Did you know that there’s such a thing as National Hot Fudge Sundae Day? Seriously – you can google it!
Personally, I think any day is a great day for a hot fudge sundae, but if someone wants to give me a good excuse to enjoy one, that works too. 😜
Anyways, I love a good theme and thought a nautical twist felt very fitting for a summer ice cream party, so I invite you to scroll on down and *set sail for shakes and sundaes* with me today. 😉
Ice Cream Party Printables
My Nautical Sundae printables are available in our store! Use them to add instant style and personalized details to your party. 🙌 You can edit the custom text yourself – right on the website – whenever (and as often as) you need to! Click here to buy this collection.
HOW TO SET UP A NAUTICAL ICE CREAM BAR
The first thing you’ll need to do is map out the basics:
– 1) flavors of ice cream made from Real California Milk
– 2) mix-ins and toppings
– 3) serving vessels
For a shakes and sundaes bar, I’ve found that it’s best to keep the ice cream options simple. Serve just 2-3 flavors so that you have plenty of room for toppings & mixers. 😋
In addition to cups & sundae bowls, it’s nice to include ice cream cones for the people that love them… like me! ;)
Quick Styling Tips:
- I found the plastic bowls pictured above at Target for .79 each. They’re technically kids bowls, but perfectly sized for ice cream sundaes!
- Wooden spoons were customized with patterned paper on the handles (except for one printed design I had that already matched).
- Bottled toppings like flavored syrups and hot fudge got a quick makeover too, with ribbon + printable papers & labels.
- This station is equipped with everything you need to make milkshakes, floats, ice cream sundaes, and even an Ice Cream Sundae Milkshake (!) like this one:
Don’t be afraid to get creative with the way that you serve toppings too. Several of the toppings in my “Sprinkle Station” were served in a cute white container that’s actually a kid-friendly art supplies organizer:
Speaking of kid-friendly, this was one of those projects that my own little ice cream lovers couldn’t wait to get their hands into too… they made a beeline for the Sprinkle Station station the second I let them loose. ;)
DIY Ice Cream Sailboat
My favorite part of this table was the Ice Cream Sailboat centerpiece. In a nutshell, this is a (very simple!) makeshift sailboat that looks like it’s carrying the ice cream:
To make the sailboat, I used a red planter from Ikea as the boat base. It’s filled with acrylic containers full of Vanilla, Strawberry, and Chocolate ice cream + ice to keep them cold.
The sail is made from foam core cut into a triangle shape, covered in fabric & embellished with a printable sign. You can download the printable sail sign here.
The finished sail is hot glued to a tall wooden dowel. The dowl is inserted into a small, floral-foam-filled container that’s sitting directly behind the red planter. (The planter had a slight angle to it, so it was hard to attach the dowel rod directly to it without the sail tipping forward. Putting it in a separate container solved that problem instantly!)
I also channeled this “ice cream boat” idea within the printables:
Nautical themes always make me think of the “message in a bottle” idea… so for this table, we had “MIXERS in a Bottle”. 😉
The mixer bottles and milk carafe are embellished with colored duct tape, twine, and printable triangle-shaped labels.
The hot fudge and caramel topping bottles were decorated in a similar way, except they’re wrapped with patterned paper instead of duct tape:
Cups for the milkshakes were also embellished with baker’s twine, and I hot glued mini party flags to wide straws (from Ikea). The straws were shortened a bit as well.
Helpful Tip: Even though milkshakes are traditionally served in tall soda fountain style cups, I recommend using short tumblers or smaller cups for a milkshake bar. It takes a LOT of ice cream to make even a small milkshake, so this size should satisfy most people. Guests can always make a 2nd one (possibly in a different flavor!) if they’re hungry for more.
For the nautical Sprinkle Station, I loved the idea of showcasing a cute whale shooting sprinkles out of its blowhole. Quickly realizing that would take quite the effort to create in 3D form, I settled for the simpler solution this time around and added colorful paper details to a cute wooden whale instead. 🥳
Coffee Sleeve Sailor Hats
The little DIY “sailor hats” made from coffee sleeves are a fun craft project that the kids can help with too… just trim standard coffee sleeves a bit to make them shorter, then add a square of patterned paper in the middle. Glue paper “sprinkles” to the front for a fun, ice-cream inspired touch. (I also used this idea in my Little Sailor Birthday Party for Pottery Barn Kids!)
Milkshake Flavor Combos
Pictured above are a few examples of the different milkshakes you can make from a standard ice cream bar: (clockwise from top left) Bananas for Caramel, Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Cherry, Coconut-Vanilla-Fudge Sundae, and Chocolate Malted Crunch.
The sky’s the limit for your own station though… that’s the best thing about a make-your-own ice cream bar!
Ice Cream Party Printables
This post is sponsored by California Milk Advisory Board. Make sure to look for the Real California Milk seal when shopping for your ice cream!