Pierson’s Retro Bowling Party

retro bowling party ideas

I am SO excited to share Pierson’s bowling party with you all!

When my son requested a BOWLING Birthday Party for this year, visions of a stylish and retro bowling team kept coming to mind.  There are so many easy and effective ways to add style and character to a bowling party, and I’m excited to share the Anders Ruff take on the retro bowling party theme with you today!

Sprucing up the bowling alley was not a tough task when armed with some versatile printables, fabulous themed desserts and retro, kid-friendly decor. I’m excited to get the “ball rolling” on sharing my party photos and ideas because I couldn’t “spare” any details for my little bowling fanatic.

The seated tables we set up right behind the lanes, and our dessert table was actually 2 sided.  The backdrop served the function for the dessert table and behind it, a favor table.

There are lots of details, so be sure to keep your eyes out for:
– Layered Jellow to resemble a Bowling Pin (with a bowling ball printable topper!)
– Cute and stylish team name labels for shirt backs including The Gutterballs, King Pins, and more!
– Gutterball Gumball party favors as well as vending capsules for colored treats
– Bowling alley decorations such as banners to decorate the lanes, chair back decorations, computer panel balloons
– Bowling Pin cake pops, bowling ball lollipops and a fabulous chevron tiered cake.

bowling invitation

I searched around the entire perimeter of Charlotte to find lanes that would work with my color scheme and it was tough.  We ended up settling on Sports Connection in Ballantyne.  It turned out to be great because I could have the entire half of the alley!  You can see how much room I was able to take up above!

We had SO many spectators during setup, which was great because I could educate a lot of people on what printables are.  Besides getting distracted, and having lots of questions coming my way, the setup was a smooth success!

Most people were blown away and kept asking if this was the party that Sports Connection gives for bowling parties.  Definitely not, but definitely something you could do yourself with our retro bowling printables!

When the kids arrived, they saw the dessert table setup and loved it!  Then they walked behind the dessert table to find the other side of the table, which held favors and their “Bowling Bags” that were filled with their themed bowling shirt (Use this Bowling Ball and Pin Iron on with iron on transfer paper and plain t-shirts ) along with their printable personalized name tag, and team sticker (in the shop!), which we adhered to their shirt fronts and backs.

We designed a cute label for the Gable Box Bowling bag and added the kids’ names with a printable customized name tag (which we also printed on a sticker for their shirts!).  This helped us keep the correct size shirt and team name in the correct child’s bowling bag.  (Organization is key!)

The bowling bags were SO easy to make and were a GREAT keepsake and bag for the kids to take home extra treats!  I used black gable boxes from Nashville Wraps and labeled it with a printable from our shop that was printed on label paper.  I added a personalized tag and tied with paper raffia.

The favor table also included cellophane bags that held customized coloring books from the printable collection with homemade bowling pin and ball crayons (using THIS bowling candy mold! So easy!).

Black and white striped bags were set out that had our printable sticker that said “Keep the Sweets Rolling!” The kids loved filling their bags with extra sweets.

Cello bags included chocolate bowling pins and balls.  The bag was topped with a printable bag topper that said “Spare Sweets”.  I just hope the kids don’t get confused between the bowling pin crayons and the chocolates!

Back to the dessert table…. because it was SO sweet!  I printed our party sign and matted it on foam core and hung from the center of the backdrop.

Big balloons were tied on the sides of the table.  This was SUPER important for scale because the bowling alley had such huge high ceilings – it really helped fill the space.

The incredible cake, by Mandie of Got What It Cakes, was designed to mimic the look of our printable “retro bowling” collection. Vintage Confections made the most adorable bowling pin, ball and “4″ lollipops.

We wish we would have used these adorable bowling candles, too! Next time!

Trendy two tone chevron paired with classic stripes, retro dashes and polka dots were used throughout the fabric, printables and decor.  Easy to serve snacks were displayed such as cheddar popcorn, sixlets in coordinating aqua and red, and bowling pin and ball lollipops shaped for the occasion.  Spare sweets were displayed throughout the party scene.

I made layered jello shots to mimic a bowling pin and topped it off with a printable bowling ball logo.  (Use these clear plastic shot glasses – so easy and cheap using this layered jello recipe)

Bowling pin jello shots, gutterball gumballs, “spare” sweets, alley decorations and team logos were some of my favorite details of Pierson’s retro bowling party.

I found the most fabulous red and black melamine trays and serving pieces that looked like lacquer and to stick with the “retro” vibe.

I found old (by “old” I mean beat up, terrible condition with ugly pink stripes) pins for $1 each and refurbished the bowling pins by using good old spray paint and red electrical tape (which is flexible and easily wraps around the curves of the pins).  I embellished them with an oversized printable P logo that was matted on a ruffled tissue backing.

Bowling ball and pin cake pops by Pop-A-Razzi were displayed.  We stuck the pin cake pop or “4″ lollipop in each box of popcorn to look cute and ended up being a favorite sweet and salty retro snack.

Chevron cookies and bowling pin cookies from JP Creatibleswere perfectly decorated and even more delicious than they look.

The children were organized onto teams so I designed 4 team logos – The King Pins, The Strikers, The Gutterballs and Rolling Thunder.  It helped keep the party activities organized and less chaotic with 20 4 year olds running around.  (The youngest guests were on The Gutterballs team, no doubt, and the oldest were on the King Pins team!)

The team logos were printed on both label paper and photo paper for different uses.  The stickers were used for team logos which would be worn on the backs of the t- shirts.  The other logos were used to embellish the chairs on the alley so that each team knew where their lane was. (And it made them look adorable!)

To spruce up the lanes, printable “Let’s Bowl” Pennant Banners adorned the bowling ball return.  Circle party signs added color to the scoring panel post and giant balloons were tied to these posts.

See how easy it is to add some detail to the most unexpected of places!?

The kids loved rocking their custom bowling pin tees and their personalized printable name tags and team logos on their backs.  I think these are much cooler than the old school button up shirts with embroidered names!

The kids couldn’t wait to get seated because the knew a retro red burger basket full of goodies awaited them.  I used the black melamine / retro plates as the “charger” and placed a red burger basket on top with aqua tissue (Nashville Wraps) inside. (You could use black paper plates, too!)

bowling pin jello was placed on their plate as well as a plastic drink bottle  embellished with a printable drink wrap.  Paper straws were tacked onto the bottle using a tiny Glue Dot.

Inside the basket was a gumball pipette (Polka Dot Market) with red, white and pearly blue gumballs.  I designed a party flag to embellish the tube which said “Gutterball Gumballs”.

Vending machine capsules (Shop Sweet Lulu) with black lids were the perfect fit for a bowling party and we filled them with aqua Sixlets.  We also included lollipops and black round candies.


We also displayed red window boxes filled with popcorn and tied on a printable favor tag with paper raffia.  We crafted our raffia to look retro by unrolling the raffia paper and fan folded it back and forth.  A new look for paper raffia. (See our tutorial here)

Cupcakes were given to take home in ice cream cups with lids.  We designed a printable wrap for these tubs.  The cupcakes were topped with coordinating fondant toppers.

The kids packed up their goodies in their “Bowling Bag Gable Boxes, which was the perfect carrier for their treats!  Do you like the “Gutterball Gumball” tubes?  So cute, right!?  Thanks to Polka Dot Market for the fabulous Gumball Pipettes!

A few fun shots…. Jeffrey had a blast!

Adria and her sweet little girl, Grayce …. (Like that Adria wore bowling shoes?)

Cake time! We had such a blast!

Are YOU in the mood for a bowling party? Good news! The printable retro bowling party invitation and collection is now available in the Anders Ruff shop.


– Party Production and Styling: Anders Ruff
– Printables: Anders Ruff’s Shop
– Photography: Becca Bond Photography

– Cake: Got What It Cakes
– Cake Pops: Pop-A-Razzi
Candy Sixlets, Gumballs, etc
– Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Two Sugar Babies
– Lollipops: Vintage Confections
– Sugar Cookies: JP Creatibles

Fashion & Decor:
– T Shirts: Retro Bowling Ball and Pin Shirt Graphic Iron On Design
Iron on Transfer Paper or OnlineLabels.com
Aqua t-Shirts (to iron onto)
– Shirt Name Tags & Team Logos: Anders Ruff
– Gumball Pipettes, Ice Cream Cups, Balloons: Polka Dot Market
– Drink Bottles, Favor Bags, Straws & Vending Capsules: Shop Sweet Lulu
– Gable Boxes, Tissue Paper and Cello Bags: Nashville Wraps

More FABULOUS Sources to find products to recreate your own Bowling Party:
Bowling Pin Prop (this is a bank but can be a keepsake for the birthday boy or girl!)
Bowling Pin Cookie Cutter
Bowling Pin Drink Cups
Toy Bowling Set (cute favor!)
Black Gable Box and Bowling Bag Labels
Black square plates
Bowling set candles
Red Plastic Burger Baskets (how we set each kids place setting)
Bowling Suckers


  1. What an adorable party! I had no idea that place was even in Ballantyne. We’ll have to check that place out soon.

  2. I absolutely love everything you guys did. There is so much detail into everything you put together. Awesome party!

  3. LOVE IT! I am not finding the chocolate bowling pins/balls on Oh Nuts web site. Did you get them there? Also, do you have a tip on how to find used blowing pins (the real kind)? I’m pretty much going to copy your whole creative genius for my five year old’s party. Love the styling and these retro bowling printables!! What an awesome party for Pierson. What an inspiration for the rest of us.

    1. Hi Kristin! I made them, actually! You can find chocolate molds on amazon or ebay.
      SUPER easy and cheap! Make as many as you need!

      For the bowling pins…. where do you live? I have 10 that I’m not using 😉 I’m in Charlotte.

      Let us know if you need any printables for your party! Thank you!

  4. LOVE this – and I purchased the printables to use for my son’s 4th BD!!! Woo Hoo! But I’m wondering how did you get the black “ruffle” behind some of the printables? Are they folded cardstock or something else? Thanks!! Beautiful party!!

      1. Exactly what I was looking for!! I made one out of cardstock and it was so thick – it worked but now I’m going to try the crepe paper!! Thanks again!!

  5. This party is so beautiful! I want to recreate it for my daughter’s 4th birthday party. She has been requesting a bowling party for a while. The link to your printables is not working? Do you have an updated link?
    Again, so adorable

  6. This is great for my daughters 5th birthday as she has just announced she wants “a bowling party with boys, so it cant be pink!” Where did you get the Popcorn boxes from – they are so cute! Will be placing an order soon. Thanks

    1. Hi Abi! We got them from nashvillewraps.com and we added the ribbon and ruffle trimmed party logo printable embellishment. We look forward to working with you!

  7. I found this collection on Pinterest and immediately fell in love. It wasn’t until I had repinned about 10 pins that I realized the collection was from you guys…NO WONDER I FELL IN LOVE! Used your splish-splash party collection last year and am looking forward to using this one this year.

  8. I am with Kristin! Where were you able to find the old bowling pins? Wish Charlotte was closer to Missouri 😉

    1. Hi Jamie! WE just called a local bowling alley. Most of them will have “bad ones” that are too beat up to use… and the spray paint fixed them right up for decor purposes. $1 each! Can’t beat that!

  9. Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

    1. Oh, we would love to see your old blog. We designed ours from scratch a couple years ago and love how it turned out. Great minds think alike, I guess! 🙂

  10. What a fantastic party… so much attention to detail. Looking to throw a bowling party with a baseball twist (end of year celebration)… Any tips, advice, assistance would be greatly appreciated. Again, everything looked wonderful.

    1. Hi Rebekah! Those were actually just pieces of fabric we used. We found that fabric at Joannes!
      Let us know if you need anything else! 🙂

  11. Great party!
    Love, love, love everything about it.
    One question: How did you make the backdrop for the dessert table?

  12. I am thinking about purchasing the team logo stickers. But I would first like to know what you printed them on. Did you print them on full sheet sticker paper or were they pre cut stickers? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Courtney! Thats right! Just print on full sheets of sticker paper. No pre-cut stickers needed 😉

  13. I loved everything!! I’m doing a bowling party for son… where did you get the bowling pins and the decorations?

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