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Do-it-Yourself Prom or Pageant Decorations: Tropical Theme

Updated on May 6, 2010

Are you in charge of the decorations for a prom or beauty pageant stage? If so, consider a tropical theme. You and some friends can do the work yourself, and instead of ordering from one of those expensive prom catalogues, you can get most of your supplies from Oriental Trading or from your local party store.

I’ve helped with this theme several times, and I’ll share my ideas with you!

For the walls or for the stage background, cover them with white or pale blue “butcher” paper. Create a sunset sky with chalk. Use pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and a little purple. Rub the chalk on the paper using the sides of the chalk sticks. Then using the palm of your hand, blend in the colors. This is fun and easy, and there’s really no way to “mess it up.”

Now, make silhouettes of trees. Use large sheets of black construction paper, and cut out several tree trunks in different heights. Next, draw a palm leaf on a piece of the construction paper and cut it out. Use this for a pattern to make more. Do the same for banana plant trees. Also, make some simple “football shaped” leaves. Using hot glue, fasten the trunks onto the sunset paper. Space them fairly evenly, spreading out the different heights of trunks. Next, attach your leaves. For added effect, I also cut out a few black vines and had them winding around some of the trees, and I added coconut shapes to some of the palms. You’ll end up with a stunning view of tropical trees and foliage against a sunset.

When we did our dance with the tropical theme, we decorated the ceiling, too. We bought plastic vines with silk flowers for $1 each at the dollar store and suspended them from the ceiling.

We created a simple tiki bar from plywood. To give it a tropical theme, we gathered palmetto leaves from the local woods and stapled them to the plywood walls and roof, letting them overlap each other. This gave the effect of palm thatching and was quite effective.

For the tiki bar’s roof supports, we made tiki totem poles. I cut out tiki faces and had them laminated. Then I stacked them on top of each other by attaching to the poles, which were heavy cardboard carpet rolls. We got them from a local carpet store.

We borrowed plants and trees – both real and silk – from everyone we knew and placed them around the room. These ranged from large to small, and everywhere in between!

We also ordered parrots from and suspended the “flying” ones from the ceiling and perched a few others in the tallest trees. From the same company, we purchased plates, cups, napkins, and tablecloths with a tropical theme. We also used the coconut cups from Oriental Trading to place on the tables. We used them to hold little party favors.

We also found floating hibiscus-shaped candles and used them in colorful bowls of water in the center of the tables, and we surrounded the bowls with the flower vines.

Near the dance floor, we placed a homemade limbo pole. We made that from cane fishing poles. Some of the dancers actually tried their skill at the limbo while on the dance floor!

If you’re using the tropical theme for a pageant, require the girls to dress in appropriate outfits for casual wear. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the things they come up with!

To read more about proms and pageants, click the article links below:


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