Star Wars Birthday Party Bits: or foolish flotsam

At long last, the Star Wars party was coming closer and closer.  The big or time intensive projects like the Millennium Falcon, styrofoam fort, Yoda backpacks and Yoda lantern were complete.  I always start with the most complicated  project so I have time if it doesn’t turn out right (I typically plan these parties about 2 months out).  The remaining bits and pieces were not complicated enough to warrant a single post (“I photocopied a Star Wars poster and covered it in clear contact paper to make a laminated placemat.  The end.”), but all the little pieces added to the overall theme, of course.  Here we go — roll call, Star Wars Birthday Party Bits:

Death Star lantern:

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A Yoda green lantern painted gray with details in white and black.  This was supposed to be a pull string piñata but I gave up on that and just bought the real deal.  I wished later I had made the white light details much smaller, but that would have taken a very small paintbrush and many hours.  So I took a deep breath, repeated the “my interpretation” mantra, and was rewarded when Big Brother saw it and immediately asked if he could go look at the “Death Star”.  The kid knows what it is — mission accomplished.

Chewbacca table runner:

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A piece of brown craft paper with a black diagonal stripe and silver details to take up negative space on the table.  It didn’t work quite as well as I wold have liked but it was kind of a minor detail, as the kids did not spend much time at the table.  I toyed with the idea of purchasing some Star Wars fabric and making a runner but I already had the paper and paint, which was a much easier idea and cheaper . . . you do the math.

Poster Placemats

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A wise person once wrote:  “I photocopied a Star Wars poster and covered it in clear contact paper to make a laminated placemat. The end.”  I did take one of the minimalist posters I found online and played around with the color in Power Point using the picture format tools, but otherwise it was pretty straightforward.

Crayons and Notepads

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I had been wanting to try this crayon idea before so I was excited to do this.  I bought a few boxes of cheap crayons in addition to Big Brother’s broken ones, removed the paper, broke the crayon into inch sections, lined a muffin tin with foil cupcake liners, and placed light and dark crayons in each tin to make round crayons.  Based on the color palette of each crayon, I printed some “stickers” of different characters (Mace Windu — purple; Padme — red; Luke — blue; etc).  I wrapped the crayons almost like candy in waxed paper and then glued the “stickers” to each crayon.  If I could do it over again I would not make the crayon look like candy because once the kids opened the goody bags I had to stop one kid in the act of almost biting into his crayon –“It’s not candy!!!!”  That could have been interesting . . .

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I had noticed at Target some dollar Star Wars coloring sheets.  Alas, when it came time to purchase them they had all been replaced with Transformers.  What was a mom to do?  I grabbed some small Mead notebooks, took the black and white accidental photocopies of the poster placemats and cut out the most visually pleasing part to the size of the notebook.  I added a matte of leftover Yoda green card stock and boom — Star Wars notebook, decorated with reusable items.  Paper and crayons, y’all.

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Jawa sand table

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I have two little boys, one who was potty training at the time of the party planning.  That means a lot of butt-wiping.  What in the hell does this have to do with Jawas, you might wonder?  I had a TON of leftover toilet paper tubes.  I knew the sand table was going to be labeled as Tatooine, but other than sand I had nothing to tie it in with the planet.  And so the toilet paper tube Jawa was born.  I figured the kids would enjoy scooping up sand in the tubes or other random imaginative things kids tend to do with toys.  I drew the Jawa eyes first with an orange marker, and then colored around the “face” (the “weirdly slanted Hershey Kiss head”, as my boss called it — thanks Greg) with a black permanent marker.  I painted the rest of the tube with brown acrylic paint I had on hand, and then, because I am a ridiculous person, I varnished the outside since: 1) the paint felt weird; and 2) to provide a second barrier against lingering germs.  You can’t exactly Lysol a cardboard tube.  I then made some R2-D2 and “Red”  droid tubes as well by painting the tubes silver or white first, and then drawing on the details with different colored Sharpies.

Foam Light Sabers

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I had some foam tubes leftover from an aborted attempt to make a chain for the anchor of my cardboard pirate ship (another time, another time).  Although I had read about using pool noodles to make lightsabers, I could not find any cheap enough.  At Home Depot the pipe insulation foam was about 2.50 for 4, so that seemed decent.  I bought some green wrapping paper (I would have preferred a metallic green foil paper, but the All Things Star Wars Craft Store doesn’t exist yet, so I had to make do).  I cut the foam to size using Big Brother as a model, and then wrapped it in green paper, leaving a bit of black at the bottom for the handle.  I made Lil’ Bro a red light saber because: 1) he always says, “I’m Darth Vader!” and 2) he kind of is a troublemaker, maybe a little too in touch with the Dark Side . . .  Easy to say the kids thoroughly enjoyed whaling on just about everything with their sabers relatively harmlessly.    I had the brilliant idea to also wrap the approximately 1 foot sections I had left over from cutting the sabers to size to make miniature sabers to dangle from some fishing wire as a decoration.  Alas I ran out of time on the day of the party but I thought it was an awesome idea.

Jedi Tunics

I bought enough unbleached muslin (6 yards, I think) to make 12 Jedi tunics.  I had a 50% off coupon for the fabric so it was about a dollar a yard.  I cut rectangles 18×40-42 (which is a yard of fabric folded in half along the short edge.  I measured Big Brother’s head first to get an idea of the size of the neck opening and drew a diamond shaped pattern on paper.  Using one rectangle as a sample, I folded it in half and cut a triangle along the fold to form a diamond-shaped neck opening once the rectangle was opened.  I did not bother sewing up the sides, this was just going to go right over their heads every easily.  I had some leftover tan microfiber/suede material which I cut into strips to make a belt.  Next thing you know, 12 padawans runnin’ around.

Dagobah/Mustafar

I made an obstacle course of sorts near the swing set:

  • Green streamers on the swingset to mimic the moss and vines on DagobahDSC01634
  • Milk carton stormtroopers on fishing wire — the troopers never go to Dagobah, but the kids needed something to smack.

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  • I incorporated the lava lake from Mustafar into the obstacle course because I already had a balance beam and just liked the idea.  I bought  a red plastic tablecloth and cut some pieces of cardboard into irregular shapes to mimic cooled lava.  I then spray painted them red, one light coat all over, and then a black rim on the edges.  I was ridiculously pleased with that effect.  I taped the lava rocks to the table cloth so the kids wouldn’t slip if they jumped on one.
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Birthday party sign

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This was the project that makes my husband roll his eyes because there is probably an easier but more expensive way to do this.  Anyway, I have a phobia of downloading things from the computer I don’t understand, thinking I am going to unleash an army of viruses somehow.  So I refused to download a Star Wars font for the sign, I copied and pdf’d the alphabet, blew it up to the size I wanted in Power Point, printed it, cut the letters out, and traced them on the white butcher paper my sons’ daycare so nicely gave me (I only needed 4 feet of paper, not 400!) to say “Happy Birthday” and painted the letters.  I outlined it with yellow and put “Episode VI” at the bottom since he was turning 6.  Although since I am not Roman and I was probably painting this late a night,  I got my numerals mixed up and made him 4.  Oops.  No one noticed, except me about 30 minutes before people showed up.  I briefly considered getting out the paint and fixing it but quite honestly no one gave a crap — I include myself in that category at that point, but it still bugged me all day.  For the crowning touch I found a silhouette of Vader and Luke dueling from the real Episode IV.  Using the same method I used for the words in the sign, I copied, pdf’d, skewed, cut and traced those along with a cool Bespin background, and painted that on the sign as well.  It turned out pretty close to what I imagined.  Except for those damn Roman numerals.  No wonder the Roman Empire collapsed.

Invites — “This is the party you’re looking for”

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In the course of researching this party, I came across a lot of minimalist Star Wars art.  A lot of the parties I saw used a literal reference to the movie images.  The idea of trying to do this gave me nightmares, but using a different but no less evocative take on Star Wars help alleviate some of that pressure, and was unique, too.  I started with the wording first and then tried to find pictures to go along with it.  I could not find a good minimalist picture of Obi Wan, but I took a movie still and used the artistic picture formatting tools in Word (specifically the cutout feature), and managed to make it look minimalist but still referential.

Station signs

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Using the same minimalist art, I created station posters at each of the play areas and used cardboard to make simple easels.

Food

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Here I came up with menu item names, with the exception of Luke Skywater, Ewokamole, (which was not made out of Ewoks) Wookie Cookies, Han Rolos, Trooper Scoopers:

  • Alderaan Applesauce (in pouches.  In fact Big Brother calls them Yoda sauce because they are green and the twist cap kind of looks like Yoda’s ears)
  • DagobahDrumsticks — found them on sale, roasted them the day before and nuked ’em on the day of the party — I hate turning on the oven and making the house hot since everyone ends up in the kitchen
  • Bespin Black Beans — made the day before and heated in the crockpot
  • Corusant Cornbread — cheap, easy to make, made it that morning
  • Salacious Salsa
  • Trooper Scoopers
  • Ewokamole
  • Han Rolos and Wookie Cookies

Cupcakes

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I really wanted to do something creative but relatively easy.  I came up with a Chewbacca cupcake — again, that bandolier is so easy.  I used the old frosting in a sandwich bag trick, made a few practive pipes to get the frosting to lay flat.  Instead of cutting off the corner at an angle like I usually do, I cut a slit along the seam of the bag, and laid my hand sideways to get a flat strip of frosting to look like a bandolier.  Then I piped some white bullets or whatever those are across the front.  To be honest, not everyone knew what the cupcakes were, and at the right angle it could be mistaken for a football, but I liked them.

I did make Geoffrey a small cake with the leftover batter.  After watching Cake Boss so many years I actually managed to pipe a decent edging on the cake — this was my first time trying that!  I cut out the cardboard Star Wars logo from a shoebox, glued waxed paper to the back of it, and placed it on the cake.

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Decorations —

Other than streamers, I didn’t do much decoration in the house since I had the Yoda lanterns and the Death Star Lantern, which I hung over the table, plus a freaking Millennium Falcon and snow fort in the backyard.  I also hung a sign on the front door of 3-PO and Jabba that said, “The illustrious Jabba bids you welcome” and also hung signs on the kids’ bedroom and my bedroom that said “Restricted Area — No Padawans”

Pinata

Pullstring piñata with candy, raisins, and bracelets made from what appeared to be curly telephone cord.  Whatever, they were a dollar for 4 at Target and the kids were like jackals when that piñata came open.

Death Star Ball Toss/Cornhole

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This poor ball toss has been through 4 incarnations — candy corn, Mickey Mouse, Batman, and now Star Wars.  I wanted to make the exhaust port that the Rebels try to hit with their proton torpedos.   Taking a large rectangle of cardboard, I cut a piece of butcher paper to size over an existing hole in the box which would be the exhaust port, and cut out a hexagon for the exhaust port.  Other than painting the trench and the exhaust port specifically, I randomly painted geometric figures on the paper, referring to a close up of the Death Star for inspiration.  I taped the paper to the front of the box.  The cardboard was folded in an L shape and propped in the grass.  I crumpled packing paper from an aborted “We have to sell this house because there’s a bat in the spare bedroom (true story)” attempt into balls, and secured them with clear packing tape to mimic proton torpedos.  The adults played with this as much if not more than the kids.

The party was a great success — the kids seemed like they had a great time, even though I kicked all the kids out in the backyard and put all the toy boxes in our bedroom because invariably the kids pull out every toy in the living room.   My mama didn’t raise no fool.

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