Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

{Party Minecraft Style} Seattle Area Child Photographer

May 23rd, 2013

My oldest recently turned eight, and this year, he asked for a Minecraft themed birthday. If you’ve never heard of Minecraft, think back to those old, 80s style DOS games and graphics. Minecraft looks totally like that. Except, this game only came out a few years ago. The good thing about Minecraft is that it […]

 

My oldest recently turned eight, and this year, he asked for a Minecraft themed birthday. If you’ve never heard of Minecraft, think back to those old, 80s style DOS games and graphics. Minecraft looks totally like that. Except, this game only came out a few years ago. The good thing about Minecraft is that it is totally easy to recreate, as everything is made out of pixelated blocks. The basic premise of the game is that the main character, Steve, goes around and digs, or “mines”. There is dirt, coal, and eventually, diamonds. You get a pick ax. There are also monsters like creepers, zombies, ghasts, and these spider things which I hate. All in block form, which kind of make them hilarious. The great thing about Minecraft is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want to, because you can program your own world.  So for kids like mine, it’s a great game to flex out their computer programming skills!

I spent some time on the Internet researching “Minecraft Parties”, and it basically came down to two things. 1) there was nothing pre-made for Minecraft, unless I wanted to pay  big bucks on Etsy, and 2) it’s all about blocks and paper, and I could do it myself. So with three or four days of prep time, lots of printing, gluing, and taping, I put together a Minecraft party for my kiddo. We wanted it low key, so we only invited eight people since he was turning eight, had one scavenger hunt, one craft (freeze paper stenciling their creeper shirts to take home as their “favor”), and lots and lots of fun! I hope you enjoy the party!

Some specifics:

 

Some of the decorations. The happy birthday banner, and of course, creepers and ghasts. The boys cut out the square clouds for the background.

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TNT! aka licorice and juice boxes with red construction paper wrapped around it, and TNT printed in the Minecrafter font. You can see my minecraft paper blocks in the background. They were a huge hit.

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More ghasts. They’re a combination ghost/octopus. I made them from square paper plates, with crepe paper legs. Totally easy!

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These were the creeper plates. The green plates I glued the black construction creeper faces, then I glued a clear plate on top so people could actually use the plates to eat.

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And of course, we had creeper juice (water bottles with “creeper juice” in Minecrafter font on white paper labels) to go along with the food. Renaming the food with Minecraft labels was really fun. The kids totally loved coming back for more “creeper juice” or “coal” or “torches” instead of regular old pretzels and blackberries and water.

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My “coal”, aka blackberries.

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My “torches”, aka pretzels. I was cracking up,  since the kids had a blast with the torches. I also had raspberries on a separate plate. So kids were putting raspberries on top of the pretzels and telling me “look! it’s a lit torch now!” I had three separate kids tell me that, all at different times. 🙂

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What the final food set up looked like. (big thanks to L.Hong for providing me with this picture!) Besides the TNT (licorice), torches (pretzels), coal (blackberries), I also had chocolate cake with green frosting for dirt squares, and green rice krispie squares that they could stick together to make their own creeper. Also raspberries to light the torches. 😉 For the grown ups we had Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, eggrolls, chips and hummus.

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The banner is made of foam, I cut out the squares on top to make it more “minecraft-y”. The letters are felt letters I bought at Michael’s. I stapled the whole thing to crepe paper, and was pretty amazed it held. My kiddo asked for it to stay up all week, and (knock on wood), it hasn’t fallen down yet!

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We also stuck some creepers outside. I made them from square plates. One plate for the head. I cut one plate in half for the body, and half of one for the feet. It was a big hit, different kids would run around with them in the yard, chasing each other.

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My husband had this great idea of making the kids do a scavenger hunt before they got cake. In the spirit of Minecraft, they had to find different colored blocks to make up different combinations. (We had a whiteboard listing all the combinations and rules, but the kids took it over during the course of the game before I could snap a picture). They could trade with each other to make their combinations, and get cake. In reality, we hide 204 of these one-inch foam blocks in our yard and let them go forth and find them. It was great fun! I’m not sure which was more impressive, that they spent so long finding them, or that we actually got all 204 blocks back at the end of the party.

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The kids had to have six blocks in different color combinations in order to get cake. Here’s some of the different combinations they came up with during the scavenging.

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CAKE! I just had the cake made with green grass on top. There is a little Lego Steve and Lego creeper there as well from the Lego Minecraft set.

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Since it was my son’s 8th birthday and not my birthday, I didn’t stress too much about planning games or entertaining the kids. They ran around in the yard, played in our tree house, and fought with the paper plate creepers. 🙂

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Instead of party favors in a bag, we had everyone make their own Creeper Shirts! (we used the freezer paper method). I did two groups, the “happy face” creepers, and the “frowny face” creepers. The shirts were $3 at Michael’s, so very cheap, and the kids LOVED them! It was also a VERY EASY CRAFT to do with a large group of kids.

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Overall, there was a lot of prep work in the few days before the party (especially in regards to all the paper crafting), but it was a lot of fun. Because in the end, it’s just about a bunch of blocks. 🙂 PARTY ON, I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and got some good ideas about any future Minecraft parties!

 

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{Origami Flowers and Kusudama Balls} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

April 30th, 2013

Something my boys and I like to do is fold paper. Not even fancy paper folding like origami, just regular folds on paper. It’s calming, it we get to talk about math properties like shapes (how many triangles can we fold from a square?); fractions (how many times can we fold a piece of paper […]

 

Something my boys and I like to do is fold paper. Not even fancy paper folding like origami, just regular folds on paper. It’s calming, it we get to talk about math properties like shapes (how many triangles can we fold from a square?); fractions (how many times can we fold a piece of paper like a fan?); symmetry (unfold the paper, does it look the same on both sides?). That’s not to say, we don’t enjoy our fancy origami as well! 🙂

Mother’s Day in the States is coming up in a couple of weeks, and the boys and I wanted to make something to give to my mom (their Ba Ngoai). She loves flowers, but I wanted to give her something a little more permanent than just a bouquet of cut flowers. I came across kusudama balls a couple of years ago and thought this would be a great project for us to make to give to her. The folding is simple enough for the boys to do, and since there is a LOT of folding involved to make the finished project, it would be something from all of us. You can just make the paper flowers as well, they are also quite beautiful by themselves. The entire tutorial is detailed below in the post.

What You’ll Need (for the Kusudama Ball): 

  • 60 squares of paper (I use 3″ x 3″, simply because it was easy to cut out 4 of them from a 12″x12″ piece of scrapbook paper)
  • **NOTE** this 60 squares is for the 5 petal flower version. if you want 6 petals, plan accordingly with 72 pieces of paper
  • craft glue or glue dots (if you’re working with kids, I highly recommend glue dots)
  • clothes pins (if you are working with craft glue, to hold the petals closed while gluing)
  • string, twine, ribbon, etc. to hold up the finished ball
  • **optional** beads, bells, trinket for bottom of ball

 

Here is a completed, five petal flower made of paper. Isn’t it so pretty? The boys actually helped make all the petals for me.

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The tutorial is in two parts, the blue and the green. The previous/start is in blue, and the explaining fold is in green.

 

First, you’re going to fold your square paper diagonally in half, to make a triangle.

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Keep the triangle base at the bottom. Then, from the middle, fold the outside right and left points up (to make a diamond shape).

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Then, take the right and left points you just folded up, and fold it halfway out. (see my dotted line and arrow?) You make little wings, basically.

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Next, open and flatten, or squash out your wings. I included a picture of what it looks like from the other side.

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There are two variations on this next part.

 

Next, take the little flap and fold it down even with the edge. You can either (LEFT SIDE OF PICTURE) fold it outside. This will show the contrasting color and produce 3 petals on the inside. You can also (RIGHT SIDE OF PICTURE/BIG PICTURE) fold it inside. This will not show the contrasting color and produce 1 petal on the inside. 

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Then, fold the inside wings together, curve to make the petal, and glue. The easiest with kids is to stick a glue dot on it, but you can also use glue and clothespins to hold it shut.

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Here are the differences in the petal variations.

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The finished flowers! If you want alternating petal colors, you’re going to need six petals on your flower (see flower on right). Otherwise, five petals are fine (see flower on left).

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These are really easy to make. Here are some made from scrapbook paper done by my preschooler and older son. I did the gluing of the petals together, while they folded the petals. You can see the petals aren’t quite symmetrical, but it’s still beautiful.

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So pretty!

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To make the kusudama ball, you’ll need 12 flowers total, six for each side.

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To hang the ball, I used twine. I put wooden beads at the bottom of it to make it look pretty.

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The underside of half of the ball, with the twine glued into place.

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Then, glue both sides together. Ta-dah! I think it looks like a happy, flowery, sun. The boys are VERY excited to give it to Ba Ngoai!

Happy Crafting!

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{Upcycled Rubber Bracelets} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

April 17th, 2013

Living in the beautiful PNW, we’re incredibly lucky that we have access to beautiful scenery and bike trails. We’re a big biking family, whether it be a short trip around the block, or a family bike ride on the trail, plus it’s a fun and easy way to get some family time. My husband is […]

 

Living in the beautiful PNW, we’re incredibly lucky that we have access to beautiful scenery and bike trails. We’re a big biking family, whether it be a short trip around the block, or a family bike ride on the trail, plus it’s a fun and easy way to get some family time. My husband is the big biking advocate in the family, and he took the boys to the annual Seattle Bike Expo, where they got see cool trick riding by Ryan Leech, see the latest in bike innovations, and also came home with these nifty, funky bracelets. Once I realized that they were just made from inner bike tubes, and that we had those at home, I totally recreated them for the boys to make some more (and some for me, too!). This is a great craft to help celebrate Earth Day. It’s also a fairly easy craft, made for some fun jewelry, plus the boys got to wear something to symbolize the bike riding they loved.

What You’ll Need:

  • inner bike tubes
  • snaps
  • snap setter (I used this Snap Setter)
  • paint or Sharpie Paint Pens (OIL based, not the water based paint pens)
  • scissors
  • hammer

 

Can I just bottle the look of joy here on my oldest’s face? Can you also spot my preschooler peeking out from behind dad on the trail-a-long bike?

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Our preschool took a trip to the Cascade Recycling Center recently. This is ALL recycling. Can you believe it? Less than 5% per year of what gets collected for recycling actually is garbage and not recycled by the Center. One of the things the recycling center does *not* take is rubber, so our project was a good use of the rubber of the inner bike tire tubes.

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This is the inner bike tube.

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You’re going to cut it, and make it long enough to fit across your wrist (make sure to account for length for the snap overlength). You can cut it in different widths as well.

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With the snaps put on it. You can leave the edges flat, or round it. You can see I made them in various widths, and left one side flat, and rounded

one side.

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Here are the Sharpie paint pens I used. I used the oil based, fine point, NON OPAQUE pens.

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It made for a very fine point for drawing.  This method was better for me and for my older, elementary aged son, since it gave him more ability to get detailed in his drying. The pens were also quick drying to boot!

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Another way to decorate is with stamps and paint. I used acrylic paint and rubber stamps.

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The stamping method is good for toddlers and preschoolers to decorate. It does take overnight to dry.

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And the finished bracelet, this one was sharpie pen decorated.

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Here are some stamped one. I also tested out velcro instead of snaps, but liked the look of the snaps better.

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Overall, a really fun project, and my kids LOVE their new, fun and funky upcycled bracelets!

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{Building a Treehouse} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

August 2nd, 2012

This summer, we have been working on two major projects. The main project for our backyard has been building a treehouse. Every kid’s dream, correct? We are very lucky in that in our family, my husband is very handy and was able to design and  build the treehouse. He did a lot of research to […]

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This summer, we have been working on two major projects. The main project for our backyard has been building a treehouse. Every kid’s dream, correct? We are very lucky in that in our family, my husband is very handy and was able to design and  build the treehouse. He did a lot of research to make sure that he would be able to build something that was sturdy, last a while, and most importantly, do the least amount of damage to the tree itself. The building started in April and we finally finished last month. Check it out!

 

Can they build it? YES THEY CAN.

 

The tree we picked is a cherry tree in our backyard.

 

Putting up the boards which would make the foundation of the supports for the treehouse. Three boards, and three tree bolts were the only attachment to the tree.

 

Platform and ladder are up!

 

Building and painting the walls in our garage. The paint we used is actually called “Treehouse” by Kensington.

We hauled the walls up onto the platform to put the house together.

Our “helpers”

 

Coming together, coming together. 

 

The underside of the platform, and my husband’s favorite corner. Yes, he was very proud of that corner and asked for a picture.

 

An overhead view of the tree, and the tree house.

 

Me, hard at work!

 

The master builder, himself.

 

We used transparent roofing plastic  to let in light.

 

Coming together! Here’s how it looks in the backyard.

 

The roofing material lets in some gorgeous light inside the treehouse.

 

We built the door and my husband stained it.

 

I think they like it. 🙂

 

 

Craft Junkie Too Friend

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{Starburst Mirror} Seattle Area Lifestyle Photographer

March 17th, 2012

This is something a little different, a post not about my kids! I have always adored those large, funky sun/starburst mirrors I see in store. However, I did not adore the $200-$300 price tag that usually accompanies them. When I saw this cool DIY tutorial for a sunburst mirror from Dollar Store Crafts and also […]

 

This is something a little different, a post not about my kids! I have always adored those large, funky sun/starburst mirrors I see in store. However, I did not adore the $200-$300 price tag that usually accompanies them. When I saw this cool DIY tutorial for a sunburst mirror from Dollar Store Crafts and also this cool DIY tutorial from the Small Home Love blog and this cool DIY tutorial from Apartment Therapy, I knew that I could make one for my home.

My inspiration from Lamps Plus ($239)

Materials:

  • bamboo skewers, or small craft dowels
  • 4″ mirror (you can use any size mirror in the middle, I used a 4″ one)
  • Krylon Silver Metallic Paint – Use Krylon, we also tried Rustoleum and it was a very dull silver
  • small beveled mirrors (I got mine online from JOann’s) –  pack of 25 for $1.99
  • E6000 glue or gorilla glue. Be forewarned, if you go with gorilla glue, it does EXPAND so put that into your considerations.
  • cardboard rounds
I had the dowels, spray paint, and glue on hand. I just had to buy the mirrors so I spent less than $10 on this whole project. SCORE

First, I spray painted the dowels with the paint

Then, I cut TWO cardboard round to match my 4″ middle mirror. One for the dowels, and one for the mirror. You can cut it to match the shape of whatever size mirror you pick. I also marked it so I knew where to lay down my dowels when I glued.

 

After the dowels dried, I glued them to the cardboard round with the markings. Not pictured: I glued the mirror to the other cardboard round, then glued it on top of the dowels here. Then I laid a book on it overnight for it to dry and set.

 

I then glued all the little mirrors to the dowels. This was pretty easy, the glue set pretty quickly so I didn’t have to hold them to make sure they didn’t fall off.

 

And voila! The finished starburst mirror! I am really pleased with how it turned out. Please excuse the tape, we were figuring out the best location to put it and the tape was to make sure it wouldn’t fall off the wall.

 

And how it looks above our bed. You can just see the size of it from here – it’s also fairly lightweight. Hooray for DIY craftiness!

 

So there you have it, a fairly easy and cheap way to make a big, showy piece for your home. I leave you with two dancing boys, because I can’t have a blog post that doesn’t show off my cute kids. 🙂

This was shared at Get your Craft On! Go check it out to see all the fun crafts featured each week! For more fun link parties, go check out my Link Parties! page

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{May the Force Be With You} Seattle Area Childrens Photographer

March 7th, 2012

My boys love Star Wars. For Christmas a couple of years ago, my husband kindly bought me Lego Star Wars, which I deemed safe enough for the kids to watch. Besides, LEGO!  Have you seen how cute those little LEGO figurines are of Han Solo, Obi Wan, and Yoda? Now, my kids haven’t even seen […]

 

My boys love Star Wars. For Christmas a couple of years ago, my husband kindly bought me Lego Star Wars, which I deemed safe enough for the kids to watch. Besides, LEGO!  Have you seen how cute those little LEGO figurines are of Han Solo, Obi Wan, and Yoda? Now, my kids haven’t even seen any of the Star Wars movies, but my oldest became obsessed. For his birthday, we did a Star Wars theme. I scoured the internet for days beforehand, trying to find the best ways to have a low budget yet still cool, Star Wars themed party. (For future reference, there are actually Star Wars Party Book, and a Star Wars Craft Book which I did not know about until after the party. Hopefully these links will help another hapless parent out in their party planning.). A few weeks of planning, some sleepless night, and 31 kids plus a very happy birthday boy later,  seemed to thoroughly enjoy all our hard work.

This year, we told him he had to limit the amount of people to how old he is turning.  🙂

So onto the party pictures! I included links to everything, and hopefully this can help some other parent with a Star Wars obsessed kid. **WARNING** This post is long and picture heavy!

1. The Invite

I just used evite, but I found some cute wording and the invitation stated this:

In a Galaxy Far, Far away… A boy of destiny was born. The Jedi council named him {NAME} and they knew that he was the chosen one.

In the six years that has followed his birth, he has been learning the powers of the force. Recently though, the Jedi knights have called upon young Padawan {NAME} to seek out Future Jedi.

Your presence is requested on sunday May 1st for Padawan {NAME} birthday party! The trials will begin promptly at 11:30am at the Jeidi Training Academy (aka our home). Please Advise the Jedi council as to whether you will be accepting the challenge of the trials. Future Jeidi siblings may also partake in the trials. May The Force Be With you!

 

2. The Lightsabers, aka what I used instead of giving out goody bags.

I will admit, I kind of hate goody bags. My kids have food allergies, so if it’s candy often they can’t have it, and if it’s a toy it just ends up broken in the car on the way home from the party. So I found instructions on how to make foam light sabers, and made them as party favors. Simple and inexpensive! Cut a pool noodle in half, slap on some duct tape and electrical tape, and you’re golden. Bonus is, they don’t hurt when your kids beat the tar out of each other in preparation for Jedi Training. 🙂

Seriously, who doesn’t love a lightsaber?

I put them in buckets for the kids to grab, along with some neon colored labels and a sharpie to make name tags. 

 

3. The Imperial Decree

I wanted to make sure the kids kept the lightsabers OUTSIDE so we made up this sign, one by the lightsabers, and one by the door at parent-height. I downloaded the Star Wars Font to make the sign.

 

4. The Padawan Robe

I googled around, and this Star Wars Robe tutorial was the easiest one I found. For 3yards of fabric, I was able to make two small robes (one for each of my kids) for less than $5 total.

my son loved it so much he would wear it everywhere, even to tae kwon do.

 

5. Death Star Pinata

We couldn’t find an actual Death Star or Star Wars themed pinata, so here is what we did instead. I bought a baseball pinata (any round pinata shape would do, actually), and my husband spray painted it silver. To cover the hole we had to cut in it to put in candy, we put an upside down coffee lid.  He added on details with a black sharpie, and it turned out pretty well!

 

6.  The Cake

The cake was extremely cool. I found this tutorial on how to make an R2D2 cake. My fabulous friend Auntie Heather’s Fancy Cakes made the cake for us.  I made the inside cake (dairy and nut free!) and she put it all together. It was glorious and oh so amazing.

 

Details of the cake.

This thing was incredibly awesome. People couldn’t believe it was cake! Here’s a picture of the cake cut apart, poor R2D2 is getting devoured by my youngest.

CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

 

7. Star Wars Cooler

My husband’s coworker graciously loaned us his R2D2 cooler, which we used as a prop and to store “adult” beverages. My kids loved it and kept hugging it.

 

 

8. The Games

We played Jeidi vs. Bubbles (I had two parents with bubble machines, and the kids were fighing all the bubbles), which the kids really enjoyed. I made an obstacle course the kids had to run in, where I had parents holding lightsabers out either above head level, or low enough so the kids had to duck or jump over it, which they all LOVED. We also had Star Wars Bingo and a Pin The Lightsaber on Yoda game, but we didn’t get around to either of them. Mainly, this is what the entire party looked like.

 

 

Overall, I think everyone (parents, kids, birthday boy) had a great time, my son thought we were the coolest parents ever, and all the kids of all ages had a ton of fun chasing each other with their lightsabers. I hope if you’ve read this through, you got some good ideas for your own Star Wars themed party!

 

Shared at Spaceships and Laser Beams Boy Party Ideas!