art at a children’s birthday party

My son will have his 13th birthday this Thursday. Even though he’s a big boy now, he still wanted a real children’s birthday party,.. a Star wars birthday party of course. But, how to throw a Star wars birthday party? The internet is full of tips and tricks; from a Star wars BINGO to a Star wars galaxy Obleek, (don’t ask me,..) and from a death star piñata to edible TIE-fighters.

(if you’re interested in any of these ideas: here are the links: BINGO, Obleek, Piñata and TIE-fighters)

But, since my son’s autistic, and all of his friends are too,… the piñata had to be crossed off the list,.. the TIE-fighters were a good idea, but there’s no way you are able to buy hexagon-shaped cookies in the Netherlands, I didn’t know what to do with the obleek, and for bingo I needed a bunch of presents, wherefore I did not have enough money nor ideas.

So, it was time to throw in some art! I decided to let them paint T-shirts. With star wars templates of course. Both the templates and the paint were homemade. Because: do you know where to buy Star wars templates? And textile paint is waaaaaay to expensive to buy. Googling on the internet I found out that you can turn gouache into textile paint (you can also use acrylic paint), all you have to do is buy a bottle of textile medium! Textile medium isn’t very expensive, and neither is gouache; so you’ll have plenty of textile paint for a minimum amount of money! I used Creall tex mix; but the T-shirts haven’t been Curtis verjaardag 03washed yet, so I can’t assure you it works,… yet,..

The templates were made from pizza boxes. I spend a whole evening drawing them and cutting them out of the cardboard. I used a small scissor and a sharp knife. I was afraid the cardboard would be too weak to be used by children. Especially since some of the templates had very small strips, which were easy to break, but luckily the kids were very cautious, and there were enough adults to assist them during painting. The results were amazing!Curtis verjaardag 04

If you’re planning to do this, make sure you have enough time to cut out the templates and,.. (something that totally slipped my mind) make sure to give the kids aprons! The textile paint is meant to stay on textile,.. so it surely can ruin the shirt they’re wearing!

Being creative on a party is great, but it wouldn’t be a party without snacks and presents. So I designed a game for this. It was a ‘board-game’ covering two kitchen table tops. +/- 50 colored paper sheets, laid down in a circle, represented about 50 different tiles. 20 of the tiles offered a snack for the visiting player. 2 of the tiles asked the player to sing a birthday song, 2 tiles made them skip turns, and 4 tiles bid the player to throw the dice a second time. Currtis verjaardag 01

All of the kids had presents for my son. Instead of just giving him the presents, they had to hide them. The hiding was part of this board game. During the game they could visit a tile that said them to hide their present. My son had to leave the room for a moment, and after the present was hid, he was to search for it. I also bought little presents for my son’s friends. These presents also were hid and found during the game.

If you like to use this game for your party, this is the ‘board-game’s plan:

birthday game

Some instructions:

  • if the birthday boy visits the tile ‘hide your present’, he can choose who’s present he wants to search
  • if the birthday boy visits the tile ‘search your present’, there’s no action, since the little presents aren’t for him
  • if a child visits a tile ‘search your present’ or ‘hide your present’ while he already found or hid his present, there’s no action
  • the game’s finished when all of the presents are found
  • if you want to speed up the game; leave out the ‘skip turn’ tiles and write down ‘hide or search your present’ on the blank tiles
  • give them small snacks: 3 slices of potato chips, a small cookie, miniature donuts, miniature hot dogs or miniature marshmallows will do just fine

The art-part of the game were the pawns. To stick to the theme, all of the kids had a Star wars pawn. I had cut six pieces of wood, primed them with GESSO, and painted 6 different Star wars figures on them. My son also had collected 6 plastic Star wars cups, so the cups matched the pawns, which I thought was quite nice.

I did not have time to paint the pawns with oil-paint. I don’t have acrylic paint, so I used marker pens. The funny thing is; when you’re drawing with marker pens on a primed object, the ink dries slower, so you can mix and blend the ink while drawing. The result is much like a painting. I was surprised! It was hard to recreate the images in the short amount of time I had (I started painting 2 hours before the party,…. ai,…) But I’m happy with the results nevertheless.Curtis verjaardag 02

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