Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making a Pirate Ship: A Pirate Birthday!

I've been meaning to get to this blog post for some time now (well since April when we had the party) as a suggestion of a way to decorate with our Pirate Buntings.
I decided at the last minute to do something fun- before coming up with a pirate ship I was just going to hanging the bunting on the wall and decorate cupcakes but there was so much potential- I couldn't let it go. I had most of this stuff around the house but am including a shopping list as I assume most normal folks don't collect balls of twine, odd dowel rods and giant paper rolls.

Shopping List: 
Home Improvement Store: Pick up some dowel rods of various sizes: Two thicker ones, three medium ones (about 1/2 in in diameter) and two smaller diameter rods. These will serve as the masts and structure. You will also need a bag of playground sand and a roll of twine from the garden section.

Office Supply: You need sails. You can cut some from fabric or just get some butcher, craft, or packing paper rolls from office supply. I liked the paper idea becuase you could decorate, paint, stamp, or sketch a huge jolly rogers if you wanted and not worry about messing up becuase you could just get new paper. The kids could have a ball with this if you created some sponge or potato stampers- but I'm getting off track. You will also need black paper- I suggest card stock.

Optional: Craft sticks to make cupcake toppers, "gold and silver nugget" Hershey's mini-bars for treasure.

Ship Construction:
At home I scrounged for two canister containers from cookies, coffee, etc. that were at least 8 inches tall or so. I covered them in black card stock and filled them up with sand. The larger dowel rods were stuck down into the sand as the ship masts and placed on the party table. Two of the medium dowels were then tied on horizontally to the masts with twine about 12-18 inches from the can on each mast. The small diameter rod was tied to the top of the "rear" mast. I cut kraft paper for the sails.  I ungraciously jabbed the ends of the dowel rods into the paper to make the sails- you may have a more ingenious way of attaching them. The front sail I made into an accordion shape and attached it only to the bottom dowel rod. My table was small and two full sails covered up too much of the table and I couldn't read the bunting triangles. If you have a larger table- you may not have this problem- or if you are putting the bunting elsewhere you may want two full sails. The last medium sized dowel rod was attached to the front of the table so that it stuck out like a ship bow. The twine served quite well for all of the attaching because the coarseness helped provide extra friction and I didn't have a problem with my dowels slipping down or my sails moving around too much. For the final touches- I attached the wooden flags and then strung extra twine from mast to mast and to the front bow for decoration.

Double Mast Pirate Ship

Wooden Birthday Pirate Flag Buntings from Sima Design

Close up of Jolly Rogers Birthday Pirate Flag Buntings

Full view of the pirate ship showing the bow, masts, and buntings.


Cupcake Decoration:
We did cupcakes and to incorporate the pirate theme I got "gold and silver nugget" mini Hershey's and created a sea and island for buried treasure. The "sea" cupcakes were iced with white icing that I swirled some blue food coloring in but didn't mix it up all of the way. The island cupcakes were iced in white and then I dipped them in a bowl of crushed Nilla wafers for the sand. I added sea shells and I made some cupcake toppers- you could probably make some just on the printer with card stock and Popsicle sticks (or order some wooden ones from me- I would be OK with that ;).

Another cute idea would be to create a treasure map using cupcakes as the map. You could cut fruit roll-ups into "X's" and use as the dotted line for the path and incorporate paper ships, trees, coins, etc. as well for landmarks on your treasure map.
Cupcakes- Buried Treasure Island


Cupcake Close-up (Nilla wafers for sand, Swirly Blue Sea Frosting)

I decided at the very very last second to decorate for his party so the ship was  done quick and dirty- if I had more time I would have done a different table covering than the plastic black table cloth and I may have rough cut some fabric sails. If you are doing your party outside- be aware that the wind really will catch in the sails so you may have to cut lines for the wind to pass through or have the sails both in an accordion fashion like they are down or resting in port. 

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