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A DIY LEGO Party on a Budget

2020 has brought many new challenges, including how to DIY a birthday party on a budget.  I’ve learned over the years that my kids do not care if their partys are Pinterest worthy or if everything is perfectly placed.  I also know that the party is for my kids, not for the other moms that may be present.  So, if my kids are OK with lopsided and imperfect, then I am too.  This is really hard for me and my perfectionist mindset.  Here is how we accomplished a perfectly imperfect 2020 DIY LEGO themed birthday party without spending a fortune.

But first, some background:

My little Bud’s 5th birthday party was supposed to be his first “friend” party.  A big celebration with friends and games and fun.  But, like many others, we had to change our plans.  Instead, it was a family only, physically distanced party.  In order to keep the disappointment to a minimum, we made the most out of the situation.

Each year, he has gotten to choose the theme for his party.  This year was an obvious choice, judging by the number of LEGOs in the floor.

Two months before his party, I began scrolling through Pinterest and filling up his Birthday Party board with LEGO themed ideas.  Many of my ideas were inspired by “How to throw a Lego birthday party” at Themanylittlejoys.com.  I’m going to share with you the best ideas we were able to pull off and a couple that didn’t work out so well. 

LEGO Countdown Calendar

Are all kids obsessed with “how many more days until….?”  We usually have a countdown calendar for our big events and turning 5 was HUGE!  So, we began counting down the days  with our DIY LEGO Countdown Calendar.  

DIY LEGO shaped countdown calendar red, green, and yellow

LEGO Countdown Calendar

Not only was this easy to make, my Bud got to practice writing his numbers in the process.  We used cardstock and I cut out some circle-ish shapes for the bumps on the LEGOs (Did you know they are called studs?). Bud wrote the dates on the circles for each day until his birthday.  I used Scotch mounting tape to make the circles stand off of the paper (fancy, huh?).

Each day he would mark out the date and count to see how many days were left.

If you’d like to see more ways to countdown to a big day, check out our favorite Advent Calendars that can be used year-round. Or sometimes we like to count UP to a big day, like our Halloween Count-Up Monster.

Giant LEGO Man

Did anybody else get to be on a first name basis with their UPS delivery person during quarantine? I ordered so much from Walmart and Amazon during the lockdown that I ended up with a massive cardboard box collection.  When Walmart sent me two small items in one of the biggest boxes I’ve ever seen, I decided then I wanted to make a larger-than-life LEGO man.  I was inspired by a beautiful, professional looking cardboard man at My Modern Met.

Giant DIY Cardboard LEGO man figure

Giant DIY Cardboard LEGO man figure

For the Body

I used one long box and cut it in half to make the legs.  I used two extra large boxes for the body.  The box for the bottom half was left square.  For the chest, I folded the flaps of the box up at an angle to form the shoulders.  I used a roll of packing tape to tape everything together.  

 For the Head

I used a square box and just worked with it to form it into a round box.  This took a while to loosen up the cardboard enough to make it flexible.  I used a blown up beach ball to help the box hold its shape.  I also stuffed the rest with brown packing paper (again, thank you Walmart).  I cut out two circles of cardboard to cover the top and the bottom of the rounded box.  For the rings on the top of the head and the neck, I used the flaps of a box and just rolled them into circles.  Two black ovals for eyes and a semi-circle smile and there ya have it!  

 For the Arms

This was the part that I saved for last because I couldn’t quite figure out how to do the arms.  I ended up using pool noodles.  I used garden stakes to stick in the end of the pool noodle and through the box to hold it in place.  For the hands, I used cardboard shaped into curves.  I added a cardboard post between the hand and the arm for the wrist.  I just stuck it into the end of the noodle.  

I covered everything in large construction paper and I used a ton on tape to hold it all together.  All in all, it took about 5 hours to complete the entire thing.  I built a piece at a time and took several days to get it all done.  It was super hot, so I took my time getting it finished. 

Our giant LEGO man was placed in the yard as a decoration and a photo background for the birthday party.  Everyone loved it.  *One big mistake I made: I did not attach the pieces together or stake it down in any way.  So, one large gust of wind sent him tumbling to the ground.  We just stacked him back up and kept enjoying our time together.  

Does it look homemade?  Absolutely!  Did my little Bud love it?  Yes, he did!  And that is all that mattered.  His enjoyment made it all worthwhile.  

LEGO Decoration

I was inspired by many of the ideas found here at Themanylittlejoys.com. I thought about making a LEGO Pinata, however, it ended up just being a decorative box.  It still turned out to be a cute decoration.

DIY LEGO Decoration

DIY LEGO Box Decoration

I covered a cardboard box with red construction paper.  I then fringed some red crepe paper and glued it around the box in layers.  I used the crepe paper to cover 4 jar lids and hot glued them to the box.  Finally, I printed off 4 LEGO logos to glue to the “studs”. It was a cute decoration to have on the table.

LEGO T-Shirts

I like for us to have matching shirts, so I bought a LEGO man SVG file from Etsy and I used my Cricut to make my first iron-ons.  We already had the t-shirts and I had bought the iron-on vinyl on sale earlier in the year.  I am slowly learning to use my Cricut but I thought they turned out cute.  Now, I will say my iron-on job was not great and some of the pieces started peeling off after they were washed.  But, they were good for the party 🙂

Family wearing DIY LEGO man t-shirts at birthday party

DIY LEGO T-shirts

LEGO Birthday Cake

I am not a baker.  So, I had a small panic attack when my little Bud asked for a 3 layer cake.  I have a hard time baking brownies from a box, much less decorating a 3-layer cake (also from a box).  But, that’s exactly what he got even if it was lopsided and held together with way too much icing!

DIY LEGO Cake with candy LEGO men and LEGO blocks

DIY LEGO Cake

Steps to create LEGO candies using silicone molds

Candy LEGOs in Molds

I ordered LEGO figure molds from Amazon. I used candy melts with a little food coloring to fill the molds to make the LEGOs and men.  The LEGOs had a layer of no-bake cookie dough as well. Bud was happy with how it turned out and that was all that mattered on his special day.

 

LEGO Oui Jar

This cute little jar was used to hold utensils on the party table. To read about how I made it and see other ideas for using empty glass jars, click here.

Lego themed painted Oui jar

This LEGO themed painted Oui jar was used as a utensil holder

 

LEGO Table Top

While this wasn’t a part of the party, it was part of the after-party organization!

DIY LEGO Table Top

LEGO Table Top Play Table

We found this play table at a yard sale for $10.  The table was in great shape, but the tabletop was well-worn.  Over the past couple of years, we used the table for trains and toys.  Recently, our fascination with LEGOs made it clear what this table would be used for.  

My Dear bought a piece of wood and cut it to size.  We sanded the edges and got to work on the top.  I ordered a set of 8 flat 10” x 10” building block bases.  They were not LEGO brand, but the blocks we have fit perfectly on them (and they were SO much cheaper).  

I was able to score the plastic with an Exacto knife and cut the big pieces down to size.  I tried to keep as many pieces whole as I could.  We decided on a water, sand, land design with a gray border all around.  The plastic cut fairly well, but I did have to file the edges somewhat.  

I arranged all the pieces and used blocks to hold it all together to make sure the bases were spaced just right.  Then, I used silicone adhesive to stick the bases to the wood.  I let it dry over night and removed all the blocks.  I still haven’t decided what to do on the opposite side of the boards yet.  My Goose is a great artist, so I may get her to paint it in the future.

I used Dollar Tree bins to hold the LEGOs.  They fit just right under the top.  I attempted to organize them at one point…ha!  I am happy if all the pieces get into a bin and out of the path of my bare feet or vacuum.  

What About You?

What are your favorite money-saving birthday party hacks?  Let me know in the comments below! And, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

22 Comments

    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks! It was a lot of fun 🙂

      Reply
  1. Andreea

    I love the cake
    Idea! Amazing. So creative

    I also use Lego in my Math tutoring session! Allows creativity too .

    Thank you ?

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks! We use LEGOs for learning activities, too! They are great for building graphs 🙂

      Reply
  2. Tabea

    Such good ideas! Wow, have to keep them in mind for my sons next birthday 🙂
    Thanks fot sharing!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      This Cajun popcorn is so good for sharing, if you can keep from eating it all by yourserlf first 🙂

      Reply
  3. Len Swegart

    Great job on the cake! You sure did put a lot of work and love into your son’s birthday. That truly makes it special!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thank you so much 🙂 It was a lot of fun!

      Reply
  4. Tasha

    Looks like an epic party! So creative!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks Tasha! It was a lot of fun 🙂

      Reply
  5. Jill

    This is such a cute idea, love all of the diy party touches!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks Jill! It was a lot of fun!

      Reply
  6. Karine

    I don’t have kids yet but we are expecting. Although we don’t have party hacks YET, I will definitely keep this list in handy. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Congratulations Karine! My best hack: let the kids lead the way for their parties and don’t worry about “perfection” 🙂

      Reply
  7. Brooke

    This is super cute! Great job!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks Brooke! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Reply
  8. Jenn Summers

    Love this! So very creative and looks like loads of fun. I love that lego cake!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks Jenn! I was so proud of that leaning tower of icing 🙂

      Reply
  9. Cindy

    Cool birthday theme, my son would have enjoyed it. Love that you DIYed the decorations!

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks Cindy! I like to try out new things each year. I can’t wait to see what he will come up with next year 🙂

      Reply
  10. Kimberlie

    My son is recently intrigued by Legos. This may be an excellent idea for his 5th birthday next year, if his interest holds. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Lifebetweenthedishes

      Thanks! Welcome to the LEGO stage!

      Reply

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How to DIY a Themed Birthday Party on a Budget

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