Monday, November 17, 2014

A Minecraft Birthday

I've been fighting the idea of this party for years now. I didn't want to completely encourage Builder Boy's obsession with a video game. But it's been almost three years now; it was time.

I started making things for this birthday party four days before the party; I should have started a week before. Learn from my mistakes! I'd been planning this party for a few months now, and I have a blog with all the ideas I saved; we didn't use them all.

Follow Mrs.'s board Minecraft Brithday Party on Pinterest.

Decorations I kept very simple: a portal front door, Minecraft glass windows, and a green plastic table cloth.

The front door I turned into a portal from the game by putting a purple rectangular plastic table cloth over the door and tapped black construction paper together around the door for the obsidian blocks. I thought about cutting the tablecloth into streamers and taping it like this mom did, but realized that with the fall winds we've been having, that wouldn't look as good.

For the windows I used white masking tape I got at the dollar store. I cut six square pieces of tape to make each diagonal line on the window. (I got the idea from this blog.)

 I also got all the green plates, cups, napkins, and table cloth at the dollar store. Neither the dollar store nor Wal-mart had square plates, and Builder Boy was content with round, "slime ball" plates.

Food was just pizza, carrots, pretzel sticks, root beer, and creeper cup cakes.

The carrots and pretzel sticks signs were a Pinterest idea. You can get free Minecraft party printables here. They didn't have stick cards, so I improvised with online images.  Builder Boy also wanted watermelon, but it's November.

The Creeper Cupcakes were a box chocolate cake in green camouflage paper cupcake holders. The frosting was a simple butter cream frosting, dyed green with a LOT of food coloring. I added some green sugar sprinkles that I had to make a pixelated look. Then I made the face with black icing I bought at the store. I found the end result was better when I started with the nose, built the rest of the mouth off of that, and did the eyes last.

I had bought green cups to draw creeper faces on them, but I ran out of time and inclination to make any more creeper faces.

Games: this is where I spent most of my prep time on. We played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Pig, and a game I made up called "Creeping Creeper."

For Pin the Tail on the Piggie I made a pink construction paper pig (inspiration found here.)

I made the eyes much too big, and it looked weird. The boys didn't care and loved it.

For a blindfold we used a Steve head mask, but I didn't cut out the eyes so it would prevent them from seeing. I figured once the party was over I could cut the eyes out and the boys would have a Steve mask to play with. I printed it out, put it together, and used contact paper to laminate it for strength and durability.

Our other game was "Creeping Creeper." The idea was on child would be Steve and wear the Steve mask (therefore being blind.) The rest of the children pretended to be creepers and and try to sneak around "Steve" and tag him. If a creeper tagged Steve, that child became Steve. But if Steve heard him coming and tagged the creeper with his sword, he was out until the next round/next Steve.

I had a quiet, stealth game intended. Silly me; eight years a mother of a boy, and I didn't realize what a melee it would turn into. But the kids had fun, and that's what mattered.

Something that helped get in the play mindset, but is not necessary to play Creeping Creeper, was the creeper shirts and the Minecraft swords I made as our party favors.

The shirts were really easy to make, and not even that expensive. I picked up the shirts for $3.50/each (Jo-Ann's Fabric was having a sale) and this time I bought black fabric paint instead of using the usual acrylic paints. Wow, am I glad I did! It looked really good, and only took one layer of paint! I printed out the template for free from here and put a sheet of wax paper over it. I traced the pattern on the wax paper, cut it out, and used it as a stencil for all six shirts. I used a paint sponge brush and it took very little time and the result looked very good! (The technique idea came from this blog.) After they had dried for a while I went back and filled in a few spots that I had missed, but that's it. Less three minutes per shirt!

The swords, on the other hand, took an hour each; which I did not know would take that long. That's how I ended up staying awake until 2am the night before the party. If you are going to make these swords for guests, plan ahead; far ahead. I printed out the pieces from here. I made two iron Minecraft swords, two gold swords, and two diamond swords. But instead of printing out all the pieces and making it hollow, I used this idea and glued the sides on the poster board foam things found in the school section of Wal-mart. But I also added the extra element of contact paper on the printout for extra durability. At least, that was the intention. It worked; they boys played with them for hours and the paper didn't rip. The foam, however, gave out pretty early. So our guest took home cool looking.....wall decorations. Though their mom did say she would re-enforce it somehow for some extra play time. So if you're going to pour an hour's worth of work into making these, keep this in mind, and consider using something else. The weak point seemed to be the handle under the hilt; that's where the foam bent.

I also attempted to make a flickering torch (idea found here.) I printed the torch template out, laminated it (for durability) and then put it together. But the dollar store tea lights I bought for it were so weak that the light barely shined through. I tried again with just paper, but the light still wasn't distinguishable. Maybe this would work with a more expensive craft store version; but it didn't work with the dollar store light.

There are a lot of awesome Minecraft party ideas out there; many much more elaborate than ours. I went for cheap and (mostly) easy. I tried to pick a few things that would add the most impact, and I think I accomplished that. The boys and their guests sure thought it was awesome!

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