The Millennium Foolcon, or how to turn a wading pool into the Millennium Falcon

It was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away when my son finally asked me to plan a Star Wars birthday party.  I’d been waiting for this day since he was born.  My elation was short-lived as the reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks.  This was Star Wars, perhaps the most iconic movie in cinematic history.  The imagery and details alone made my little perfectionist soul want to curl up in the fetal position.  I could spend a year and hundreds of dollars and still not be satisfied.  Frugality took over — you’re not spending hundreds of dollars, girl.  Then I sucked it up — I had spent my life watching Star Wars to be prepared for this moment — I couldn’t let George Lucas down.  And I told myself what would become my mantra — this is my interpretation of Star Wars, it’s okay if it’s not perfect.  That helped me let go of a lot of imperfections.

Prior to this moment, I had planned a very successful pirate party for my younger son, complete with cardboard box pirate ships which were a big hit (more on this in another post).  I felt that Big Brother deserved no less (sibling rivalry must be kept at bay at all costs).  But what?  An X-wing fighter?  A Death Star?  How the hell was I going to build “it”?  Where was I going to keep “it” whatever it was?   I was leaning toward the Falcon but I could not find anything online to tell me how to make it!  I had bought a wading pool for the pirate party — maybe I could use it as the basis for my Millennium Falcon.  I wanted something a lot of kids could do free play in because experience has taught me don’t try to do anything organized with kids — just set the toys out and turn ’em loose.  Here is my supply list:

  1. 1 wading pool
  2. 1 tarp
  3. 2 small packing boxes and 1 med-large packing box
  4. 1 medium or large packing box
  5. A leftover wardrobe box (or a similar large appliance type box)
  6. Duct tape (or other strong tape)
  7. gray paint
  8. electrical outlet covers
  9. frisbees
  10. construction paper

The only things I had to purchase were the tarp, the electrical covers, and the frisbees — the tarp I justified by telling myself my dad or husband would use it.  I wanted to paint an existing canvas drop cloth but discarded that idea.  Good Lord in this whole process I splurged on a tarp of all things.  There is something wrong with me.

I inflated the pool to get a sense of the measurements.  I flattened the large packing box by cutting up one side and formed it in a rough C shape around the pool to form a dashboard that hooked over the side.  I cut off the top flaps of the dashboard part to fit better over the pool, and left the flaps on the bottom to fit under the pool.  I glued the two small boxes to the middle of the C shape to form the two points of the Falcon.  I hooked it back over the pool and measured the length of the outside corner of one small box to the edge of the pool.  I cut two rectangles of wardrobe box to length and duct taped them to the front of each small box.  I used the shape of the small box and rectangular side to trace and cut a semi triangular shape to go over the top of the small boxes and meet with the top of the pool.

Millenium Falcon


I had to cut a few extra pieces of cardboard to get things flush, but I kept checking the shape and fit against the wading pool and finally got an outline that looked pretty close to the Falcon.  It gave me a lot of joy to say casually to my co-workers, “So I was working on the Falcon again this weekend with my hydrospanner . . .” Those who knew the movie laughed, and those who didn’t just gave me the confused look I am often presented with when my colleagues think I’m being weird.

Next came the painting, which was pretty easy, and then testing out the prototype against the pool again with the tarp to make sure my idea was going to work.

Painted Falcon  Falcon

Once everything checked out I trimmed a little off the tops to make it curve to the shape of the pool, and I started adding the details with flat gray paint and red paint.  I know the Falcon doesn’t have red circles but I had red paint on hand, so that’s where the “my interpretation” mantra came into play.  I Googled some radar-type graphics from Star Wars and printed them, spray painted the frisbees black (thanks Dad for the spray paint), asked my husband to drill a hole in them (thanks Pookie for the power tools) and used those brads you used in 2nd grade to make dials on a clock or other rotating things to make kind of a steering wheel radar control the kids could pretend with.  i also spray painted the electrical covers silver and added red and blue construction paper to the back to mimic navigation buttons.  I used craft foam to make a keyboard to enter light speed coordinates.  I glued these to the dashboard and here is the finished product:

Final Falcon

Falcon dashboard

The pool was a a little under inflated, but the kids didn’t mind.  At some point each one ended up flying the Falcon, and after the piñata they all somehow ended up in the pool for an impromptu sugar-fest.

So that’s my fool’s quest for a Millennium Falcon wading pool.  All in all it turned out close to how I wanted it.  My next fool’s errand that I shall share is the Hoth Echo Base “snow” fortress.  Yeah that’s right.  I built a snow fort.  This is why my husband thinks I am a craftin’ fool.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathyann
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 12:26:31


    You have exceeded my challenge! I can’t believe what you were able to do with my trash. Amazing! What’s next?




    • Melody
      Aug 15, 2014 @ 23:00:42

      You know what they say, one colleague’s trash is another one’s snow fortress. My 40th birthday is next but I don’t think it will be to this kind of scale — an artist needs a break! And of course there’s Halloween and Christmas in between, plenty of room for creativity there . . .



  2. Trackback: Building a styrofoam fort: or, foolishly accepting Kathyann’s challenge | The Craftin' Fool
  3. Trackback: Star Wars Birthday Party Bits: or foolish flotsam | The Craftin' Fool
  4. Trackback: Pirate Birthday Party; or, thar be no fool’s gold here, only doubloons — savvy? | The Craftin' Fool

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