Yoda Lantern & Yoda backpack: or, no fool, Yoda is

double yoda

It’s been a while since my last post.  Not for lack of ideas but for all that parenting and working stuff that pays the bills and keeps my children from ending up in jail when they turn 18.  For Big Brother’s Star Wars birthday party, I tried to incorporate as many Star Wars elements and characters as possible.  Let’s face it, for a character that has been both a puppet and a CGI image but never real, there just is no Star Wars without Yoda’s little lovable green self.  I embarked on two Yoda-based projects, a Yoda backpack for the kids and Yoda lanterns.

Yoda Lantern

The Yoda lantern came about from a somewhat misdirected attempt to make a Death Star lantern.  I could not find any gray paper globe lanterns at the party store, but I did find bright Yoda green.  I mean how could I not make a Yoda lantern when a bright green globe was shoved in my face?  I decided, befitting my mantra of “my interpretation” of Star Wars I would not even attempt to draw or paint his face — I knew I would not be successful and Yoda would look really creepy.   I decided to go with a silhouette instead.

Yoda lantern materials:

  • round green paper lantern
  • green cardstock

I free-handed a Yoda ear pattern with a little tab at the part that would connect with the lantern.  On the card stock, I traced 4 ears (well really 8 because I made two lanterns but I’m sure if you’re reading this you passed long division in 3rd grade).

yoda ear tag

After I cut them out, I taped two together at the tip of the ear.  I then folded the tab of each ear so that they nested inside each other to make a vaguely triangular shape and secured it with tape.

Yoda triangle

I did this for each ear and then realized I had hit a snag.  The lantern was curved but the base of the ear was not.  I couldn’t figure out how to get the ear to be flush against the globe.  Yeah, I barely passed geometry.  I still can’t figure it out.  Now had Yoda’s head been square this would not be a problem.  Unfortunately, George Lucas did not take my birthday planning needs into account 35 years ago.  I wouldn’t be able to hot glue the ear to the lantern as I intended, I’d have to tape them.  I ran a piece of tape down the middle of the ear tab with a little overlap off the ends and taped it to the lantern.  And then it fell off.


So I had to secure the tape with more tape.  It was getting ridiculous, redundant and precarious but now the battle was enjoined.  It was . . . “do or do not” time.  So basically I taped the hell out of it and made it stick.  Dare I say I held it on with the Force?

yoda 2

I ended up hanging them from the entry way light so Yoda could say to arriving guests “When 900 pieces of tape you need, look as good you will not, hmmm?”

double yoda


Yoda Backpacks

After surviving the lantern debacle, I moved on to the goody bags.  I don’t remember how I got to this idea, because my original and much simpler idea was to add a strip of black paper with silver rectangles painted on to the front of a brown paper bag to look like Chewbacca’s bandolier.  Simple, modern, and cheap.  I did end up using this idea for some of the kids who were not able to come to the party.

chewbacca bag

Somehow in the course of researching this party I came across the idea of having the kids run in the yard with a backpack and stuffed Yoda on their back through an obstacle course.  I briefly and insanely considered making backpacks from muslin with a 2D Yoda and then came to my senses (“you can’t draw Yoda’s face, girl!”).  I saw this post  on how to make a backpack from a paper bag.  With a little rumination at my desk (I made like George Costanza and rubbed my furrowed brow like I was doing something work-related that was really hard) I modified the design of the backpack to make it work.

Yoda Paper Bag Backpack Materials:

  • brown craft paper for the straps
  • paper shopping bag (1-2 per backpack if you do not have brown craft paper)
  • Ivory, cream or manila card stock
  • Yoda green card stock
  • Any free printable Yoda mask cutout

The original design includes cutting parts of the bag, which did not work for me.  Instead, using Big Brother as a model, I folded in the top inside of the bag to make it the right size and give the backpack a nice smooth edge.  If you do not have a roll of heavy duty brown paper (at one time my husband bought this at Home Depot for a project and I have since taken it over so technically this did not cost me anything), you can cut the top of the bag and save the scraps for the straps instead.  The paper bag has a natural fold from when it is laid flat.  I simply stapled the bottom edge of the bag to the back edge of the bag to make kind of an accordion-folder type backpack.


I cut two 2.5 inch strips of the heavy duty paper, which was the same weight as the paper bag, and folded the edges inward to make a 1 inch wide strip with finished edges.  I ended up having to tape the folds down on the inside for a smoother strap.  I doubled folded each end of the strap approximately half an inch for greater durability.  Using Big Brother’s real backpack as a model, I stapled the top of the straps more towards the center top of the backpack, and angled the ends toward the outside of the backpack  This seemed to make the backpack hang more naturally then two parallel straps.

Now for His Greeness.  I scrounged around at work and found some old manila folders that were waiting to be recycled.  I made a pattern of basically a torso and some arms (no hands) and cut that out on the manila folder.  I printed out the Yoda mask, decided the blank eye holes were extremely creepy, and then –sigh– hand colored in irises and pupils so I could sleep at night without worrying about an army of dead-eyed decapitated Yoda zombie heads using the Force to come down the hall and levitate me out of my bed.  Yeah, that’s where my brain goes sometimes.  I could not fit both Yoda’s head and body onto one folder (darn ears) so I had to cut out a backing for his head separately at an angle.  I glued the Yoda head to the backing, and then glued the head to the torso cutout.

I created a pattern for Yoda’s hands with a little “wrist” or tab so it could be glued to the end of the manila sleeve, thanked George that he only had three fingers, and cursed George because of Yoda’s nails which I would have liked to have replicated but had to fall back on the “my interpretation” mantra and let that detail go.  I traced the hand pattern on green card stock — I would recommend printing the Yoda face first and then trying to match that color to the available card stock, which I found out the hard way.   I glued the Yoda figure to the backpack  and bam  there were a bunch of Lukes running around with Yoda on their backs.


Now keep in mind, these ended up being humongous goody bags.  I would have liked to have done this with a lunch bag, but they were too delicate and kind of too small for a backpack.  I handed these out at the time we broke open the piñata, and called them goody bags but there was not enough candy to warrant the size of the bag.  However, when it was filled with the Jedi tunics, crayons, notebooks, and the lightsabers that survived the afternoon, it seemed  little more proportional.   On the back of Yoda’s head I wrote “Grateful I am that came you did” so that also covered the thank you note I never send out.  When the parents started giggling and whipping out their cameras to take pictures of the kids with the backpacks, I knew I had done something right and felt — you guessed it, foolishly happy.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathyann
    Aug 22, 2014 @ 09:55:44

    I totally loved the Yoda Lantern. Again, this is so creative.

    I can’t wait for you to get some birthday gigs where you can go wild with this!


    Liked by 1 person


  2. Melody
    Aug 22, 2014 @ 17:24:05

    Thanks Sunshine — I’m looking forward to posting something girly and pretty, which is hard when you have boys 🙂



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