The roaring twenties were full of interesting stories and colorful characters such as those found in The Great Gatsby. It's because of these colorful characters and interesting stories that the 1920s makes a good birthday party theme, especially for those who are turning 20 years old.
Homemade 1920s Decorations
Create some homemade 1920s-themed decorations to help save some money and to assure yourself that the decorations will be exactly what you want.
Create homemade prohibition and 1920s-inspired signs to help decorate for a roaring twenties party.
- 1920s inspired font; 1001 fonts has over 100 free 1920s inspired fonts
- Word processing or graphic program
- Decorative printer paper
- Stickers (optional)
- Hanging materials, like yarn and cardboard or a photo frame
- Choose a 1920 style font.
- Download the chosen font onto your computer and install it.
- Use a word processing or graphic program to create a sign or signs. Use one of the statements below for inspiration.
- Print your sign onto paper. Choose a paper that goes with the sign you choose; use graphics or even stickers to reflect the era.
- Finish the sign any way you want; the easiest way is to frame the sign in a cheap frame from a discount store. Alternatively, paste it onto cardboard, poke holes in the top two corners and pull a piece of string through.
If you don't want to create a sign on a computer, consider using the statements written on a chalk board.
Saying and Design Options
- Closed for Violation of the National Prohibition Act - This statement would make a great sign for an entry. Make the sign look like an official document and print on old-fashioned looking paper.
- Speakeasy - A speakeasy was a place that sold liquor illegally during the prohibition. A speakeasy sign would look appropriate hanging next to or above a door at the entry of the party.
- Prohibition Ends at Last, December 5, 1933 - Create this sign to look like a newspaper heading and lay it on a table or hang it on a wall.
- Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine - Conservative women who were opposed to alcohol sales would not want to be involved with men who drank. Use this phrase on a sign and place it near the bar.
- Drinking Destroys Mankind - Drinking was thought to be enemy number one in the 1920s. Place this sign anywhere in the party venue.
- Keep Calm and Get Your Gatsby On - References to The Great Gatsby, the 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald is almost a must for a 1920s party. This type of sign is a perfect reference.
- What's the Password? - Add a password to the invitation that guests must say to enter the party.
Create large, dramatic feather centerpieces out of ostrich feathers. Feathers were a common accessories worn by flapper girls and can be mimicked as decor. Black and white is a popular color scheme for a 1920s party and can be used in this décor item.
- Ostrich feathers in your choice of colors, like black and white
- Tall vase
- Round piece of white Styrofoam to fit vase
- Peacock feathers for additional color (optional)
- Simply put large black and white feathers into a tall vase to use as centerpieces.
- If the feathers' quills are too short, stick the ends into a piece of Styrofoam and put the Styrofoam into the neck of the vase.
- Cover the outside of the vase with glue and glitter to conceal the Styrofoam.
- Add peacock feathers for color if desired.
Cover walls with 1920s-inspired silhouette images. A variety of different iconic images could be used to decorate at a party with this theme. You can create your own images such as flappers, musicians, or era cars, or you can use ready-made clip arts which can be found at sites such as the Clip Art Hut.
- Find or create the silhouettes you want to use.
- Print the images from your computer.
- Cut the images out of the paper.
- Tape them to the walls of your party venue.
Glittered Wine Bottles
Because of the prohibition, liquor-related decorations are a must for a 1920s party. One simple and cost-effective way to accomplish this is to take glass wine bottles (or apple cider bottles) and make them beautiful to be used as centerpiece.
- Paint brush
- Modge Podge
- Full or empty wine bottle
- Fine gold glitter
- Use a paint brush to apply Modge Podge to the wine bottle. Cover the whole bottle or just the top or bottom half.
- Dust fine gold glitter onto the bottle.
- Decorate cocktail tables, mantels, and buffet tables with the bottles.
Store Bought Decorations
For those who don't want to create their own decorations, there are plenty of commercially made decorations to choose from.
Buy life-sized standees at party supply stores or online at these retailers.
- Flapper - Flappers are practically synonymous with the 1920s. You can stretch the theme with a flapper girl standee from Walmart for under $35.
- 1920s roadster - Make a bold statement with this nine-foot long roadster standee. For around $45 you can obtain this cardboard image of a red roaster. Be sure to have a large area to display this item before purchasing it from Shindigz.
- Gangster guy - A gangster is a standard image from the 1920s. Buy this gangster standee for around $45 from Shindigz and allow guests to stand next to him for a photo.
Wall and Ceiling Decorations
Wall hangings are the perfect way to decorate a party venue. Here are some 1920 inspired hangings.
- Black, white, and gold garland - Glittery garland will add some sparkle and color to party venue walls. Choose three different lengths ranging in price from $5 - $12.
- Musical instruments - These gleaming gold instruments will represent the music of the era and bring a little glitter to your party room for just over $7. If your child has play instruments he or she is willing to part with, you could spray paint them gold and hang from the ceiling using fishing line, too.
1920s art - Art deco was all the rage and you can bring this style to your party. Purchase this poster in a variety of sizes ranging in prices from $5 to $25. Put the poster in a gold frame for an even more lavish look.
Gold, Silver, and Black Party Decorations
A popular color scheme for a 1920s party is gold, black, and white. This combination is elegant and extravagant and references the popular story of The Great Gatsby which includes many posh soirees.
- Pom-poms - Decorate a party venue with these 12'' metallic gold, silver, and black tissue pom-poms. They cost under $20 and can be hung on walls, from the ceiling or lay on a table for decoration.
Art deco banner - Art deco was the style of era and should be represented at the party. For only $5, this art deco birthday bunting banner can be instantly downloaded.
Gold metallic fringe - Add a little glitz and glam by hanging gold fringe on walls, around table edges, or windows. For under $8 you will get a 20' x 15" roll.
Other 1920s Party Ideas
The main thing to keep in mind when decorating for a 1920s party is to be glamourous. Add stylish details to tables such as long strands of pearls, gold confetti table scatter and feathers. Create party activity props as decorations too. For instance, a photo booth backdrop and basket full of photo booth props, such as top hats and fancy hats, can serve as a decoration as well as its intended activity. In addition, even your guests can be part of the décor when they dress in period clothing and dance the Charleston on a decorated dance floor.