An UNO Birthday – The Decor

Benjamin bday collage

Last weekend was my Baby Boy’s first birthday, can you believe it? An entire year has passed since he was born! And as you can imagine, planning a birthday in the midst of all the holiday mayhem was, to say the least, challenging.

My friend Leigh Ann of Intentional by Grace came to my rescue with a simple but fun first birthday theme that she had come across on Pinterest for her own child’s first birthday. The idea was so charming, I had to steal it (my apologies to Leigh Ann, who had the idea first!). And many thanks to the awesomely creative people who come up with these ideas in the first place. I am totally in your all’s debt! (And so are my kids, because Mommy could never come up with such cool stuff from her own head!)

The birthday theme idea, of course, was based on the game UNO. You know, for the number one. (In case you were unaware, “uno” means one in Spanish. Just in case you needed to know that.) As it happened, I had an old box of UNO that was missing quite a few cards (not to mention that someone put a new box of UNO in my stocking!), so I took that as a heaven-sent serendipitous sign that the UNO party was just meant to be.

One thing I LOVE (L-O-V-E!) about this theme is that the decorations are so terrifically cheap (a good thing considering the state of our bank account right after Christmas!). I used random supplies I had around the house to throw together some fun decor that was bright and cheerful and just screamed “party!”. All the decorations were made with that same a-few-cards-short-of-a-full-set! Add to that non-investment, 2 paper plates, a long string of curling ribbon, a stick of hot glue, and some random pieces of tissue paper (oh, and 2 pieces of felt), and you have the sum total of the items needed for UNO party decor.

The other thing I love is that it has a built-in color scheme: red, blue, green and yellow (plus a little black). Easy peasy. No thinking necessary.

Oh, and by the way, this party theme is not just for one-year-olds! Any kid, or even adult, who loves games or numbers would have a blast with this party theme!

UNO wreath

This UNO wreath was a last minute inspiration that I literally whipped up in 2 minutes. And then I still had a ton of UNO cards, so I whipped up another one in a couple more minutes. This one’s a no-brainer, people. Take a large sturdy paper plate, and fold it in half. Cut out the inner circle, leaving the outer ring to form your wreath shape. Knot a ribbon around the top, then tie it into a bow. Lay the plate flat on a table, and use hot glue to attach UNO cards to the plate to form the wreath. I tried to match up the top left corner of each card to the top right corner of the previous card, slanting each one at a slight angle.

tissue paper pompom cluster I made these tissue paper pom-poms using up some tissue paper languishing in my present-wrapping-box. I will spare you my own garbled attempt to explain how to make them, and direct you to this great picture tutorial instead. I used the colors from the UNO theme – red, blue, green and yellow. Black would be a nice addition, but I didn’t have black. I could have hung these up individually, but my DH and I decided to hang them together in a cluster above the birthday cake to draw attention there. It was a great choice! The cluster had more impact than individual pom-poms would have, I think.

UNO garland To make an UNO garland, you’ll need to start with a tremendously long piece of curling ribbon (I used red because it’s what I had.). To secure the cards to the ribbon, you’ll want to tie a knot on each one. To do this, start with a long piece of curling ribbon. Punch a hole in the top of an UNO card, and thread the ribbon through it, leaving about 6″ or so on the left for hanging. Tie a knot and pull it taut just above the card. Then thread another card through the ribbon, once again tying a knot. Keep adding the cards one at a time, tying the knot for each one, until you come to the other end of the ribbon, once again leaving about 6″ or so for hanging. Voila! An UNO garland!

another UNO garland

Even the birthday boy was part of the decor! Check out his designer onesie:

UNO onesie I used two pieces of felt (Warning: do not try to use peel’n’stick felt. It doesn’t stick. Just so you know.), one blue and one white (you couldn’t tell that yourself, could you?!). I cut a rectangle to fit the front of his onesie out of the blue felt and attached it via the adhesive on the back of the peel’n’stick felt. Bad decision. I should have hot-glued it on, because it wouldn’t stay put once we got to the party. Lesson learned! Thankfully, the white felt was not peel’n’stick! I cut out a slanted oval to fit in the center of my blue rectangle and attached it with hot glue (And it stuck. Like glue.) I also cut out some mini little “1”s from the white felt and glued them to the top right and bottom right corners. Then I cut  a larger “1” (all of them attempting to replicate the UNO font) out of the blue felt and stuck it to the white oval. To this day, I do not know where it is. *Sigh* If you want a more permanent onesie, of course, you can skip all the gluing, and use iron-on backing and/or sewing it to secure around the edges. I was just going for the effect that day, so it wasn’t a really big deal that it wasn’t a permanent design.

Ain’t he a cute little model?!

UNO model

Not shown (because I don’t have a picture) are the table decorations, which consisted mostly of black plastic table cloth, scattered with all my leftover UNO cards (yes, I still had more!). I considered running the UNO cards through our shredder to make confetti, but I ran out of time. It made more impact anyway, I think, leaving them whole.

scrapbooking Because, of course, there is no way Baby Boy will remember his first birthday years from now, we (all the guests at the party) made a scrapbook for him. Each person decorated one page and wrote a personal note to him for his birthday. The pages all have an empty spot where I can insert pictures from the party (I predict I will finish this in time for his 21st birthday party). I did the same thing for My Certain Little Someone’s first birthday, and I wanted Baby Boy to have the same special scrapbook.

Each piece of UNO decor was awfully QUICK, I can tell you that! The tissue pom-poms were the hardest part, but once I figured out how to make them, the process went more quickly. I made the garland while watching TV one night, and it was done before the show was over, so it didn’t take all that long.

Everything was super EASY, I assure you. OK, a slight learning curve on the pom-poms, but easier than other things I have done.

We’ve already covered how CHEAP these decorations were.

And HEALTHY as long as you don’t try to eat them.

Read the Rest of An Uno Birthday Series:


  1. How fun Anne! I love the scrapbook idea.
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  2. Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace says:

    This is great, Anne! You did a great job. I love the UNO wreath. I didn’t think of that for ours. I think this is the best first birthday decorating idea ever! It was so cheap and fun to come up with all the decorations. Oh and the natural color scheme was probably my favorite because I’m really not all that creative. Not to mention, the sweet memories you captured. Absolutely love the scrapbook idea!! Great job, Anne!!!

    • Thanks! The UNO wreath was an added inspiration when I was faced with a huge stack of UNO cards that I either needed to do something creative with or just throw away. I couldn’t just throw them away… at least not without putting them to good use first;)

  3. Super cute! Looks like you all had a great time celebrating your son’s first birthday :)
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  4. I love this! And love the scrapbook idea!
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  5. What a fun and creative idea! You have started something in my mind; I will be on the lookout for used games at thrift stores. Parties revolving around Scrabble or Monopoly. This is fun!

  6. Super cute and cool idea! Happy new year!
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  7. P.S. I think I will be borrowing your scrapbook idea! I wish i had thought of that for Lily’s 1st!
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  8. so cute! happy birthday baby boy!
    Love the scrapbook idea for his first birthday. I’ll keep it in mind for my little guy’s first.
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  9. Thanks for linking up in mommy solutions this week! Adorable idea. I’m going to feature you on my Facebook page today! I love the tshirt!
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