Oh, Internet, how I have missed thee. Between my kids’ hectic schedules, three ear infections, potty training, and a nagging head cold, we just haven’t had enough time for each other. But don’t worry… I’ve still been making awesome stuff that I can’t wait to share with you!
Two weeks ago we hosted Everett’s Mario Kart birthday party! This year’s theme yielded some fun and crowd pleasing crafting. Nintendo is one of those companies that doesn’t put out as much birthday party merchandise as a Disney-type company, so you’ve got to get creative to flesh out decorations and games.
First up, simple treat bags that look like Mario and Luigi’s hats. I made these with nothing but white sticker paper and my Silhouette cutting machine… and of course, lunch bags. They took a whole twenty minutes to make. Surprisingly, no one out there seemed to have a tutorial for this method which can be used on party hats and so much more!
I am fairly new to my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, so don’t expect anything mind-blowing here. LOL. First, buy the bag, box or hat you want to adhere these stickers to, that way you can scale the round logo appropriately. (There’s nothing worse than cutting everything out and then kicking yourself for NOT measuring!)
I used standard size lunch bags that I bought at Walmart in the giftwrap aisle (5 ¼”w x 10”h). They’re made by Hallmark and are 3/$1. You can buy cheaper bags at the party store, but they are also cheaply made and can’t hold the weight these did, so I’m standing by the pricier bag. Next I bought some Silhouette brand “White Printable Sticker Paper” at Michaels. Of course, you can use any old brand you come across. (Avery sells sheets of plain full page white sticker paper in the office supply section at Walmart.)
I decided on 3 ½” circles for the logo stickers. If you’ve never drawn a circle in Silhouette before, you can keep it perfectly round by holding down shift while pulling it to 3 ½”. Duplicate it to the right. Now for that perfect font to match The Mario Brothers’ hats. I looked at EVERY SINGLE font in the Silhouette store and “JW Space Alphabet” was the winner. I used 200 pt. font size. Make an “M” in one circle and an “L” in the other. Group them by selecting both the letters and circles with your mouse while holding shift, then right click and select “group.” Last, just “duplicate below” twice. Done! Cut setting is blade level two. Line it up on your mat and cut. Boom! You just customized these so fast you’re laughing!
If you’re doing paper party hats, use the same stickers! And of course, if you want to get fancy, you can always buy red and green foam visors at the craft store and cut these logos out of white craft foam and hot glue them on!
I’d also like to point out that you can use these stickers on plain red or green note cards to make matching thank you notes.
The possibilities are endless!!!
Second DIY for this party: Super Star balloons. Our party store (yes there’s only one in our city) doesn’t carry ANY Nintendo merchandise, so we customized some plain gold foil star balloons. I purchased a roll of ¾” black duct tape to make the stars eyes. (Same size as electrical tape if you can’t find this) Cut two pieces 3 1/2” to 4” long, stick them on and voila! You’ve got legit Mario star power! For minimal effort, you’ll earn big party points with these!
Third, we decided on an alternative to your average piñata – piñata balloons! Its winter in Colorado right now, so we couldn’t go outside to hit piñata with a bat (it snowed before, during, and after his big day). Balloons are better for an indoor party, plus it gives a nod to Mario Kart balloon battles! 5-year-olds think popping balloons is fun and challenging… and they fight less if they know the balloon they’re holding guarantees they get their own candy.
Of course, getting candy inside a balloon is easier said than done, so I devised this method. Grab a sturdy tube from around the house with an opening about 1 ½” in diameter. I used a vacuum attachment which I rinsed out and dried before use.
Select candy that will not only fit in the tube but will also fit nicely into an uninflated balloon… think Rolos, Starburst, wrapped gumballs, Jolly Ranchers, stuff like that. You’re only going to be able to fit about 6 pieces inside, so choose wisely. Pull the entire neck of the balloon over the tube so that the candy drops directly into the wide part of the latex balloon and doesn’t get stuck. Send the candies down the tube one at a time so you don’t clog the tube. Last, just remove the balloon from the tube being careful not to let anything pop out and then just blow it up as usual. You can do these up to two days in advance without losing air. I stored mine in a few large black trash bags from the garage.
To be sure that everyone has fun and we don’t traumatize anybody, warn anyone who doesn’t like the sound of popping balloons to leave room before beginning. It’s also a good idea to have some thumb tacks on hand for grownups to help any child who is struggling. This was a HUGE hit at the party! The kids enjoyed it simply because it was different.
Last, but certainly not least, homemade Pin the Mustache on Mario and Piranha Plant Bean Bag Toss games.
These were easy to make and SOOOOO fun for the kids. I started with a big furniture box we had in the garage. I cut out two 29”wide by 32” high rectangles with a serrated knife and found images of Mario and the Piranha Plant that I felt were simplest to recreate.
Here are the links:
To minimize your stress level when free-handing these, use white chalk to start. You can erase any markings with a Kleenex and avoid layers of confusing lines on your cardboard. Once you’ve got a good outline, trace it with a black sharpie so they have staying power.
You’ll only need a few bottles of acrylic craft paint to fill these in. For Mario: red, black, blue, brown, flesh tone, white and whatever color you want for the background (I used green). For the Piranha Plant: red, white, green, and the background color (blue on mine). With a sponge brush and a small paint brush for the tight spaces, fill in your outline with paint all the way to the lines. Last, come back with a chisel tip marker (I like the narrow side of a Marks-a-lot permanent marker) to outline everything and clean up the paint lines. For your Piranha Plant, cut out a hole in the middle of its mouth approximately 9” wide. Use a serrated knife for maximum control. (A bowl or plate can be helpful here).
I fastened Mario to the wall with some push pins and bought a set of mustache stickers at Hobby Lobby for $1.99. That’s it! For the plant, I got a “tri-fold presentation board” for $2.99 whilst at the Hobby Lobby. When I got home, I cut it in half and hot glued the pieces to the back of my painting. These sturdy sides fold up easily for storage and provide great stability while the kids play. I didn’t go out and buy any bean bags, I just picked out a set of my kids toys for the task, specifically, their indoor snowballs. They’re lightweight and don’t hurt anyone if a ball hits somebody.
When the children completed each game, they got a prize! Gold chocolate coins, and Mario Kart stickers and some cool Nintendo Wii tins filled with gumballs. Prizes encourage participation, plus, it gets kids excited about those favors you put so much thought into!
Here’s a list of additional decorations I bought to complete this party theme:
Birthday banner from Hobby Lobby and the closest match I could find to Mario Brothers’ lettering: $4
Two checkered flag pendants also from Hobby Lobby: $4 each
One large checkered flag from Party America: $.99
Two removable wall sticker sets from Party Bell:
http://www.partybell.com/p-33507-mario-kart-wii-removable-wall-decorations.aspx ($10.43 and reusable after the party for Everett’s bedroom décor)
http://www.partybell.com/p-33627-mario-kart-wii-luigi-giant-wall-decal.aspx ($32.54 These are giant! Everett got the Luigi from his room and we gave the rest of the set away after the party. You can also buy sets starring Princess Peach, Mario, Toad or other characters)
Sheets of 6 stickers which I cut in half to give each kid 3: http://www.partybell.com/p-33503-mario-kart-wii-sticker-sheets.aspx ($1.21 for 4 sheets)
Wii Remote Gumball Tins: http://www.partybell.com/p-21120-mario-kart-wii-remote-gum-tin.aspx ($22.17 for 8 tins, that’s $2.77 per person. This was our splurge item!)
Chocolate Coins from Target: $1 for 8.