CHOO! CHOO! Birthday train coming through!
Jen Carver of Banner Events here to share! When my son Landon begged us for a train-themed party to celebrate his 4th Birthday in December, I immediately contacted Maureen of Anders Ruff, knowing she would design the perfect choo choo train themed printable package to tie the various elements of our train party event together. I was right! Maureen delivered in a big way! I am thrilled to share with you the resulting party, photographed by my friend and talented photographer, Rebecca Pierce of Mi Vida Photography.
Keep an eye out for these fabulous Party Details that you won’t want to miss:
– Oversized Train Puzzle activity for the kids to play on the floor
– Train Tracks made with electrical tape
– Personalized Coloring Activity sheet with coordinating crayon box (all printables by Anders Ruff)
– Cute train lunch setup including a coordinating french fry box of goodies and “Chugga Chugga Water” bottles.
My talented friend, Karina Rigtrup, of A Fresh Take Photography offered to take pictures of my little train-loving boy to use on the invitations and as part of the party décor. I knew the stars had aligned when we showed up to the photo shoot and the old vintage train matched the colors in the printable package Maureen was customizing for us! It was such a special day for him getting to board a REAL train.
All Aboard/The Invitation: The darling invitation choo choo’d it’s way to each guest’s home inviting them to join us at Carver Station and hop aboard the Carver Express for an unbelievable party.
Guest Arrival/Train Departure: When each of our little ‘train engineers-in-the-making’ arrived at Platform 4 of Carver Station, (printable sign in the Anders Ruff shop) they were whisked away on a little make-shift train car and taken for a ride on our life-sized train track. (My husband is a miracle worker with black electrical tape!)
Engineer Outfits: The kids loved the train ride that dropped them off at the dining car, where the Chief Engineer (me!) helped get them outfitted to properly ride the rail. A striped engineer hat & red bandana were adjusted to fit each little guest. They also got wooden train whistles that they loved blowing!
Landon had a special shirt designed for him by Lisa of Bella Bean Gifts. Her custom appliqué work was fabulous, and she is so great to work with.
Party Activities: After being properly outfitted, party guests had a number of fun activities to choose from.
They could put together oversized train puzzles on the floor. (Thank you Anders Ruff for creating these upon my request!) I made the puzzles by printing them out and cutting them into puzzle pieces and then running them through my laminator. There were several puzzles so that many children could do this activity at the same time.
Other little engineers got busy coloring custom designed Carver Express coloring pages with crayons from their coordinating crayon boxes. (I absolutely LOVE how cute these turned out from Anders Ruff! It was a custom request, and once again, they delivered! You can find them as part of the printable package here.)
We stuck large lollipops out of red round hat nesting boxes with white paper shred as centerpieces. The lollipops were embellished with Anders Ruff 2″ Party logos that we printed on 8.5×11 full sheets of label / sticker paper.
All of the children joined in the ‘Chugga Chugga Choo Choo Train Whistle-blowing Conga Line’, or spent more time riding the rail.
At the conclusion of our party, we also took guests to the local mall to ride a real train! All of the activities were greatly enjoyed! (Forgive the poor picture quality. The lighting in the mall was very dim and our professional photographer had been excused.)
Guests enjoyed sitting down to refreshing Chugga Chugga water. I love how a simple beverage wrap can add so much pizzazz to a basic place setting. Of course, it’s way more fun drinking out of stripey straws. Polka Dot Market contributed the darling engineer blue (navy) striped straws which I adorned with cute little printable party flags from the AR collection. Knowing I needed a creative container to house fruit snacks and crackers, I had Maureen custom design a fry container for each child. Aren’t they adorable? With a little tissue paper fringe attached, the festive look was easily achieved.
The kids also got wooden train whistles that they loved!
I kept the dining car simple with a red/white striped runner, more DIY train cars that acted as balloon weights and framed pictures of our birthday boy riding the train. The chairs were dressed up with the red bandanas that each child claimed upon arrival. Place settings consisted of a conductor hat, train whistle, fry box filled with snacks, party straw and flavored water.Once healthy snacks had been consumed, it was time for the sugar rush. Enter, the dessert table!
Dessert Table Highlights: Of course, the focal point of a birthday party (besides the guest of honor) is the dessert table! The color scheme of our event was navy blue, red & light blue. Red tissue paper fans & red & blue polka dot balloons combined with the colorful striped & polka dot banner included in Anders Ruff’s printable package provided an eye-catching backdrop for the table.
An inexpensive red & white striped table runner was created from wrapping paper! (I continually remind myself that parties don’t have to be expensive! Reduce, reuse, recycle!) And, the table was literally littered with almost a dozen scrumptious desserts.
The cake & cupcakes: Brittany, of Edible Details always does such beautiful fondant work. She customized the adorable 3-D fondant train topper and cupcake toppers to match the cute train designed by Anders Ruff on the coordinating printables. If it’s possible for something to be ‘too cute to eat’, her fondant masterpieces would definitely qualify!
The Cake: Don’t you just love the train chugging across the cake? If you aren’t a master cake decorator and hiring a bakery to make a custom cake isn’t in your budget, a less expensive alternative is ordering a plain white cake from Costco or a local grocery store and adding custom fondant designs, like those seen here from Edible Details.
The Cupcakes: One of my favorite party details is the cupcakes! I asked Anders Ruff to add a custom designed cupcake wrapper with my printable package. Paired with the darling fondant train toppers, they added so much color to the dessert table.
Custom Train Cookies: Becoming acquainted with talented dessert artists from all over the country is one of my favorite parts about styling parties. Liz, better known as” Arty McGoo“, does stunning work! Her attention to detail was amazing. Not only were the train cookie favors precious, they were equally delicious (I snuck a few nibbles!) and came individually packaged to ensure freshness & easy distributing. The little engineers had so much fun moving their cookies around, chugging them along imaginary tracks before taking their first mouth-watering bite!
Polka Dot Chocolate Covered Oreos: If you’ve never indulged in a chocolate covered Oreo, you’re missing out. Sweet Temptations sent beautifully packaged polka dot chocolate covered Oreos for the party! I spray painted boxes from the Dollar Tree and added wheels to fashion them into little train cars for housing these sweet confections.
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods: One of the sure crowd pleasers at several of the recent events I’ve styled has been the chocolate covered pretzels, by Pretzels Pleaze. The combination of sweet plus salty is divine! Plus, Amanda always coordinates the colors of each event by adding candies, sprinkles and chocolates to match! Each pretzel rod came perfectly packaged, topped off with coordinating ribbon. The red plant pot was found at IKEA and was spruced up with one of Anders Ruff’s 2″ party circles and some ribbon.
Popcorn Cones: My son is a self-proclaimed popcorn addict, so it was only fitting to request that Anders Ruff design popcorn cones for this event! I just love the striped and polka dot patterned paper. Simply print the template & cut! They were so easy to assemble. Tissue paper fringe was added to the top for extra cuteness!
Candy: It wouldn’t be a kid-friendly party without an extra sugar rush. Additional train car boxes stretched out across the dessert table and were filled with various candy sticks, candy canes and even chocolate coal!Party Favors: A custom luggage tag was attached to gift bags embellished with tissue paper rosettes, a ribbon sash and Anders Ruff party labels. The bags sat atop our ‘Luggage’ table. Each attendee took home the bag full of their train whistle, conductor hat & bandana.
We put frames with photos on top red nesting boxes on the table for height.In addition, goodie bags (clear white window bags from Nashville Wraps), decorated with more coordinating printables from Anders Ruff were lined up on the train track-covered table. Guests filled up their bags with sweets from the dessert table for their journey home.
– Complete Event Styling: Jen Carver, Banner Events
– Choo Choo Train Printables & Invitation: Anders Ruff Shop
– Event Photography: Mi Vida Photography
– Portrait Photography: A Fresh Take Photography
– Custom fondant train cupcake toppers & 3-D train cake topper: Edible Details
– Train favor cookies & cookie vignette: Arty McGoo
– Chocolate covered pretzel rods: Pretzels Pleaze
– Polka dot chocolate covered Oreos: Sweet Temptations
– Chocolate Coal
Clothing & Décor:
– Custom train shirt: Bella Bean Gifts
– Polka dot table runner: Kerr Kreations
– Red and White Wrapping Paper
– Paper straws
– Tissue Paper Fans
– Polka Dot Balloons
– White window favor bags: Nashville Wraps
– Navy Polka Dot Fabric (Backdrop)
– Red Round Nesting Hat Box Containers
– White photo stands: IKEA
– Train Whistles
– Engineer hats, red bandanas: Here
– Red Bandanas
– 8.5×11 Full Sheets of Label Paper (to print stickers)
– Red Tissue Paper Fringe
Even More Sources for Fabulous Train Products to have your OWN Train Party:
– Ride on Train Toy
– Gift Bags
– Red and White Striped Fabric Tablecloth
– Red and White Striped Table Runners
– Red and White Polka Dot Ribbon