Sunday, August 25, 2013

Minecraft 8th Birthday Party

My son just turned eight and wanted a Minecraft-themed party.  There are plenty of great ideas out there on the internet.  Here's what we ended up doing.

Minecraft papercraft -- We used free printable templates found at  My boys chose several things they wanted to make, I printed them out on white cardstock and they went to town cutting and assembling. They made this lovely Minecraft display for the party all by themselves!

Birthday Banner -- I cut 3-inch squares out of kraft cardstock as the base, punched holes in the corners and strung brown ribbon through the holes. (For a few of the blocks, I used dark brown and green cardstock instead of the kraft just to keep things interesting.)  I found a "grass block" image online and used Photoshop Elements to create one 2x2 block for each letter I wanted for the banner.  The font for the letters is a free download on  Type the letters on the grass block, print them out, cut them out, and glue on the cardstock squares.

Torches -- I used a Minecraft wall torch template that I found here. I resized it for 8 1/2 x 11 paper and printed out two of them.  Once they were cut out, folded and assembled, I stuck them to the wall using straight pins and tape.  I crumpled up some yellow tissue paper to stick in the top of the torches to make them look more like they were on fire.

Pixelated Window -- My husband drew on the window with window markers to make them look like the glass you use in your Minecraft houses.  He also drew a creeper and a zombie face as well as a few blocks.

Steve and Zombie heads -- one of the talented guys in our youth group at church was Minecraft Steve for Halloween.  He let us borrow his costume for Steve and a Zombie made out of cardboard and paint.  (These became part of a game later!)

Food:  The world of Minecraft includes food so I decided our party menu should include things available in the game.

We served carrots, watermelon, apples, chicken (nuggets), and potatoes (french fries). To drink we had water bottles and "creeper juice".

The Choose Awesome blog has a fabulous blog post about hosting an epic Minecraft party.  The blog made my life so easy because she posted many of the free printables that I used for our party.

The "creeper juice" was some kind of sour warhead green drink that I saw on sale.  I used the water bottle labels from the Choose Awesome blog post and then modified them a bit to make the creeper juice labels.  The boys at the party were very excited about the creeper juice.

We had several crafts and activities planned for the party.  As the guests arrived they got to craft their own chest.  We provided brown paper lunch sacks and pictures of various Minecraft characters.  (Again, I printed the images from the Choose Awesome blog.)  They glued the images on their bags.  These became the party favor bags: I added some square candies (Starburst, Now and Later, Nerds) and the guests put all the things they made at the party into their bags.

The guests could also make a torch like the ones I made to hang next to the banner.  I gave them each a glow stick to put inside their torches, too.

Later, they could make a Minecraft pickaxe.  I found an image here of a diamond pickaxe and had several copies printed out for the guests.  The guests cut out the images and glued them on to cardboard axes we had cut out ahead of time.  Because cutting the cardboard (or foam board) required an X-acto knife, we did that job prior to the party so the kids wouldn't endanger any of their fingers.

Surprisingly more popular than the pickaxes were the perler beads.  Perler beads and Minecraft go together so well because they both have that pixelated look.  I had printed out a few examples of things other people had made out of these beads (thank you, internet), and let the kids use their imagination.  Here are a couple things my niece made.  Aren't they cute?

In between the crafting sessions, we had a game for the kids to play.  First, we had scattered some "diamonds" and "ore" around the yard (vase fillers from the dollar bins at Michael's).  The two teams had to gather up all their diamonds/ore and stash them in little square boxes (dollar spot at Target).  Later those boxes filled with treasure became each team's "flag" in a game of capture the flag.  To spice up that game a little, my husband and I dressed up as Steve and the Zombie and ran around trying to tag the kids.

Here's my niece in the Steve costume after I got too hot.

When it was time for cake, we had one more game for the kids.  In the game of Minecraft, you have to collect eggs, milk, sugar and wheat to "craft" a cake.  We made them find all those ingredients hidden in Easter eggs in the yard before they could have cake.

I made a square cake to look like the ones on Minecraft.

Happy birthday to my sweet eight-year-old.  May creepers never explode your house.

Edited to add .jpg files for the cake crafting activity:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Make Your Own Hunger Games T-shirt

I had this t-shirt from Old Navy and I decided to give it a little Hunger Games makeover.  The shirt already said "LOVE" but I wanted it to say "LOVE changed the game" with a mockingjay.

I ran a piece of dark t-shirt transfer paper through my cricut machine and cut out all the letters I needed. When you iron the letters on the shirt, they just remain white.  If you wanted a different color letters (or if you don't have a cricut) you could use your computer to print the letters onto the transfer paper and cut them out with a scissors.

For the mockingjay, I found the image online and printed it on regular paper first.  Then I taped a strip of dark t-shirt transfer paper over the printed picture and ran it through the printer again.  That way, I didn't have to mess up a whole sheet of transfer paper for my little one-inch image.

Once you get everything cut out, you just line it up where you want it on the shirt, and follow the directions for your t-shirt transfers to iron it on.

Then you can wear your new t-shirt!

Who's excited for the Catching Fire movie coming out this fall? This girl!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Easy Brave Party Food

My mother-in-law let the boys pick her birthday party theme this year and they went with Brave.  So I put together a relatively simple menu and gave each dish a Brave-themed title.

For the cake, I baked round cakes and frosted them to look like Merida's archery targets.

I used a couple bamboo skewers and some cardstock to make "arrows" to stick in the bullseye.

It came together pretty quickly and was eaten quickly, too!