For years, I’ve had the idea of a brown paper packages party in the back of my mind. I think it’s a combination of how much my girls loved the UPS truck when they were little — or, the “PS truck” as they called it — and knowing that nothing makes a kid happier than an empty box. Wouldn’t it be awesome to throw a birthday party for little ones where you give each kid a box and washable markers? They would have a blast, and it would be the easiest party you’ve ever thrown. Anyway. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I morphed my box party into a Brown Paper Packages Tied Up In String Valentine’s Day Party for our family.

Dessert Table

The dessert table started with this super-simple backdrop project. I used packing tape to attach two pieces of foam core board to each other, then wrapped them in brown kraft paper, and wrote the To: and From: addresses with a black Sharpie. Finally, I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out my stamp and postage cancellation mark. (Here are the cut files I used: stamp and cancellation mark and heart.) I glued on the stamp set with Aleene’s Thick Tacky glue, and then wrapped two sides of the backdrop with glitter tape and glitter yarn.

The table itself has a “table runner” that is really just two yards of red fabric, folded in half, and then topped with more of the kraft paper. I made the world’s simplest Valentine’s banner by pinning red glitter yarn from the underside of the red fabric table runner. Then, I just draped the red glitter flaps of my kraft envelopes over the yarn.

When you build your serving pieces collection, I always recommend buying white, because it is the most versatile option. But if you want a spot of color, add color via your cake stand. I love this red one and it works on so many occasions. Two kraft photo boxes became stands for my other treats. I think it took all of 10 minutes to set up the dessert table.

For sweets, I served:

  • Brown paper packages cake based on a design from Cakery Blog.
  • Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes
  • Chocolate M&M cookies
  • Brownie bits
  • Dove chocolate hearts

I didn’t make a bit of it, which sometimes is my favorite kind of dessert table. (wink)

Dinning Table

The dinning table was mostly about pulling out things I already owned. (It always pays to shop at home first.) The burlap chargers and heart plates were the only new additions. BTW, I love melamine for party plates. It’s sturdy, inexpensive and reusable, and it doesn’t slide around like paper plates.

The heart napkin rings were homemade from my daughters’ Selfie Scavenger Hunt birthday party, which I’ll post soon, along with a napkin ring tutorial. For this party, I just glued on some glitter hearts that are actually supposed to be table scatter. I glued more glitter hearts to the bamboo forks.

The soda bottle wraps I kind of love and couldn’t have been easier. I peeled off the Izze labels and then wrapped the bottles in brown paper packing tape. It’s already sticky, and easily repositionable. Then I just wrapped the bottle again in red baker’s twine.

For the centerpiece, I gathered some boxes and embellished them a bit. The corrugated boxes had markings on the outside, so I just cut them open, turned them inside out and then taped them back together. One box I wrapped in more of the kraft paper. Then I used either twine or yarn to tie the boxes up in string. On the top box, I added more vintage stamps and addressed it.

BUDGET TIP: I hope this dessert table gives you some budget-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family. So much of this party came from my house; it’s because I invest upfront in reusable party goods — like table cloths and napkins — that the subsequent parties become less expensive to throw. For this party, all I purchased was:

  • Sweets and soda = $70 for cake, $21 for cupcakes, about $16 for others
  • Glitter envelopes = $1
  • Foam glitter hearts = $1
  • Glitter hearts on sticks = $1
  • Red glitter yarn = $4.50
  • Red glitter washi tape = $3.50
  • Heart straws = $6
  • Heart paper mache boxes = $6 for 4
  • Vintage stamps = $14.50
  • Heart-shaped melamine plates = $5.60 for 4
  • Burlap chargers = $12 for 4
  • Kraft photo boxes = $5.60 for 2

That’s a total of $167.70 — not too bad, right? Everything else came from my party stash. Except for the food, I have left-overs of everything else and I’ll definitely be using them again. If I’d had time to bake myself, my party cost could have been closer to $76.

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it a family party like ours or a date night just for you two? Let me know in the comments.

Vendor Credits

You’ll find my resources listed below. The Amazon links are affiliate links, so if you purchase through them, I’ll earn a small commission that helps fund my ability to bring you more parties. But most importantly, I only recommend products that I use and love.


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