Set Sail: A DIY-able Nautical Themed Birthday Party!

Ethan's Regatta, a nautical sign made of wooden planks.

Get everything shipshape for your little sailor’s birthday bash with a happy, snappy nautical motif! We’ve shared all the fun elements of this occasion over the past posts. Now, we bring you all of these DIY-able components together for the full party look! So draw up the anchor and all hands on deck. We’re off to set sail on this nautical theme show case! *This post contains affiliate links.

Say “Welcome Aboard!” with Fun Party Signs

Get the little guests all excited to go a-sailing with playful signs at the party’s entrance. Announce the celebrant’s name and point everyone to key areas like the games and activities and, of course, the “sailor’s grub”!

Nautical directional signs made of wooden.

Chalkboard signs are an easy way to capture that kiddie vibe, while customizing them at next to no cost! Notice how you can either opt paint your boards black or simply leave them as bare plywood, like our directional signs. The colored chalk will show up nicely on either surface and the bare wood gives that weathered-by-the-sea look, don’t you think? To complete the welcome sign area, we added netting and an anchor, but you can also include a ship wheel! Note, too, the colorful pennant banner (see below) hanging in the background featuring actual nautical signs and symbols.

Nautical bunting with signs and symbols.

Set Party Tables Fit for Little Sailors

Plan the party tables with fun all-nautical elements! Again, you’d be surprised how easily and inexpensively you can do this. We used two kinds of striped fabric in red, white and blue to set the festive mood. Then, we assembled place settings of wooden chargers (we cut our own but you could certainly find something similar at the dollar store or a crafts outlet), aqua plates, red glasses and white spoons and forks—all in child-safe plastic.

A Kid's Nautical Party Table with Paper Boats.

Our special DIY elements were the sailor party hats, the rope-wrapped kiddie chairs, and the lighthouse table name holder. With an actual ship replica, seashells, sand, and saltwater taffy treats as finishing touches!

Craft Seaworthy Centerpieces

For the celebrant’s table, we put together an extra special centerpiece. He gets his very own replica of a sailing ship! You could source one like this at a toy or hobby supply store, for the little one to keep to remember this fun birthday.

Sailor ship replica for a nautical centerpiece.

Then for the rest of the tables, play up the theme with DIY lighthouses that also serve as table name holders. We chose names of well known seaside destinations, but you could opt for nautical characters that kids love, sailing gear, and the like.

Plan Fun Nautical Themed Place Settings

Paper boat place settings with escort cards tucked inside.

Just a quick closeup of the party place settings to show how these can be a breeze to put together. Wooden charger? Check! Plastic party ware in nautical colors? Check! Sailor party hat with a little place name “badge”? Check! Now, how easy is that?

Faux wooden plate chargers for a nautical tablescape.

Hint: If the wooden chargers are a problem to source or make, faux wood placemats or even unhemmed burlap circles or squares would work, too!

Prepare a Sailor-themed Sweets Table

Even hardy junior seafarers love birthday cake! So we prepared a single-layer round cake covered in white rolled fondant (you could buy one ready-made with white sugar icing instead). Then, the trimmings were just fun and handy add-ons—no decorating skills required! We used a large anchor cut from aqua foam board; peppermint drops for their cheery red and white stripes; Skittles candies in red, aqua and yellow; and blue and red ribbon with nautical badges attached. See how to decorate this cake with our DIY post.

Nautical themed cake and sweets table for kids with balloons.

To complete the sweets and cake table, we added red and blue balloons, a mini treasure chest filled with sweet treasures, netted bags of chocolate coins, and a ship for extra decor.

Hint: You could achieve your own delightful cake design with jelly beans, licorice, gum drops, rock candy, sugar crystal “sand,” cookies, shell-shaped chocolates, nautical cutouts or bunting, even little plastic boats, anchors, or buckets.

Nautical party favors consisting of chocolates in nets.

For nautical themed party favors, we filled fishing-net bags with “pirates’ treasure” of doubloons and gold bars (actually gold chocolate coins and Hershey’s gold Nuggets)! You could do the same with tiny wooden treasure chests or mini tin buckets available at craft supply stores. Click to view our post on nautical favor ideas.


This post contains affiliate links and Bellenza, Inc. will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking the affiliate links. You can find our disclosure statement here.

2 Comments

  1. Michelle Leslie  /  07/22/2017, 6:49 am Reply

    That’s just soooooo incredibly cute. You’ve thought of everything. I love the treasure chest and the little bags of coins. Even the name tags are perfect. Great inspiration

    • Melanie  /  07/22/2017, 2:00 pm Reply

      Thanks, Michelle! Happy to see you drop by!

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