How to decorate for a girl's 18th birthday

happy birthday image by Ewe Degiampietro from

An 18th birthday marks the end of childhood and the beginning of greater independence. Young girls entering this age have more freedom, along with greater responsibilities as they officially become adults in some countries.

Celebrate your daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, friend or any soon-to-be 18-year-old's milestone birthday with a party that welcomes her coming-of-age. While party decorations should reflect the selected theme, there are some you can make to spruce up the venue and reflect the celebrant's new age.

Suspend helium-inflated Mylar "18" balloons near the front gate of a house, along the driveway, at the entrance and at strategic indoor spots. There are many ways to display these balloons -- bunch them up and tape them to a wall, or mix them with pink or lavender latex balloons and tape them together. Tie the end of a helium balloon with a length of cord and wind it around a brick to weigh it down. Tie the ends of three or four more balloons with cords of varying lengths and loop around the brick to add colour at various heights. Place the brick at a corner of the party room or behind a sofa.

Spread a red carpet over the walkway from the gate to the front door for a formal welcome worthy of adults. Most of the guests will be around the birthday girl's age or slightly younger.

Create a suspended photo album with pictures of the birthday girl's previous birthdays. Laminate a picture from each past birthday and punch a hole through the top. Extend a length of ribbon through each hole and tape it to the ceiling so it hangs down low enough for the guests to see as they enter.

Draw a large 20-inch-wide circle on a pink or lavender sheet of coloured paper and cut over the lines carefully. Stencil the numerals "18" over the centre of the circle, and paint inside the lines or cut them out carefully. Make several of these and paste over the front door or windows. Embellish the space outside the numerals with faux stones, glitter or coloured markers for added effect.

Cut out an 8-inch-wide circle and stencil the numerals "18" over the centre. Apply glue over the numerals and sprinkle glitter so the 18 stands out. Punch a hole through the top and extend a length of ribbon from the top. Tape one end of the ribbon to the ceiling so the ribbon extends all the way to the middle of the room, just above the guests' heads. Make several of these and suspend from the ceiling of the party or dance room.

Create floral arrangements composed of 18 flowers to spruce up the buffet table, entrance or other spots throughout the venue. Cut the stems of flowers identical in length and place these in a decorative vase. Alternatively, cut 18 flower heads and place them in a bowl of water so they float.