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How To Hold a Cupcake Decorating Birthday Party

Updated on July 15, 2011

Cupcake Decorating Birthday Parties

'Mummmmmmmmm, can I have a cupcake decorating birthday party this year please'.

If that's what you've just been asked by your little treasure and you don't know where to start then fear not. A cupcake decorating party is easy to hold at home, can be very cost effective, and so long as you follow a few simple guidelines it won't leave your house looking like it's been hit by a mini tornado.

Cupcake decorating is a great party activity as it gives kids a creative outlet, lets them make something (and kids love to make and create), and keeps them all in one place (no running around and scaring the cat) - plus you can use some of the cakes they decorate as part of the birthday tea ~ it's multi-tasking perfection.

So how do you go about it?

Cupcake Decorating Party
Cupcake Decorating Party

Cupcake Decorating Party Essentials

There is plenty of room for flexibility with this sort of activity, but there are a few essentials you'll need to stick to if you want to ensure your kids have the best possible time.

1. Space - you need a table big enough so that the kids can sit around it and there's still plenty of room on it for cupcakes, icing and decorations.

2. Aprons - by the time you've chucked a bit of icing sugar, some buttercream and a few sweets into the occasion cupcake decorating can get messy. It's good idea to either have aprons for the kids, or to make sure they bring an old t-shirt or shirt that they can wear over their party clothes whilst doing the decorating.

3. Limit the numbers - the size table you have will limit things to an extent, but even if you have a banquet sized table I'd advise limiting the numbers to around 10 otherwise you'll spend your entire time running round helping one after another.

4. Structure - kids can decorate 4 cupcakes in 4 minutes flat if you're not careful - whereas structure the event carefully (more info below) and those 4 cupcakes can keep them going for 45 mins.

What Will You Need for your Birthday Cupcake Party?

Cupcakes is the obvious one and these can be bought or made. You want to allow 4 or 6 cupcakes per child and have a few spares to account for those that get dropped. Six cupcakes is probably the ideal number as this gives you enough to decorate some cakes together on a particular theme (see 'structure of cupcake decorating party below'), plus a few for this kids to decorate by themselves.

Cupcake boxes - the kids are going to need something to carry their cupcakes home in. Cupcake boxes are widely available from bakeries and online so you shouldn't have any trouble finding what you need.

Buttercream and glace (runny) icing - these are primarily so that the sweets you're going to use as decorations have something to stick too. You can get piping bags in most large stores and supermarkets these days and a good tip is to sellotape the top of the bag shut - kids have a habit of squeezing in the middle and you'll end up with icing everywhere.

A good selection of sweets and decorations. The best things to go for are those that are multi-purpose or those that are shaped. For example jelly beans are great to use as eith flower petals, or eyes, or just general decoration while jelly teeth are great for making faces. Divide the sweets into bowls and put them on the table so the kids can pick and choose what they want to use.

Baby wipes - absolute essential this as you're going to have kids with hands and faces covered in icing and buttercream.

Cupcake Decorating Birthday Party Structure

It's crucial to set a structure as if you just let them loose most kids will finish the decorating in a few minutes and start looking around for distractions.

A good starting point is to have all the children do a design together, this can be anything but animals are always popular such as the frog cupcakes, pig cupcakes and ladybird cupcakes here.

There are several reasons for doing this:

- It will take about 10 - 15 mins to do the cake together which eats up time.

- Kids will happily concetrate if the have something fun to follow

- It starts them thinking and being more imaginative for when they decorate their own cupcakes

- It allows you to see how good they are or whether there are any children who may need a little extra help.

You can then allow the kids to do a couple of their own and then do another one together, or do two together first and then allow them to decorate their own.

You can also set mini challenges for them i.e. they need to decorate a cupcake as an alien and the best cake wins a prize (got to have lots of prizes at a birthday party).

The key is in not letting them decorate their own cakes for more than 10-15 mins at a time without doing something together. This stops the really quick ones from getting too far ahead, and allows the slower ones to catch up.

If you do have some real speed merchants amongst the kids then use some of your spare cupcakes to keep them occupied.

Remember The Birthday Cake

It may seem strange mentioning a birthday cake when you're going to be surrounded by cake anyway, but the chances are the birthday child will still want to blow candles out on something. Plus the kids are going to want to take their creations home with them so that's not really an option.

You don't need something big ~ it's not as though you're short of cake ~ but have something that the children can sing 'Happy Birthday' around.

That's about it, follow the advice above and you should have a great party.

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