucket of favors: they were mermaid and pirate Shrinky Dinks with cute printable "thank you" favor tags from Lindi. I got a lot of good feedback from the parents on the favors. Nice take-home activity.

Here are the unbelievable balloon bouquets from Balloon Celebrations. Since the party was at a park and there was a lot of open space, we needed something "big" to make an impact and the balloons did just that!

The entertainment -- Goofy Gil and his friend Momo -- kept everyone laughing.

Some of the photo booth pics...

And finally... my delicious girl and me!!

So here are my lessons learned:

  • Serving just pizza and cupcakes worked better than expected. No one seemed to miss the healthy fruit or the decadent dessert table.
  • My photographer, Samantha Zachrich, was well worth it, and I loved working with her. Next time I will put together a shot list because of course after it was over, I realized I missed certain shots, like a group photo of all the guests, the pizza table, the cupcakes in their trays, etc.
  • Having someone there to help man the photo booth with the photographer was essential because 4-year-olds definitely need some wrangling. Also, I wish I'd gotten a bigger piece of fabric to hang up as the backdrop.
  • Keeping the party short to one and half hours was ideal. For most of the kids and parents it was just enough time, and for others we left them wanting more. Love that!
  • I still need to work on "flowing with it." This is definitely my hardest lesson. When the pizzas were almost late I got stressed. When the kids raided the photo booth props to wear during the party, I had to remind myself to breathe. And when my daughter became obsessed with the presents during the party (having never gotten so many from her friends before) I had to remember to laugh about it.
After it was all over, my daughter hugged me and said this was "the best party ever!" That is what made the whole day (and months of planning) worth it!!

Planning My Daughter's 4th Birthday - How I'm Making it Special

My whole philosophy about throwing a great party is that you only need a few unexpected details to make it special. Well, for this party, which is today, I'm living my own advice.

So what are my unexpected details?

Well, first my gorgeous mermaid printables from Love the Day. This is the first time I'm using party printables and so far I'm loving the whole experience.  If I want more decorations, I just press "print." How cool is that?

My second detail is my cupcake toppers from Two Sugar Babies. I've never seen or tasted fondant cupcake toppers before and I bet most of my guests haven't either, so I can't wait to see their reaction. Plus Charynn designed a special 3-D mermaid topper for my daughter's cupcake. I promise you, she's going to go nuts!

My third detail is my photo booth with props.  Kelli from The Paper Dolls Shoppe designed these adorable photo booth printable lips and mustaches that we're giving away for FREE. Again, I bet most of my guests have never seen this before, so I'm curious to see how it goes over. Four-year-olds can be pretty unpredictable, therefore this might be an exercise in letting go. :)

And finally, the party favors, which are a very important detail to my daughter.  She wanted to give her friends something special, and I didn't want to give them sweets because of the possible wrath of the other mothers. :)  So I found these cute mermaid and pirate Shrinky Dinks for half off...

...and wrapped them up pretty with what else... my printables!! What do you think?

My last detail is my two balloon bouquets from  Balloon Celebrations. Cyndy is definitely helping me out here. I don't think I could afford them otherwise, so a big thank you to you, Cyndy!

There you have it. Budgets are hard, but most of us have to deal with them. And at the end of the day, I really only have to please one person - my daughter. (Okay two people, my husband when the Visa bill comes.)

If you have similar stories, or tips on how you saved money throwing a party, or  special details you added to make your party memorable, I'd love to hear them.

And as I've said before, wish me luck today... and of course I'll be sharing how it all went down.


(Enter our $50 CSN giveaway by telling us what you love about spring!)

I'm obsessed with photo booths as I'm in the midst of planning one, so this week's party photo come from Kristi D's Jonathan's 4th Birthday. So cute! I love the Toy Story props and the backdrop.

Check out the other adorable photos from the party.

And if you're so inspired, take a look at all the Toy Story parties on our main site. We've got a lot!

DIY Tutorial From a Catch My Party Member - How to Make DIY Photo Booth Props

I loved Stacey W's One Year Old in a Flash Birthday from the first moment I saw it.  The colors, the festive vibe, the little details... and then I saw the homemade photo booth props and I was in pure heaven.

As you probably know by reading my blog, I love photo booths!

So when I asked Stacey if she would share with our community how she made them, she kindly wrote up this tutorial and gave me permission to repost.

What I think is genius is how Stacey had a professional photographer come to her party to take photos of her guests (using the homemade props) and gave the photos out as favors.

As she said:

My guest list ranged from age 7 months to 68 years... I was looking for a way to engage them all and make it a celebration worth remembering.  Personal photo sessions with a professional photographer not only fit the bill and the theme, but also provided a thoughtful way for me to give guests a really meaningful favor.

For her props, Stacey came up with whimsical mustaches & mouths on sticks, umbrellas to match the color scheme, empty picture frames, and my personal favorite... chalkboard thought bubbles.

So here's how she did it...


I had to reign myself in on this one... there are so many directions you could go with this!

I went with mustaches and mouths, but you could also do eye glasses, eyebrows, maybe even hair styles or hats.

I mentioned in my last post that my Dad does graphic design, well he also happens to be accommodating when it comes to my hair-brained ideas.   He created the mustaches and mouths for me, but you could also use clip art that you find and/or buy on the web, or even just draw  the graphics you want (how hard could it be to draw a mustache?!).

I printed mine on card stock, cut them out, and hotglued them to little wooden dowels that came in packs of 20 at Michaels.  I made enough to use for the photo sessions and extras as the favors for the kids at the party.

For the favors, I punched two holes in the 3" round tags Beyond Designs designed for me and threaded the dowels through.


I bought a pack of 6 child size umbrellas from Oriental Trading & just painted a couple of them with fabric paint... easy peasy and they added a nice pop of color to the white background photography.


Well that about explains it... I picked up two framed pictures at Goodwill, removed the glass and all the insides and spray painted them in the colors of the party.


We had so much fun with these & they were a relatively quick project to make!  I started with adhesive backed chalkboard vinyl that I ordered from Uppercase Living (that's a link to Gina's UL site... she's a consultant & is really great to work with!) and some mat board.

My Doug drew the thought bubble shapes on the mat board, then we applied the vinyl to the other side & cut them out with a sharp pair of scissors.

Because I used white mat board (I had it on hand from a picture framing project I did forever ago) the white cut edges didn't look great, so I colored the edges with a black sharpie to make them blend in and give it a finished look.

These needed thicker dowels than the mustaches to support their weight, but a few lines of hotglue was still enough to keep them solid... just be sure that you glue several inches of the dowel onto the back of the board so that it doesn't get top heavy and bend.

Now all you need is a fabulous photographer & a little creativity!  This was so much fun, I think mustaches on sticks and chalkboard thought bubbles will make an appearance in all our family portraits!

Stacey, thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial!

If you want to learn more about Stacey and read all about her other creative projects check out her great blog, Elle Belle Creative.  And if you happen to make any photo booth props yourself, please send in photos.  I'd love to post them.

(Do you have a DIY project from one of your parties that you’d like to share?  Please email me at  I’d love to show it off!)


This week's party photo of the week comes from

Trish D's Lumber Jack & Jill Couples' Shower

Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a huge fan of photo booths, especially photo booths with props.  And when I saw this photo I couldn't help but laugh!

See the rest of this creative Lumber Jack and Jill Shower.   You won't be disappointed.

TRENDS: Fun with Picture Frames

I'm a big fan of homemade photo booths at parties.  I think they're a great activity for guests, plus the host gets some nice memories out of it.

I also really like props.  Props instantly get people to relax and have fun.  Ask yourself, who doesn't love getting their picture taken in a big pink boa?

In fact, I've already written about my love of photo booth props here and here, but a photo booth trend I'm also a big fan of is the "empty picture frame."  Not only are they easy to make (just empty out a big framed picture, and you're in business) but I also think you get some visually interesting shots.

Take a look at these picture frame photos from some parties on our site and see what you think...

Tiffany N's Cupcakes + Cocktails Party

Kristy's Super Grover Rave

Mattie B's Roaring 20th Birthday

Need Fun Photo Booth Props?

Then Little Retreats is the photo booth prop shop for you!

How great would these mustaches, glasses, and lips look as part of your next party photo booth?

The great thing about these ones is they're no only fun, they're classy and gorgeous too.

How to Throw The Unforgettable Unconventional Party

I was talking to LA based party planner, Suzanne Carvlin, also known as Suzanne The Party Girl.  She specializes in throwing parties that are a little less conventional than your typical hotel ballroom wedding with rubber chicken.

So I asked her some questions to get her expert advice on how to approach throwing a party that doesn't quite stick to the script, and here's what she said...

What are your favorite kinds of parties?

I love parties that are guest-centric and the party hosts are relaxed, greeting all of their guests to make them all feel welcome, and all are having a great time.

For weddings, I really love it when the personalities of the couple getting married shine through, and when you feel that they have put a lot of thought into their guests' experience.

Let your guests know what to expect. The best option is to let your guests know what to expect before they arrive at your party by posting information on a website or even sending out a follow-up to the invitation in the form of a newsletter. You can share things such as what the weather may be, if the party is inside or outside, where the entrance is, what food is being served, if you will have dancing, etc. Let your guests know that there will be some fun surprises, though!

Also, the flow of a party or wedding is extremely important! If your guests are left waiting for things to happen, they will be either bored or starving or both! Keep the flow moving and the food and beverages readily available. If your guests aren't left wondering when they will finally have a drink or something to eat, they will be much more relaxed and in the moment with you. Also, have a place for guests to set their coats and any gifts that they may bring with them so they aren't left lugging large items around.

It is so important to think of ways to involve your guests and to let them know that their presence is appreciated! Say hello to every guest if you are the host or guest of honor! And keep everyone happy and entertained!

Describe some of your favorite ideas to "shake things up."

Have your cocktail hour before your wedding ceremony, but make certain that you serve an array of food items with the drinks. Try two specialty cocktails and lemonade/iced tea/or other summer winter non-alcoholic beverages. A full bar can be fun, but if you do it that way, keep the pre-ceremony time to under 1/2 an hour or your guests may start to become "unwieldy."

Instead of a photo booth, try a photo backdrop with a camera that can capture more than 3-4 people. has a great "Smile Booth." See here:

To really make it fun, provide costumes! You can keep it simple with feather boas, giant sunglasses and mustaches on sticks. Or, you can really go nuts with full costumes from your local party rental store. In LA, Hollywood Toys and Costumes is a great place to purchase costume items:

Not everyone loves to dance, but everyone loves to be entertained! Interactive entertainment is what guests love. Try a balloon-maker, cotton candy spinner, a cigar roller (great if you have a lounge area), or, my favorite are mobie trucks for food stations. Think "In-and-Out Truck". In LA, you can hire a mobile truck to bring you mini ice-cream sandwiches (my favorite is ,, sushi, beers on tap, and more!

You can even follow many of them on Twitter to find where they are located on any day or at any time to go to an impromptu "menu tasting." (mobile ice cream sandwiches that you can even put your custom writing onto), (mobile sushi), (mobile hot dogs), (mobile Sprinkles cupcakes).

Think of your favorite things to do when you go out and incorporate that. Consider your guests. For example, when you are invited to a wedding, do you think, "Yea! I can't wait to go!" or do you think, "Another wedding. There goes my Saturday night." Make it fun for your guests and it will be fun for you, too!

Here are some pictures from one of Suzanne's recent parties where she "shook things up."

Flowers by Flower Wild, Photography by Phil Cosby
Flowers by Flower Wild, Photography by Phil Cosby

Having a party with different gathering areas minimizes the amount of centerpieces that you need, but you can still choose an area to flood with flowers for a huge impact.

Pepe on Guitar, Photography by Phil Cosby
Pepe on Guitar, Photography by Phil Cosby

Choose different styles of music for different lounge areas. It is really affordable to hire solo musicians for a few hours.

Rentals from Classic Party Rents, Photography by Phil Cosby
Rentals from Classic Party Rents, Photography by Phil Cosby

Keep your decorations simple. These are vintage table cloths owned by the bride. Flowers were purchased at the local Floral Mart and then arranged in jelly jars.

Big Mista's BBQ, Photography by Phil Cosby
Big Mista's BBQ, Photography by Phil Cosby

Serve comfort food buffet style to save money on a formal dinner. Guests love food that makes them feel like they are a kid again. This buffet features amazing BBQ by Big Mista's and good ol' mac and cheese!

The Middle Class jug band, Photography by Phil Cosby
The Middle Class jug band, Photography by Phil Cosby

Save money by hiring a band that specializes in one type of music as opposed to a large entertainment group that does multiple types. You can cut your band budget in half!

(P.S. That is Billy Bob Thorton on guitar.)

What locations do you like the best for throwing unusual parties?

I love unique wedding locations. Unique locations are my specialty!

Two of my favorites are the Marvimon, downtown, and the Smogg Shoppe in Culver City (which is also eco-friendly despite the ironic name). The Smogg Shoppe ("LA's greenest oasis") is in a refurbished and beautified automotive center and has now achieved the US Green Building Council's Platinum Certification. Not to mention that it is a great location and perfectly laid out for a smashing party!

The Marvimon is another oasis of vintage beauty nestled in the hills near China Town. Many beautiful weddings have been coordinated there. My favorite is one designed by Jo Gartin of Love, Luck and Angles.

One location to seek out is the rooftop of the Mercury on Wilshire. It is a new, stylish condo complex, but we rented the rooftop for our event. It has stunning, almost 360-degree-views, of the city. You can see the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, the nearby Downtown skyline, the South Bay and the ocean. It has a grass area perfect for a ceremony and a pool area for cocktails. You could cover the pool with plexiglass for your ceremony, have cocktails in the grass/patio area and your reception with dancing in the pool area again. They also have room for caterers and you can have a custom tent pitched in case of inclement weather.

Have your reception in a restaurant. The ambiance, amazing food, tables, chairs and china are already in place. I went to a wedding at Lucques on Melrose that was just amazing. The ceremony was on the outside patio and the dinner was inside and served family style with dancing back outside on the patio. It was great fun! The Foundry on Melrose, owned by chef Eric Greenspan, is another great option with wonderful food.

More favorites of mine are the locations owned by Cedd Moses, such as the Broadway Bar, Cole's Downtown (great vintage event space!), Seven Grand and the Golden Gopher. I am waiting for the perfect couple who has rocking style for a reception (or even an engagement party or rehearsal dinner) in Coles. The possibilities are endless!

Speaking of restaurants and unique locations. The Waffle on Sunset and Vine on the lowest level of the House of Blues headquarters. Chic diner fare and a patio, inside diner seating and an upstairs bar = crazy, cool, 50's-chic reception!

The Art Deco Society also has links to some of the swanky-est historic places in LA, perfect for a vintage, classy and elegant affair. You would not only have a stunning location, you would be aiding in the preservation of LA's unique and storied history!

A very current and little-explored idea for weddings is something that Martha Stewart Weddings did this Summer in New York called a "pop-up" wedding. There are so many unique locations that have been left vacant as the result of our economic downturn. You can approach the property manager and ask to have your wedding reception in one of their vacant buildings. You would probably need to do this on a shorter timeline as they would rather rent the space to a retailer, but you could haul in decorations and rentals and have your wedding in a gallery-like space that would probably never be duplicated. I would definitely suggest you seek the assistance of a wedding coordinator for this one! There are a lot of logistics to sort out, but everyone would always remember your one-of-a-kind wedding event!

What are ways that throwing a non-traditional party can help you save money?

Well, for starters, you can save money on the food. You don't need to serve a 5-course meal. You can keep your party fun and alive by serving elegant comfort food or just good food period. It doesn't need to be expensive. Think of your favorite foods to eat and serve those.

Love mac and cheese and BBQ? Go for that. Your guests will have more fun eating food that they enjoy. Also, if you have a lot of places for people to sit and eat as opposed to a formal seating plan for the entire night, guests will have the opportunity to mingle with more people. In LA, a great BBQ caterer is:

Save money on your bar. Have 2 signature cocktails and an array of non-alcoholic drinks. That is a huge money saver! If you want, add wine and beer and include a few basics such as vodka, bourbon, and rum. Definitely have free something to drink, though. Include sodas, tea, coffee and water. No one has fun while dying of thirst.

Bands that are not formal are much cheaper! A local jazz band, bluegrass band or even a jug band will cost you around $2000-3000 or less as opposed to $5000-$10,000 for a band that can play jazz, swing and top 40. One couple whose wedding I coordinated found all of their musicians at their local Farmer's Market!

Save money on wedding favors. No one really wants a wedding favor unless it is practical. Except for your parents. And you for your keepsake box. Seriously, no one else wants a mini candle with your names on it. Sorry to break it to you. Your guests DO want a candy bar, cotton candy, make-your-own sundaes, cupcakes, funnel cakes, and all of the things that they only eat when they are at a carnival or celebrating a major holiday.

So, instead of the traditional favor, give your guests the gift of entertainment and food. Wouldn't you rather leave a party with fresh chocolate chip cookies and a mini milk, or a cheeseburger, or hot coffee in a to-go cup?

You can forgo a traditional wedding cake all together or you can have a small ceremonial cake for a topper on a cupcake tree. That will save you money on the wedding cake overall because cupcakes are apx. $2 each instead of the usual $6 per slice for wedding cake.

Instead of splurging on expensive centerpieces for every table, rent fun props from a prop shop. You could also use personal photos in frames with a few blooms on the table. Or, use live potted plants or succulents in boxes that are live and can be replanted. These are usually much less expensive than cut flowers.

Do spend money on lighting and candles, though. You need ambiance to set the mood!

How do you keep things feeling intimate and personal when throwing a big party?

Have different areas where guests can mingle and chat. If you break up a large party into 3 areas (more than that and your party energy becomes too diluted), guests can feel free to check out other things to do and meet more guests.

Have an area where guests can dance and then stage ottomans and benches around the dance floor where guests can rest their feet or watch the dancing.

Have an area for cigar smokers and whiskey drinkers. You could even throw in some card games where guests can place "bets" redeemable for tickets to a drawing.

Have a lounge for the kids with activities, games, coloring books and hire off-duty nurses or LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurses), or Certified Babysitters who know First-Aid (just in case) to watch and entertain the kids.

Think about the flow of your party and imagine yourself navigating your event in your mind. Where would you enter? Would someone greet you? How would you know where to go next? Having live people guide guests is the ultimate guest service. Navigational signs are a great option, too. You can also have frames staged throughout the event that describe what is going on in that area and what guests can do there.

Thank you Suzanne for your fabulous advice. We may steal some of your awesome ideas like the mobile ice cream sandwiches, the photo backdrop, and the "pop up" location (I love that!) for our Catch My Party launch party. Stay tuned...

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