Get ready to explore to this Vintage Dinosaur Fossil Hunter Party by (the queen of vintage party style) Gretchen of Three Little Monkeys Studio. Her son Zach loves watching fossil documentaries (about real dinosaurs!), so it was pretty obvious that for his 3rd birthday she would dig up a creative dinosaur fossil dessert table, excavation site and an adorable fossil hunter birthday boy outfit!
PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:
- Cretaceous Cake Pops, “Dino Dig” Chocolate Cake and Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs
- Dino Dig with excavation tools: magnifying glasses, brushes and shovels
- “Rawr” stamped bamboo utensils + T-Rex skull stamped napkins
- Fossil Hunter Activity Sheet & Dino Adoption Center
PARTY DETAILS, as told by Gretchen…
For my little guy’s birthday there was never any question about the theme: Fossils! He is obsessed with dinosaurs. Obsessed. But not the cartoon variety. He digs real fossils, and we’ve watched so many documentaries I can identify just about every fossil. OK, not quite every fossil. But close.
We heart vintage around here, so I wanted to make it feel like an old fossil excavation site. And with the help of some vintage props and some creative works by some party loving friends, I think we accomplished that in a really fun way.
I chose to do an afternoon dessert buffet, so I served a Dino Dig Chocolate Cake, Cretaceous Cake Pops (by Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats), Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs, Rock Cupcakes, Fossilized Shark Teeth (apples slices with caramel dip), Fossil Cookies (by Renee Nicole Design) and Fossilized Oreos (by Love & Sugar Kisses). I also served dark chocolate almond milk to drink and coffee for the adults.
The fossilized Dino Eggs were a big hit with an unexpected twist. They were chocolate cupcakes topped with a small fondant fossil topper made by Edible Details. The toppers were incredible and had a mini dinosaur skull and bones. Then, using a mix of white and milk chocolate for a marbling effect, I made a chocolate shell with a silicone mold and placed that on top so the guests could break the shell open and find a fossilized baby dinosaur inside.
I also made homemade Rock Cupcakes, which were vanilla cupcakes with added peanut butter chips in the batter for a bit of crunch, vanilla buttercream, and topped with chocolate rocks and some printable toppers.
The chocolate cake was made by my photographer’s sister-in-law, Janelle. She made a chocolate cake in a fondant “shipping crate”, topped with dirt (chocolate cake crumbles) and a fondant dinosaur fossil. I topped it with a small banner made out of paper straws, twine and canvas flags stamped with the birthday boy’s name.
To jazz up the chocolate almond milk bottles (which were just Starbucks Frappucino bottles with label removed), I lightly coated the rims with a bit of honey using a pastry brush, and then rolled them in Ticings real chocolate sprinkles so they would stick. It looked like dirt and really complimented the rest of the food items. Then I tucked in dark brown paper straws with printable flags.
I love using stamps. OK, really I have an addiction, but I think it is a fun way to take simple and inexpensive solid napkins and utensils and make them look custom. I picked up bamboo utensils from a previous Pick Your Plum deal and my and alphabet stamps from GroopDealz (but you can find them at Hobby Lobby too). The bamboo plates and napkins came from my local Party City. Using my alphabet stamps, I stamped “RAWR” on the handle of the utensils, which is my little guy’s impression of a dinosaur shouted from the top of his lungs. Then I used my T-Rex dinosaur skull stamp from an Etsy seller and stamped on my napkins taking them from boring brown the fabulous. I am all about using printables in unique ways, so I took bottle labels from my Fossil Hunter Collection and wrapped them around the napkin (folded in half), tucked in a spoon and put them on the bamboo plates. A fun, fancy and inexpensive way to make plates and utensils a bit more interesting and a pretty presentation.
I made the wreath for his party out of two shades of cupcake liners: dark brown and unbleached/natural. I folded them in half, rolled one end in until it formed a rose shape, loosened it a bit and then hot glued it to a flat 12″ wreath form. I alternated rows of five and three all the way around, and then filled in as necessary. I found cute little canvas banner flags and stamped “Happy Birthday” on them, strung them together with twine and hung it on the wreath. Then I hot glued a couple of the fossil dinosaurs to the wreath. It made a super cute statement at the entrance.
I came up with three activities to keep our guest busy. I printed out some coloring sheets and put out some crayons for our younger guests, and I designed an activity for the older kiddos that included a fossil identification activity. I picked up a set of real fossils from Amazon for around $20 that included real triceratops bones, fossilized plants, shark teeth and more. They were all around 70-400 million years old. Fossils were placed in petri dishes, and guests were encouraged to touch them and look at them with magnifying glasses. I also created tent cards with facts about the fossils. Guests were asked questions about the fossils on their activity sheet. It was lots of fun. But by far, the favorite activity was the dinosaur dig. I took a galvanized tub and put a bag of sand in it and buried plastic fossils that the kids could find and examine with their excavation tools: magnifying glasses, brushes and small shovels.
For decor, I used lots of vintage finds, such as a vintage map for the backdrop, books, old trunks and camping gear. I also used replica fossils, such as the T-Rex skull, to give it the feel of a working paleontology camp site.
BIRTHDAY BOY OUTFIT
The birthday boy needed a serious outfit for hunting fossils, so I made him a shirt using an iron-on from my collection that says “I Dig Fossils”, a fossil hunter vest and a cute Pith hat I picked up from Hobby Lobby. His outfit was made complete with a vintage magnifying glass that he carried everywhere investigating anything and everything up close.
For favors, guests got to go to the Dino Adoption Center and pick out their very own fossil figure, and they also go to take home a burlap bag with a thank you tag stuffed and a treat tucked inside. The bag was filled with white chocolate “fossils” and chocolate rocks. I made the fossils using white chocolate, which I poured into a silicone fossil ice tray. I took a few clear treat