My littlest girl is madly in love with Princess Merida from Disney’s the movie Brave. It is a pretty darn awesome film. There are a few fighting scenes with bears and it’s a little intense. My husband and I took the kids to see this at the movie theater last summer and as soon as the bears began to fight you heard screams of terror throughout shortly followed by a mass exodus of parents and preschoolers. So for my little one’s big day she decided on a Princess Merida theme. As I’ve said before, birthdays are such a big deal to kids and it’s our job as parents to throw a big bash on a budget. After some consideration, we decided to hold the party at our church. They actually have a huge indoor play gym with tons of tubes and slides. It’s every kids dream! They also have party rooms you can rent out for a very reasonable price. I decided this would be an excellent thing to do with a bunch of 1st graders. If you are in the market for birthday party locations then I recommend checking out some of your local churches and rec centers. Many of these places do not require you be a member or regular attendee in order to rent out a room. In many cases you can rent out a room pretty cheap. Below are the step by steps showcasing how we celebrated this little princesses Brave birthday.
Party Games, Or Lack There Of
I had a hard time finding games or crafts we could do inside that didn’t involve shooting arrows or some sort of messy food. So, I didn’t plan any games or crafts for her party. This is very ironic because I’m constantly planning crafts, experiments and games on a regular basis even when there isn’t a party. But I decided that the play gym would be their game. The kids arrived, checked in with me, got a name badge and were turned loose in the play gym. Most parents hung out (which I’m so thankful when they hang out, I’ve run into some uncomfortable situations with kids just being dropped off at parties for parents to seriously not return) and shared cake with all of us. Once they were done playing I corralled them in for ice cream, cake and presents!
Follow the Wisps
Now, to find the play gym in our church you must walk through the doors, go past a receptionist desk, turn to the right and you can’t miss it. But for people who had never been there before I had to come up with an idea for a cute theme related way to lead parents to the play gym. So I came up with “Follow the Wisps”. The wisps play an important part in the movie so I decided to incorporate them here.
- Black construction paper
- light blue tissue paper
- glue stick
- white chalk
- To make the wisps, cut one sheet of tissue paper in half. Fold one of the cut pieces in half and crumble into a ball and glue to the middle of the black construction paper. Now, there are much neater and cleaner ways to make a nice round fluffy ball of tissue paper but this worked well for me.
- Use white chalk to write directions or sayings on the black construction paper for guests.
- Tape them along the path to the party room.
Princess Merida Hair
Initially I was going to purchase a Princess Merida dress and wig for my daughter, however after succombing to sticker shock, I decided to make a wig. Holy Smokes, there is no way I was paying $30-$40 for her to wear a wig once at her party and maybe 2-3 times for Halloween! So I came up with this. It totally served it’s purpose. I’ll give you that it’s not as totally awesome as the wig you can buy but for less than $2.00 I’m not complaining. We did have a hard time keeping it on her head once I got all of the ribbon on so I ended up clipping it to her hair.She already had a simple crushed velvet style dress that she wore along with her wig. I also figured the wig wouldn’t last long since she would be running and playing in the play gym. Here is the “wig” I made for my little princess Merida.
- Red or Orange Curling Ribbon
- Plastic Headbands
***Both items pictured above were purchased at the dollar store***
- Cut long pieces of curling ribbon and tie them onto the headband.
- Use scissors to curl the ribbon.
- Continue doing this until you achieve the amount of thickness you want. I’ll warn you, this part takes a while.
My daughter begged me to bring in cupcakes for her classmates. She wanted something of course Brave themed so I began to wrack my brain. This is what I came up with! These are my bow and arrow cupcakes. Very simple and completely adorable! The Merida doll pictured above came from a cake decorating set I bought from the bakery at my local Walmart store. She is from a kit that they would use to put on a sheet cake designed with a Brave theme. It only cost me around $6.00 and came with Merida, a thin plastic Angus (her horse) and three plastic baby bears stacked on top of each other (her brothers)! Totally worth it!
- Mini cupcakes
- Buttercream icing in white, red and blue
- Piping bag with tip 12 and tip 2 or 3
- Sucker sticks
- Bake up a batch of miniature cupcakes.
- Using tip 12, pipe a circle around the outside edge of the cupcake in white
- Moving inward, pipe a circle inside the white one, in blue.
- Pipe a Red dot inside the blue circle.
- Next pipe pull out lines with tip 2 or 3 around the end of a sucker stick to make the feathers of the arrow.
- Then stick them into the center of the red dot on the cupcake.
Princess Merida’s Castle
My strong-willed little red-head daughter and I had a difficult time coming to an agreement on her cake. I wanted to make just a pretty “girlie” type of castle. You know, white with lots of pink and flowers. But Ohhhhhhh NO! My little said that it had to be gray just like Princess Merida’s castle AND she wanted it constructed like Princess Merida’s castle. If you’ve ever seen the movie (or do a quick google search for her Princess Merida’s castle) you would know that her castle is dilapidated, crumbling and sort of falling apart. It’s also shaped a bit odd, long with tall walls. The castle is not what our image of a princesses castle would look like. I didn’t have the time to construct a scale model of the castle from Brave, or honestly the patience. After a few good battles between she and I, I constructed the above cake. She ended up being very happy with it and the kids and parents at the party loved it.
- 10 or 12 inch square pan for the bottom tier
- 9 inch round for middle
- 6 inch round for top
- Buttercream icing
- Brick impression mat
- Bake your cakes as normal, level, stack with filling.
- After icing your buttercream, wait a few minutes so that it drys or crusts (if you are using a buttercream that crusts over, if not you may have problems making the brick impression with the mat)
- Take the brick impression mat and hold it against the buttercream and slightly press to make the impression into the icing.
- If you are not using a buttercream that crusts over, then you can take a flat edge spatula and create the look of bricks by pressing the edge into the icing of the cake.
- Assemble the tiers. For more info on this click here. This link gives you just one of many ways to construct tiers.
- Carefully place the Princess Merida figures purchased from your local grocers bakery around your cake.
- Roll out fondant color of choice and cut to the shape of the door and windows using a fondant cutter or flat edge spatula. Then attach to the cake with icing.
Ice Cream Cone Towers
- Waffle Cones
- Wafer Cones
- Royal icing or melted chocolate
- Wilton Color Mist in Black (This is essentially spray paint for cakes)
Using royal icing or melted chocolate, “glue” two wafer cone bottoms to each other to form the base of one tower. Glue a waffle cone on top of one wafer cone to form the peak of the tower. Color Mist your cones in black to age the look of them. I did this but it’s hard to really see it in the picture. Glue the towers onto the cake board at the corners of the cake.