Your baby's first birthday party can be stressful enough without worrying about the logistics and expense of the centerpieces. Use simple techniques and inexpensive supplies such as gift bags, tulle scraps, balloons, picture frames and torn tissue paper to create edible, colorful or souvenir-worthy party decor that sets the tone for a memorable party. You might even give your centerpiece a dual responsibility by serving it up later as the birthday cake.
Turn a first birthday cake into an edible centerpiece by using a specialty cake pan that resembles a huge cupcake. Bake the cake according to the package directions and use a large piping bag and pastry tip to frost it with a 1/2-inch diameter bead of frosting in a spiral design. Add sprinkles. Gently place a purchased candle shaped like the number 1 at the top. Push wooden skewers into the bottoms of assorted cake balls, bon bons or other soft candy, and poke them into the giant cupcake in a festive array.
Display a giant number 1 to mark your baby's milestone. Purchase a large papier mache number and use torn tissue paper and decoupage medium to decorate it. Allow your creation to dry thoroughly and then seal it with several coats of spray varnish. Wire or glue your large number one to the front of a thin, cylindrical vase filled with fresh flowers and birthday picks.
Take a picture of baby as she nears her first birthday, and blow it up into an 8-inch by 10-inch print. Add a colorful mat and frame. Use hot glue and embellishments to decorate the frame -- pastel or primary-colored buttons, tiny pompoms and a larger ceramic or plastic version of the number 1. Stand your creation up in the center of the birthday girl's table, and scatter confetti and colorful candies around it.
Wire colorful pieces of tulle onto wooden skewers and poke the ends into a piece of floral foam. Set the foam down inside a pretty gift box, gift bag or basket so the tulle explodes out the top. Tie three staggered balloons to a weight and nestle the weight down inside the container. Glue or tape a number 1 emblem to a skewer, and stick the bottom into the foam in the exact middle of the centerpiece. Scatter confetti around your balloon and tulle creation.