A Japanese-themed party or home needs decorations that everyone can recognize are from Japan. Choose traditions and objects that have lasted for centuries and are commonly associated with the country, such as bamboo, fan shapes and origami. Use Japanese-style paper, plants and craft cords to make centerpieces or wall decorations for the party room. All the decorations require little effort or craft skill.
Bamboo is a common plant in Japan, mainly because it is fast-growing and difficult to destroy. Purchase real bamboo at nurseries, or find fake bamboo at craft stores. Turn bamboo stalks into table centerpieces by cutting four of them and tying them together. Then, place the tied stalks inside a Japanese-style vase filled with smooth stones or sand. Or use longer stalks, and place them in large vases for floor decorations. Give them away to guests when the party is over.
The Japanese word "origami" means to fold paper. Origami uses pieces of paper and turns them into finished models of animals, birds, flowers or stars. Learn traditional origami folds, such as the valley fold and the mountain fold, to create models. Traditional origami models include the crane and the lotus flower. The crane begins with a square base that then becomes the bird base. After folding up the tail and head, pull on the wings to open them. Use washi paper, which is handmade and has designs in sparkling colors or even made from gold, to make the models, and hang them from string to make garlands.
Japanese dancers use fans for colorful movement, servers use them to carry gifts, and children carry them on hot days. Make paper fans using traditional washi paper and folding it into an accordion shape. Hold the fan open by gluing bamboo strips to the back and crossing the ends of the bamboo together to make the handle. Tie the handle of the fan using mizuhiki, or a special cord.
Kanzashi are hairpins made from fabric flowers. Each flower is made of individual petals folded by hand. It is a technique traditionally taught by teachers, but today's crafters can make their own version of a kanzashi. Take squares of fabric, and fold them into the petal shape. Each square makes one petal, and each flower has five or more petals. String the petals on thread, and pull the thread through the first flower a second time to make the petals form a circle. Use the flowers to decorate the table, or make large flowers to hang on walls. Glue them to place settings, or string them on mizuhiki for garlands. The type of flower depends on the time of the year. Make cherry blossoms in April and wisteria in May. Each month has a flower.