Paper Straws 101

History & Party Ideas for Paper Straws

Did you know. . . 

Marvin Chester Stone is best known as the inventor of the modern drinking straw.  However, in 1888, he invented a machine to wind paper straws, which were popularly used for drinking cold beverages. 
Prior to this, people used natural rye grass straws, which were undesirable because they imparted a grassy flavor in beverages. In response to this, Marvin C. Stone made the first drinking straw prototypes by spiraling a strip of paper around a pencil and gluing it at the ends. Next he experimented with paraffin wax-coated manila paper, so that it would not get soggy when used. This first model was 8 1/2 inches long and had a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from getting lodged in the tube. Marvin Stone patented his invention on January 3rd, 1888. 
By 1890, his factory was producing more drinking straws than cigarette holders. In 1906 a machine was invented by Stone’s “Stone Straw Corporation” to automatically wind the straws. 

The trendy resurgence of paper straws at events, weddings, and parties has gone beyond using them for drinking only.  Paper straws can also be used for all kinds of other party decor. Don’t believe me, check out this links provided from the craftiest people in the blogosphere: 
  1. cupcake topper 
  2. cakepop holder, see here also. 
  3. wreath, a great how-to here
  4. garland, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! 
  5. napkin ring and table centerpiece.  

Get your striped, polka dot, and chevron paper straws in The Party Fetti Shop!

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Party Planning On a Budget

1. Do not procrastinate!!!  I can’t scream this loud enough. Plan ahead so that you can shop around for the best prices and best items!  I highly recommend starting a whole three months ahead of your party date.  I can’t tell you how many emails I get for help with planning a large party 5 days before the big day? Not to mention, requests for custom made to order items with only about a week before the party.  I just secretly giggle and politely reply that if I lived in their area, I would surely help, but since most are in a different city and contacting me on my blog or through my party shops,  my response is that I’d love to help but other than an Inspiration board, there is not much I can do for them in a week.  I usually have many other custom party orders ahead of them, and I need time to make the items and then the postman needs time to get it to them.  Even if I do offer a rush order service with a fee to get a custom order done for them, most won’t spend the extra dollars for this nor will they pay for over night shipping.  If you are under the gun, don’t shop online, you’re best option is that big giant impersonal retail party store or spending the money to hire a local party planner to help you with all the details- and you’ll be lucky if that party planner is not already booked solid for your party date at that late of notice.  So plan months in advance, so you don’t have to deal with the last minute stress.
2. Set and stick with a budget.
3. Be flexible, you may have to give up some stuff in order to stay on budget and in order to fit everything into your time frame available for planning.
Choosing Your Colors:
When choosing your colors, think outside the box and even refer to your standard color wheel to find nice accent color ideas for your party. Tiger Color is a great source for learning more about where you can better understand color schemes and the source I used for my images below.
Monochromatic: one color dark to light…so you choose BLUE and use different shades of blue throughout your party
Analogous Color Scheme: Colors that are on the same side of the color wheel like purple, blue, teal
Complimentary Colors: two opposites on the color wheel like teal and yellow or red and green red and green are not just for Christmas anymore. They can make great colors for a fun strawberry themed party as well.
Split Complimentary: The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement. A good example of split complimentary is red, green, pink.
Triadic: colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel, such as yellow, blue, red or green, orange, purple
Choose a Theme:
  • Start by choosing a location.
  • Window shop for ideas in stores and online.
  • So your child wants a licensed party (such as Disney) – how many mothers are letting out a deep sigh of relief to this one?!…choose colors to match the licensed characters and allow your child to pick out one or two (usually overpriced) items from a party store, but use those colors to decorate the party.
  • Choose a unique theme–adds drama to your party
Party Activities:
Think of some fun party activities that are outside of the box. Fun party activities can include:
  • Treasure hunts (themed in pirate, Tinkerbell, cowboy, etc.)
  • Outdoor movie night
  • Tea Party
  • Garden Party
  • Olympic Relay Party
Activities at a Location:
Try to find a fun place to have a party that is a little different than other parties, some fun ideas include:
  • Baseball park (play baseball and have concessions)
  • Library Party with a book exchange
  • Day Camp Party
  • Sledding Party
Customize Your Party:
Find ways to make your party unique and one of a kind by making things yourself
  • Using Printable Parties
  • Make your own party decorations with tissue and crepe paper and a simple sewing project
  • Use scrapbook paper to create decor
  • Dollar Store supplies and Michael’s Dollar Aisle
  • Use rubber stamps
  • Try digital scrapbooking kits for ideas
DIY Decorations:
  • Cupcake Liner Garland
  • Use solid white or clear dessert dishes and dress them up with scrapbook paper, ribbon, or other accessories to match your party decor
  • Use unique table decorations such as small wreaths on each chair
  • Use fun cupcake toppers to add flare to your desserts
  • Incorporate DIY favors such as crafts and activities for kids
  • Use cheap containers for decorations or for favors
Unique Invitations:
Think outside of the box with your invitations because they Truly set the tone for your party. Big tip from me to you – don’t use evites or Facebook invitations. They are impersonal and set a different kind of tone for starting your party out. Take the time to put some thought into your invitations. Thought doesn’t mean more dollars spent either! Some examples included:
  • Shop your local garage sales for records and then glue invitations onto records for a Rock n Roll party!
  • Make or buy pinwheels to use as invitations for an outdoor or spring time party
  • Buy dollar store boxes of crayons and glue your invitation onto the crayons or crayon box for an art themed party
  • Put your invitation on a beach ball!
  • Or use the back of a paint set for an invitation….the possibilities are endless!
  • She even put her invitations onto a set of dollar store sunglasses for a beach party!
Unlikely Resources:
Think outside the box for places you can use that may be needed for your party, but you need cheaper or more affordable options:
  • Call culinary schools instead of caterers.
  • Use bartending schools to save some money per hour for bartenders that need practice!
  • Student unions
  • Nurseries sometimes rent out plants for events (I rented from a nursery for my wedding!)
  • Rental companies
Other things to consider to cut back on expenses:
  • To cut down on wasted food use pre-served food options. Ideas for this include pre-scooping ice cream into cupcake liners and storing in freezer until ready to serve.
  • Consider meal times when setting your time. If you don’t have the money to serve a full meal, start your party about mid afternoon after most kids have eaten lunch, but before dinner and serve smaller portioned snacks and desserts.
  • Keep your party intimate. You don’t need to invite every child in your daughter’s class. Have her pick 5 of her closest friends so that you can use your budget on lots of small details and add more drama to the party.
  • Minimize licensed products–easier said than done! I know.  But they are expensive and you can find ways to recreate some of those items for much cheaper! Just search Pinterest for ideas!
  • Eliminate “fluff” from your party.
  • Make your own cake–there are TONS of great cake ideas and tutorials on Pinterest.
  • Double your party decor as a present for your child….

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Rolled Paper Roses

I recently participated in a eco-friendly craft show and had to come up with some creative ideas for making items to sell at the show.  After I learned how to make rolled paper roses I came up with making wreaths out of music sheets with the roses on them. 
After I made one or two, I really got the hang of it and I started making them with fabric scraps and lace trim as well.
I have now moved on to making entire bouquets!
Happy to make a custom bouquet for you! 
 Just visit my shop at 

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