Styling a DIY licenced party your way

Everyone loves a party. Many of us love planning a party too. Designing, styling, and co-ordinating the perfect ‘do’ can give hours of fun.  But if you’re anything like me, you want everything to match perfectly – and the tiniest deviation just won’t work!

For all their popularity, I find licenced character parties the most difficult to style perfectly as items can come from different sources, in a range of colours. This can sometimes give a less coordinated look.

There are other considerations too, such as buying a bunch of lisenced items would likely work out to be dearer than a few plain coloured items.

Below, an elegant Trolls party using muted versions of the colour scheme, and the only identifying factor being the Poppy topper peeking out from the cake. 

A breakdown of elements

Here are some tips you can use when putting together a unique, and handmade lisenced party. Whether you’re doing your own design or working with a party designing professional (just be careful not to infringe copyright if you are doing paid work), combining a couple of these elements work really well to convey the character or theme you are trying to channel.

Colour Palette

I believe this is the first place to start. The colours definitely help build a strong association with a theme, even if there are few other identifying elements. For example, when I see red and purple together, I immediately think of the Little Mermaid. I never noticed that her hair was 100% pure red until I put the two colours together. If you’re not convinced, test it yourself by doing this cool Disney colour scheme guessing game!

However, don’t be afraid to experiment, such as going monochrome or using pastel tones of the same shades –as long as you have some other identifying elements.

Subtle monochrome bats and masks really set the scene in this image below!


This is another way to generate a feel for a theme. For example, star patterns always work well for most superheroes, perhaps even Star Wars. Polka dots are classic Minnie and Mickey – but why not mix it up by replacing the ears with another simple element? Stripes of course are perfect for Dr. Seuss. If you’re not techy or design savvy, you can easily create a pattern by cutting out stars or other shapes (or even washi tape or stickers in simple shapes), and sticking them to a plain background. This could work well on favour bags, or even a backdrop.

I used a combo of fonts, shapes and patterns to achieve the Paw Patrol theme on this invite.


This one is just an extension of the pattern concept, but it works really well when a particular element is strongly associated with a character. For example, you can draw a flower for Trolls, or cut three black circles for mouse ears and head, stars and speech bubbles for superheroes. Some other ideas include a shield for Paw Patrol. Try incorporating a couple of shapes to create a motif across all of your handmade party decor. For example a triangle (wizard hat) and thunderbolt would be perfect for a Harry Potter inspired party.


You can incorporate an associated font if you can find it online (just make sure you purchase the correct one and it is approved for your use, if you are working with a party professional they will be able to help out). For subtlety, combine a font that is strongly associated with a character with an unrelated complimentary font, and use it on your stationery.

Some Paw Patrol inspired favour stickers I created. I did not let myself be restricted by the branded colours, although I did use the sheild shape. 

If you want to use the real deal lisenced products in your party set up, try to think outside the box with products. For example, you can buy official stickers to decorate paper cups, buy character fabrics for tablecloths, or make party hats out of lisneced wrapping paper adhered to card! If you want to keep it subtle, just focus on one or two official products.

All of these tips should also work with other lisenced or trademarked brands, including clothing or sports teams.

Don’t forget to experiment, you might end up with something amazing!

Have you styled a licenced character or branded party with a unique twist? Would love it see it! Get in touch. 


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