I know I usually post about choosing awesome but for this post, I am choosing ‘epic’. For those of you who follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you will know that it was my son’s 8th birthday party on the weekend. He wanted, in his words, “an epic Minecraft party”, and an epic party is what he got! The word ‘epic’ was used extensively throughout the day and it will get a decent run throughout this blog post.
I recommend starting the planning at least a few weeks out from the party. I did it all in the week leading up to the party but never got to bed before 3am! I also had help from two amazing people – my best friend Sophie and my wonderful husband, Grant. They helped out in so many ways – mowing lawns, setting up tables, preparing food, cutting out ridiculous amounts of paper, helping with games and generally doing anything I asked of them. I also had Deb Hogg there to help out as she is the famous Wildernes’ Mum (one of Max’s Massively Minecraft friends). She helped out as well by taking photos when I didn’t have a spare hand! The ‘epicness’ would not have been possible without them.
Lots of people asked me if I would be uploading the resources I used, so this post will include all the resources I used and how I did it all. This could take a while…
When the idea of a Minecraft party was first proposed, of course, I took to the Internet. I found an amazing video posted on YouTube by MarpleFrank of the Minecraft party they threw for their 10 year old son. I used so many ideas from this video and it was so good to have the visuals from that video to guide my planning.
As I found ideas, I pinned them to my Minecraft Party Pinterest board. It was so good to have all the ideas here to return to when needed.If you download any of my resources below as original source files you will need to download the Minecraftia font from dafont.com as I used this font for almost everything I made.
You should also become very familiar with the Minecraft Paper Art website as I downloaded and used so many print outs from this site for decorations and prizes.
I used Photoshop to create the invitation and simply changed each invitees name before saving as a jpeg and then using Word to print three to a page.
Original PSD file: Invitation
I created an audio CD for all the kids to take home in their loot bag. Max chose 20 of his favourite Minecraft parody songs and I burned them onto a CD. I probably should have turned this into a DVD with the video files on them as the kids really love those videos. Alas, maybe you can do that instead!
I also created a YouTube playlist of the videos. We had this running on a TV in the loungeroom throughout the party when they needed some cool-down time (it was 40 degrees on the day). I still can’ believe that 16 kids all sat down and were captivated by videos I’m sure they’ve seen dozens of times!
I served up the usual party food – fairy bread, chips, lollies etc but as well as that, I replicated the food that is available in the Minecraft game such as cookies, melon, chicken, carrots, apples and sticks (I’ve included the signs for these in PDF format below). I bought some choc-orange flavoured chocolate sticks from Aldi but they melted very quickly on the day so it was pretzel sticks to the rescue. I made up some blue jelly and put it into plastic shot glasses to serve as buckets of water. I knew it was going to be hot so I made sure we had plenty of water – naturally, the water had to be branded with Minecraft so I made up labels to stick on. I recommend you buy a packet or two of A4 sticker sheets to use for all sorts of sticky things.
PDF: Food signs
Usually I love making the birthday cakes for my kids but I knew I would be busy with all the non-food related stuff so I called on one of my very talented cake-making friends. My amazing friend Tanya owns Signature Sweets, a small cake business in the Blue Mountains. She was the master artist behind the Minecraft grass block cake. Max and his friends were completely blown away by how cool the cake was and the adults were impressed with how delicious it was. I can’t recommend Tanya and her cakes highly enough – they are truly epic!
I went with a light green, dark green and brown theme for the decorations. Spotlight and the local discount shops were great for picking up all the usual items like balloons, plates, cups and table cloths. I used table cloths as the ceiling decorations as well. I covered the small prizes table with a brown table cloth then cut a green one to fit just over the top, then I cut around the edge of that green table cloth to create a grass effect. It looked very cool considering it was something I came up with at about 4:30am.
I downloaded the lifesize wall sign from the special lifesize page on Minecraft Paper Craft then put it into Photoshop so I could make a range of signs for the house from welcome signs, to the toilet directions, food signs and ‘Do Not Enter’ signs for bedroom doors.
Original PSD file: Sign
Every epic party needs a photo booth so I set up my little dining nook as a photo booth. I placed a black sheet against the wall and stuck a range of paper craft items to the sheet. I also printed A3 sized heads for a few characters that kids used as masks.
Max invited kids from his school, footy team and the Massively Minecraft community so I created lanyards for all the kids to wear so they could call one another by their name as opposed to ‘Hey You” – it also helped me as I didn’t know all their names either! I changed the name details in Photoshop then saved it as a jpeg, then inserted the same image into Word twice, so they were directly next to one another. I did this for each kid and then printed them all out. I could then cut them out, fold them in half and laminate before attacing ribbon to each one.
Original PSD file: Lanyard Template
I saw an awesome idea on Pinterest via Julie Hilley that turned your average glass doors/windows into Minecraft windows so I thought I’d give that a go. I didn’t go to the extent of creating four individual squares for each diagonal line (I needed some kind of sleep!) but I think the simple diagonal lines still provided an awesome effect. I recommend doing this while the kids are asleep or at school because their reaction when they see it is priceless.
My Mum is an amazingly crafty person and she made a carnival flag banner to put up that said “Happy 8th Birthday Minecraft Party”. I am yet to get a decent photo of it but it’s still hanging in my loungeroom so hopefully I’ll remember to get a good photo before I take it down.
Loot for the Chests
The first thing I did once all the kids arrived was sit them down, explain that everyone would be going home with a ‘chest’ full of loot. Each kid had a paper bag with their name on it. I had already placed their lolly bag (plain green paper bags with creeper faces drawn on them with a Sharpie), lanyard and CD in the bag earlier.
I had a basket of prizes for kids to choose from if they won a game throughout the day. Check out KMart for cheap prizes. Anytime a kid won something, they could return to their ‘chest’ and place the prize there for safe keeping. Just like in-world in Minecraft!!!
Initially I thought I would create a creeper pinata but the prospect of all those squares and sourcing different coloured green crepe paper was just too hard so a ghast was a much friendlier option. I happened upon a perfectly sized square box at work during the week so grabbed that, along with a few packets of white crepe paper. I found some awesome frayed crepe paper stuff at Spotlight that I stuck around the box in rows. To top it off I cut lots of strips of white crepe paper to create the tentacles. My other son Oscar, drew the eyes and mouth on paper and cut them out for me. As with all pinatas I have made in the past, excessive amounts of sticky tape are required to keep everything stuck down, while doubling up as reinforcement for the pianata itself.
The party ran for four hours. When it first began I was a little concerned we wouldn’t fill those hours but it was perfectly timed and spaced with structured games, downtime for general play and the big crafting activity at the end.
Pin the Tail on the Enderdragon: this one is pretty self-explanatory. The only things I would do differently is print the kids’ names onto the tails and print the tails onto an A4 sticker label. I had to put double-sided tape onto each tail and then write their name on the poster – fiddly!
Musical Minecraft Blocks: this one works off the same premise as Musical Chairs but instead of taking chairs away, you just call out the name of a block and the kids standing on those blocks are eliminated. I printed 20 blocks of redstone, coal, diamond, gold and lapis lazuli onto A4 paper and then laminated them. Gangnam Style is the song of the moment for 8 year olds so we played a few rounds of that until going inside to cool down.
PDF file: Musical Minecraft blocks
Blow up the TNT: This was your classic ‘Mentos + Diet Coke = Explosion‘ kind of game. Thanks to the most awesome Jokay for this idea – your little Pigman loved it! If I had another hour of planning I would have made a TNT label for the Diet Coke and torch cover for the Mentos but it was not meant to be…I needed an hour of sleep at least! Anyhoo, there was a lovely divisible number of 16 kids at the party so they sorted themselves into 4 teams of 4. I showed them how to explode the ‘TNT’, set up 4 stations with a piece of cardboard, Diet Coke and packet of Mentos, gave them a minute to discuss strategy, sent them to their corners then called ‘Ready, Set, Go’. Prizes were awarded to ‘First to explode’ and ‘Highest explosion’. Oh the fun they had!
The Crafting Game
This took a whole lot of planning and creating but it was so worth it because it brought the Minecraft mining experience into the real world! I had lots of Minecraft prizes to give away. Each prize had its own crafting recipe. Kids had to find the right blocks (square bits of cardboard thrown all over my backyard) to correspond to the recipe to win the prize.
Even for the kids who had never played Minecraft, they picked up on the concept really quickly and were crafting their recipes in no time. I even made a crafting table where kids could come to pick up their prizes. All the recipes were displayed on our toy room wall so kids could easily see what was needed to win particular prizes. I’ve included the PDFs for recipes and blocks I used but also a Blank Crafting Sheet if you want to design your own.
Make your own recipes: Blank Crafting Sheet (change recipe name in Word, stick blocks to sheet as needed)
Let me state that if I ever did this game again, I would use plain coloured cardboard in a range of colours rather than printing Minecraft blocks onto cardboard. It was very time consuming even though they looked cool.
It was quite cheap to make the prizes as most were handmade. I printed off lots of stickers (there were so many I literally gave them away at the end) and they were the easiest prizes to craft. I had a few Paper Craft items such as Nether portals, Steve dolls, creeper dolls, design your own doll, a Minecraft card game and a 20-sided Minecraft dice. I printed out some Minecraft art to put into cheap frames. Check out DeviantArt for cool Minecraft if you don’t fancy the images I’ve included below. I had gold chocolate coins wrapped up in celophane and plain notebooks with Minecraft artwork stuck to the front. I cut out and pasted diamond swords and pickaxes to cardboard then cut out and stuck the same tool to the other side – they were big hits with the kids. I found some more cool Minecraft art and made bookmarks then laminated them. My favourite prize was the ‘real’ Minecraft gold, diamond, iron and coal – AKA coloured rocks from the discount store. It was hilarious to see how excited kids were to win these – I simply attached labels from the Minecraft wiki site to the containers.
I think that covers everything we did! It was so much fun to host and I’m posting all these resources here in the hope that someone else gets to have that much fun and bring a million smiles to the face of their son or daughter. I know Max had a blast – just look at the smile on that face.