Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Have a BLAST with a DIY Minecraft party!

My oldest son, Tristan, recently turned 8 (!!!). His choice for party theme this year was Minecraft, which I knew he would pick and I was probably more excited about than he was. If you're unfamiliar with the game, which can be played on XBox, PS3 and PC, I call it "virtual lego". You can build almost anything your heart desires, as well as mine for gold and diamonds. There are some "bad guys" but as far as video games go, they're fairly tame and the game is not gory at all.
I'll start with the invites.
I googled a few Minecraft pictures, downloaded the Minecraft font from here and used a program on my computer called PrintProjects to put everything together. I then printed everything on standard printer paper, cut each section out, and glued them onto green construction paper, which was then glued onto a slightly bigger rectangle of black construction paper.
Onto my favorite part: Décor!
I thought it would be a cool idea to make some real life Minecraft blocks for the kids to build with. Turns out, I was right, and the kids had a blast (heh, I'm so punny) building towers and forts, and pretending to be creepers and blow them up. The blocks were time consuming, but super simple. Just sturdy cardboard boxes painted with brown and green paint. I could have made them look pixel-ly like in the game, but I wanted to save a little time and the kids didn't even notice.
For the torches, I unfolded two cereal boxes and cut them to the size I wanted, leaving the flaps on. Then I folded them into the shape you see above, stuffed them with crumpled newspaper to make them a little sturdier, and taped them together. I covered them with paper and painted them as you see in the picture. All together, the blocks and torches took me about 8 hours from start to finish.
The rest of the décor was comprised of balloons, streamers, and paper.
For the spiders, I used black balloons and 4 long pieces of black streamer that I taped to the balloon in the middle to look like legs. I colored two squares of paper red and taped those onto the large end of the balloon (I would have used construction paper but I had no red and didn't want to make yet another trip to the dollar store) and tacked the whole thing to the ceiling, using tape for the ends of the legs.
The creeper balloons are just green balloons with a creeper face drawn on with sharpie marker. Easy peasy.
My Enderman! Same concept as the spiders. Black balloon, purple rectangles (again, I had to color these because I had no purple construction paper) and streamers for his arms and legs.
I got so many compliments on the goody bags. I sharpied creeper faces onto plain green paper bags from Party Max. The candy all represents items found in Minecraft:
Gold = Butterscotch candy
Diamonds = Clear mints
Melon = Gummy watermelon
Rocks = Chocolate covered raisins
Redstone = Sour cherry balls
Fish = Gummy fish
The kids really enjoyed being able to choose what they wanted to take home!
(The labels were not finished in this picture, but my daughter just wrote the names on squares of paper. I wanted to make signs with the actual Minecraft pictures of the items, but I forgot to email them to my husband so alas, it didn't happen. No one cared except me!)
Some more Minecraft snacks. Cookies, TNT (Twizzlers cut in half and wrapped with paper that I sharpied TNT onto), pretzel "Sticks", watermelon, and cracker "Fish". There's also a veggie tray just out of view because I wanted to get at least some healthy food in there somewhere. Our main course was pizza cut into squares (everything is square in Minecraft), pasta salad, potato salad (there are potatoes in Minecraft too!), and devilled eggs (eggs are also found in Minecraft, so I'm told).
The Brewing Station. Again, I wanted to make an official Minecraft sign and potion chart for this, but see reason above for the lack of it. I taped construction paper creeper labels around the water bottles, and made Kool-Aid syrup that I then poured into labelled squeeze bottles. The kids had a blast experimenting with different flavor combinations. The recipe for the syrups is as follows:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
1 pack Kool-Aid (I used cherry, strawberry, tropical, lemon-lime, and grape)
In a medium pot, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil.
Boil for one minute, stir in Kool-Aid powder, and remove from heat.
Pour into heat-safe container and allow to cool. Once cool, pour into squeeze bottles.
The recipe made enough to fill each bottle twice for me. Depending on the size of bottles you use, you could end up with more or less.
And finally, my masterpiece! Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, topped with marshmallow fondant and the red squares are fruit by the foot cut to size and stuck on by moistening the back with a tiny bit of water and pressing on gently. Here is the recipe and directions for the fondant:
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Place marshmallows and water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for one minute and stir well with a rubber spatula until no pieces of marshmallow remain. If you still see lumps, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds, repeating as necessary and stirring in between until the mixture is smooth.
Add icing sugar, stirring until mixture becomes stiff. You will likely still see some unincorporated sugar, that's fine. That will be incorporated in the next step.
Dust work surface with a good amount of icing sugar. This stuff is SUPER sticky. Pour/scrape mixture onto work surface, dust your hands with icing sugar, and knead until the fondant is no longer sticky and forms a smooth ball, adding icing sugar as needed. Be careful not to add too much or it will become difficult to roll out thinly.
Dust rolling pin with icing sugar, and roll out, turning fondant over and re-dusting surface with icing sugar frequently or it will stick and be a disaster. My test batch ended up stuck all over my kitchen counter because I didn't bother flipping or redusting. Not fun to clean.
When the fondant is rolled as thin as you like and big enough to cover your cake (I measured mine at 7" and added 2" for overhang). Use a pizza cutter or sharp paring knife to cut out your square.
Lift fondant (I used my rolling pin to drape it on so I didn't have to worry about tearing while I moved to where my cake was) and gently place on top of recently frosted cake (I frosted mine right before I started making the fondant). Smooth out the top and sides.
As I mentioned above, for the red squares I cut strawberry fruit by the foot into squares (for the big squares I cut two equal size pieces and used a dab of water to stick them together to form a square) and apply to cake by moistening the back of the squares and gently pressing onto fondant.
There you have it! I've never got so many compliments on a party as I did on this one, and it's probably one of the cheapest parties I've ever thrown, and by far the most fun!

1 comment:

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