It’s a SIX & KICKS DIY ninja birthday party for Little Mama this year! Where did the last 6 years go? Didn’t we throw her a Toy Story Jessie Party for her 5th birthday just the other day? I literally blinked, and out of nowhere, a 6 year old appeared!
A cake-loving, wish-making, excited little 6 year old, may I add…
Every year, a transformation takes place. My once 4 year old Princess Jasmine glitter gal, seamlessly transformed into a 5 year old Toy Story cowgirl fanatic, bringing us to current day – a self proclaimed fierce, yet fun-loving purple obsessed 6 year old ninja.
So, as always… I took her cue and ran with it.
Life isn’t cheap, and mama’s got an obscene amount of creative ideas when it comes to Little Mama and her birthday festivities, but let’s be real… who has hundreds of dollars to throw away on ready-made party supplies for a group of kids who really could care less about anything other than having fun?
So what to do? Why, get through the natural obstacles of a creative block, of course.
First stumbling block. When doing a search on ninjas, what do I see? Black and red ninjas, hard-to-find asian inspired designs, and a lot of dollars to be spent. No sign of stealthy ninjas dressed in black, accessorized in purple. So I decided to attack this challenge like any other mother of a mini, and of course, sparkly ninja would: with needle-sharp focus. I decided to make the ninja celebration into a full-blown DIY ninja birthday party, sprinkled with purple… on a budget.
As always, I essentially planned the party around the goody bags, because it makes it all worth the fuss keeping our tiny ninja guests full, blissfully exhausted, and most of all… appreciated.
Not surprising, the goody bags weren’t actual bags. Similar to last year’s cowboy boot mug of goodies, and the prior year’s genie lamp – I took the bag out of goody bag and decided to hand out ninja plush goodies instead.
Sounds easy enough right? Well… in theory it was. I mean, considering, I had about 30 ninjas to come up with, it wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be. It would have been an easy purchase of 3 sets of 10 ninjas online, decorated in red accents. But for my purple-loving (and incredibly particular) little ninja, a batch purchase of black and red anything was just not going to happen. Plus, it was pretty pricey.
So, with some inspo from our friends at Madi Unnie, I made them… from scratch.
It started with 5 pairs of socks from Dollar Tree. At a whopping $1.25, I was able to get 10 single black socks per pack. That meant, I only needed 3 of these packs. And the rest of the items for our DIY ninja birthday party was merely an aisle away:
- Three packs of 5 ankle black socks for the ninja body
- A big bag of stuffing (you can get a large bag at Michaels, or small batches at Dollar Tree)
- Sequin rolls (in purple, of course) for the belt
- A couple small sheets of white felt for the ninja face
- Black and white thread to close up the body/sock and to sew on the face
- A small amount of black felt for the eyes (and a steady hand to cut a ridiculous amount of eyes. Apparently the Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine can cut your efforts in half!)
- A hot glue gun for the eyes
- A really good pair of Razor-edge Softgrip Scissors
Making these ninjas by hand was quick and dare I say, relaxing. Every night for a little over a week, I would just sit on my couch, put on my favorite primetime show (it was of course, The Bachelor at the time), shut my brain off, and sew. I stuffed each sock with filling until I got it to the size I wanted. And like every unique tiny ninja that will be receiving this gift at Little Mama‘s party, each ninja stuffy would be a different size and shape. Once I determined its basic size, I cut the extra material at the end of the sock and sewed it shut. Many profanities came out of that particular step until I finally got the hang of sewing without almost poking myself. Then I took the black felt and cut them into tiny circles. That was the most time-consuming part. This is when a Cricut Machine would have come in handy – note to self: get one for next year’s party. I also cut out oval shapes of white felt for the ninja faces, and sewed them with a simple overcast stitch. I didn’t want to work too hard trying to hide the thread, as I found the visible stitch added to the charm of the ninja. Plus… who has time for fancy stitch work?
Speaking of which, I recruited the loving services of Grammy and Auntie Sheena to help expedite the completion of what would have otherwise been a gruelling and repetitive project. Rule of thumb – when dealing with matters of sewing, always recruit the sewing pros in your network. They work the fastest, and complain the least.
The hot glue gun comes in real handy when you have 60 fingertip sized black felt eyes to work with. For the first couple of ninjas, I sewed on each of the eyes and after spending what seemed like hours on a simple task, I quickly replaced my needle with the hot glue gun (thanks for the gentle nudge, Auntie Sheena). It sped up the process, while keeping parts of the stuffy intact, safe from the hungry hands of toddler siblings in attendance. Besides, what is a DIY ninja birthday party, or DIY anything for that matter, without a glue gun to seam things up?
As much as Little Mama prides herself in being a rough and tumble tomboy (on some occasions), she is still as sparkly and shiny as she was in her ornate Jasmine and Aladdin days. So instead of placing a proverbial Minnie-style bow on the ninjas to add the feminine flair (ugh), or to succumb to the pink alternative (c’mon… who does that anymore?), I decided to use the “bling” of the purple sequin to act as the belt. It was as shiny and pretty as it was bada** for our stealthy stuffed ninja. Plus, it helped me find a place to tuck in the sword.
So let’s talk about swords…
I needed to figure out a way to integrate this “what’s your ninja name?” sheet that I found all over pinterest, as part of the goody bag. Also, with so many mini ninjas running around, I thought it was wise to create ninja swords made out of paper.
I decided to roll them up at a slight angle to avoid it from looking like a basic roll (aka paper cigarette… that wouldn’t be ideal for a 6 year old birthday party, now would it?), making them more pointed, like a sword. I placed a few self adhesive white rhinestones to emulate somewhat of a sword handle, and voila! A sword was born!
How did these ninja sock stuffies turn out? Well… take a look!
These little guys set the tone for the rest of the party. Inspired by our self-made birthday girl ninja logo, (essentially we photoshopped an existing ninja shape off google and made it as Little Mama inspired and “purple-lized” as possible), we continued with our DIY ninja birthday party plans.
The one thing we take pride in when throwing one of our crazy Little Mama shindigs, is our highly interactive flair. We love involving our guests in the overall theme. Not only did we request our mini ninjas to come in their stealthiest ninja black comfies (or any color, but comfy – for optimal ninja movements!), we also decided to accessorize and essentially, initiate every ninja that walked through our door with their very own ninja-tastic headband. This is the problem with a DIY ninja birthday party and my creative juices flowing at high speed – every piece of material I come across, turns into another one of my grand ideas.
All we needed was a cutting mat, a Fiskars 45mm contour rotary cutter, a long ruler, and a roll of black felt, and we were ready to rumble.
But you know us – we’re all about the bling. To commemorate Little Mama‘s 6th birthday, we placed 6 self adhesive lavender rhinestones in the middle of each headband. We didn’t have much creative energy (I mean… after all that cutting!) to come up with other ideas to decorate the headbands, so we knew 6 little dots would be both simple, clear, and representative of what we were all celebrating that day.
WISH CARDS FOR THE BIRTHDAY NINJA
Every birthday thus far, Little Mama loves getting special messages from her friends. Last year, during her Toy Story party, we had a station, “There’s a Wish in my Boot” where her friends would write special wishes for the 5 year old celebrant and throw it into her cowgirl boot on display. The year before, with her Make 4 Wishes Jasmine party, we asked for special wishes to be written in the back of gold paper cards placed in an embellished genie lamp. We love this tradition, because in the future when Little Mama experiences lonely moments in her life, she can always read these special messages and feel the love that she’s received all these years.
This year – naturally… we needed to go with our Six and Kicks theme, accented with (of course) purple rhinestones as the headband. It helped, since we weren’t too keen on the mini ninja shapes, until we decorated it with the headband. I got a couple silver markers for guests to write their messages with, and cut it out of black card stock. I managed to fit 30+ ninja silhouettes on one big black poster.
Let’s not forget the purple container to pull out all the fun messages for the preteen ninja, when she’s really needing reminders of how awesome she is!
You know us, we can’t just set a table with plates and forks and call it a day. Somehow, I had to figure out a way to make a ninja themed table display, that is both child friendly and thematic, that didn’t require much work, and a crazy amount of funds.
Ninja plates it is.
When planning DIY ninja birthday party decor, I never felt like I actually had to look for ninja themed plates. That’s no fun! Once I settled with the colors, I decided to think about shapes and unique accents to bring the theme together. I printed out eyes (2 dots) all over 4 pages of cardstock and had a cutting party with only myself and my scissors in attendance (alongside, a glass of prosecco while enjoying a Netflix binge fest). Inspired by our friends at Lilabos Blog I didn’t want to get too fancy with the table set up, so I used a little adhesive (non toxic, of course) for the eyes, and covered the rest of the alternating black and purple plates with a ninja-like napkin mask. Easy breezy!
But what about the adult ninjas? Don’t they get to eat too?
Ninja star napkins was the perfect addition to the highly decorated snack table (and because, yes, I’m crazy). But it was rather apropos to add a little pizazz to our otherwise bland plate pile, don’t you think? Here’s how easy it was:
I retired my ninja star making efforts after a dozen or so, and decided to leave the purple ones well enough alone. #smartmove #tiredmama #onecanonlydosomuch
Ninja cups followed suit, and they were just as adorable and easy as the plates. Again – I printed smaller versions of the eyes and cut out oval shapes. I highly recommend using double sided tape and placing each cup inside the other until the party, so they take the shape of the rounded sides, as they tend to come apart otherwise.
And to add a little ninja flair to our DIY ninja party decor, the table was dressed with glitterized faux fighting gear, from foam swords, to purple accent nunchucks. Check out how the ninja feast turned out here.
But what good is a table for the feast, without the food?
We kept things ultra simple this year, in contrast to the feast we
painstakingly held for the last 2 years! It was easy to stick to a more asian theme limiting the options to snacks and desserts rather than full blown meals (ie: Since this wasn’t a Ninja Turtle Party, how to integrate pizzas and ninjas?).
Enter – Sushi sandwich rolls…
Here are the steps:
- Slice cucumbers and cheese into long strips
- Choose a deli meat
- Flatten white pieces of bread (this is key to a good roll)
- Spread some mayo and veggie sauce (or avocado) on flattened bread
- Rock and ROLL!
Voila! Uramaki-inspired sushi for kiddos!
Rice Square Nigiri Sushi was next on my list of to-dos.
First, we had to sort out the rice cakes. Luckily, my “assistant” Big Daddy happens to be quite the rice cake connoisseur. Here’s his go-to recipe for Rice Krispie Squares (he likes to go right to the source).
It was difficult to score ourselves a pack or two of Red Swedish fish, but we finally found a variety pack at the local London Drugs. Not surprising, as that is our go-to stop to find the un-findables.
Normally I would be all about Fruit Roll ups to finish up the sushi pieces, but I couldn’t find a dark one that would go well with the theme. So I settled with easy to roll Black Wilton Fondant.
I have always been threatened by fondant, but this was incredibly easy to roll out, flatten, and cut.
Even more incredible, was the colorful sushi that took less than 10 minutes to make!
Nunchucks aren’t terribly age-appropriate for a 6 year old birthday party, I know. But if it’s made out of Little Debbie Chocolate Swiss Rolls and rainbow licorice, well… that’s enough to knock anyone out!
We cut them in half after inserting them carefully into each roll (not-so-fun fact: they tend to crack if you insert them too quickly), as there’s no way a 5 or 6 year old could handle an entire chocolate nunchuck set! Even better, cut the licorice in half once they’re locked in place, for an easy grab by tiny ninja fingers. You’ll thank me later.
Although this was a DIY ninja birthday party, I would be remiss not to supplement our snack spread with some of our fave asian-inspired snacks. These include and are definitely not limited to the likes of Baked Snapea Crisps, Astick Wafer Sticks, Pocky Biscuit Sticks (because, yum…), and of course fruits and veggies. Here was the final snack table layout.
MILESTONE POSTER FOR THE GUEST OF HONOR
At the end of the day, our celebration was all about our little Ninja of Honor. As much as I got tied up with the DIY ninja birthday party planning, I had to take a step back and remember who this was all for. Thinking about how much my tiny ninja has grown into such a delightful Little Mama, I reflect on all the wonderful things that make her so darn special. Similar to the themed milestone posters from the previous years, I made one just for the occasion.
As always, we like to plan our post-party thank yous ahead of time. This year, we decided to keep it simple. We printed out “So Grateful” cards which included a photo of the tiny ninjas in action (from the party), as well as Little Mama playing, reading, and simply enjoying the generous gifts that were given to her. Without words, it was easy enough to convey just how grateful we were by showing them Little Mama‘s gratitude in pictures. It’s also a perfect learning opportunity for Little Mama to appreciate each individual gift and card (most of which were homemade). Win win for all!
And I almost forgot…
Our little ninja herself.
Can’t have a DIY ninja birthday party without a do-it-yourself ninja costume….
With mommy’s wide black cotton belt tied at the back of her head, temporarily pieced together (loose, removable stitch, because we’re all for reusing and recycling) with a black chiffon scarf, we were able to create a safe and flexible face mask that she can use as mouth cover, or a fabulous light scarf (that’s more MY kind of ninja outfit). Topped off with an adorable Purple Hair Extension Clip, this little ninja went from stealth to slick.
Since we were able to get her mask finalized and fab-u-tized, a basic black Earth Elements crew neck long sleeve tee, and her go-to Junior Gaultier harem paneled pants were the perfect alternative to a full-blown purchased (and $$$) costume. Instead of getting too complicated, we used leftover purple felt strips to crisscross around one of her calves while simply wrapping a make-shift belt around her waist. Since she’s an active and tiny ninja, an untied belt could be quite an annoyance, so I fastened a couple spots by hand sewing a loose stitch in case either of her ties became undone in the heat of all the excitement.
To be honest, I left her outfit to the very last minute. However, I know me, and if time was abundant (like that would ever happen!), I would have gone a little overboard. Luckily with only a couple nuances here and there, we were able to transform a basic black outfit into a stealthy ninja inspired look. And it didn’t cost us a dime. This is one of those moments where going closet shopping is the best kind of shopping.
We absolutely loved preparing for this year’s DIY ninja birthday party – needle pokes and hot glue gun burns, inclusive. Little Mama asked for a DIY ninja birthday party sprinkled (more like doused) in purple glitter, and purple glitter she got. Check out our follow up post on how the party all turned out…
The LOOK:: Want it? GET it!
Why spend the mula, when you can just DIY?
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