Prom or Pageant with a Fifties Theme: Do It Yourself!
Decorating for a prom or a pageant stage with a fifties theme is one of my all-time favorites! It’s fun and easy, and the possibilities are practically endless. Just get a few friends together to brainstorm some ideas. It helps if one of your pals is old enough to actually remember the fifties! The same decorations and props can also be used for themes like soda shop and sock hop.
My favorite thing to make for this theme is the giant sodas that I used as a focal point. To make one of these, you’ll need a plastic 55-gallon barrel, some silver spray paint, two sheets ofwhite poster board, hot glue, old newspapers and boxes, off-white round balloons, and one round red balloon. You also need some blue painters tape and two empty wrapping paper rolls.
Make sure you’re barrel is clean on the outside surface. Paint it with metallic silver spray paint that’s made for painting plastic. While the paint is drying, cut out two C-shaped handles from the poster board. Leave extra room at both ends of the C – you’re going to fold them back to glue onto the barrel. Glue the two Cs together, back to back. Attach the handle to the barrel by folding back the ends of the C – one to the left and one to the right, at both the top and the bottom of the “handle.” Attack the handle to the barrel with hot glue. Once the glue has set, spray paint the handle to match the barrel.
Now you’re going to make the soda straws. Wrap the painter’s tape around the cardboard rolls at a diagonal angle to create stripes. Place both “straws” in the barrel.
Fill the barrel almost to the top with boxes and crumpled newspapers. Blow up the off-white balloons and place them in the barrel, letting them overflow at the top. These are your soda bubbles. Don’t use helium! Place one red balloon on top for a cherry.
These sodas are really cute! You can buy them from a prom supply catalog, but they’re expensive. Save a bundle by making your own!
You can also make a jukebox prop. Use a cardboard container that a stove came in for the base. Use more cardboard or poster board for the top section of the juke box. Spray paint it with metallic silver paint and use online photos of jukeboxes to add embellishments to the jukebox.
For wall covering or to cover the back of a stage, order black-and-white checkered paper from Stumps or from another prom supply company. This really adds to the “fifties” feel.
For wall hangings and standing props, I used silhouettes of a boy and girl dancing. The girl was wearing a knee-length skirt and had a ponytail, and the boy was wearing cuffed jeans. I found the shapes on clipart and blew them up to life size with a projector, tracing them onto cardboard from a refrigerator box. I cut them out and spray painted them black. To make them stand up, paint a cinder block black and glue the cutout to it with hot glue. If it needs more support, add a wooden dowel to the back of the cutout.
We also adorned the walls with real poodle skirts and old 45 records. We made a cutout of an old convertible and painted it red, too.
If you’re using this theme for a pageant, you could have the girls walk through the two giant sodas as they enter the stage. Your casual wear category could require the girls to dress in fifties wear like poodle skirts, bobby socks, saddle oxfords, rolled up jeans, varsity jackets, monogrammed sweaters, penny loafers – anything having to do with the era.
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