Yesterday my eldest son turned 7 and we had an amazing carnival themed party. This was an idea I had back in February and after months of conceptualising, planning and DIY it was great to see it come to fruition – and even better to see how much fun my son and his friends had (not to mention the grownups).
Early in the morning I was out back setting up the stalls and giving the garden a fairground atmosphere with some bunting. We had 4 game stalls – Angry birds Tin Can Alley, Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball, Ball & Bucket a Shooting Gallery – a stand alone Hook a Duck game, and a snack stall.
Stalls and bunting
When the kids arrived they dove straight in.
Archery was very popular, and I managed to send the kids home with all the eyes they came with!
Face painting went down a treat!
And candy floss making sessions drew a big crowd.
Kids young and old enjoyed the photo booth 😀
But by far the most popular part of Backyard Carnival was Splash Dunk and the Wet Sponge Stocks. The kids loved soaking the grownups and each other in equal measure!
Lately I’ve been working on a new pallet carnival stall design for my son’s carnival themed birthday party. So far I’ve completed three with another two to go.
The original stall I made back in April was more of a fascia than an actual stall. I used a full pallet and fastened two posts to the side which supported a small marquee made from small pallet pieces. The two problems I encountered with this design were stability (the stall had a tendency to topple over, even when I attached feet to it that could be pegged in the ground) and painting (the gaps in the pallet boards were very awkward to paint).
The next stall I made was for a local youth centre who wanted a carnival style snack stall for their birthday celebration party in June. This time I completely dismantled the pallet and built it up again from scratch, making sure the boards were flush together to facilitate painting. I also included small sides to give it a more authentic stall look and added stability.
For my third effort I had bought a £3 striped table cloth to try as an alternative to painting the stall (undercoat and gloss are both time consuming and costly). With this method I didn’t need to worry about gaps in the pallets as the table cloth would cover them. I spent a couple of weeks bringing home the pallets I needed, some of which were used in full, others dismantled for the sides and marquee.
First I attached a couple of feet to a full pallet. Then I made the stall sides from pallet boards and blocks. Next, the marquee went up, using long pallet boards for the posts and shorter ones for the marquee frame. Then I painted the posts and finished off by stapling the table cloth (in two parts) to the fascia of the stall and marquee.
I’m really pleased with the end result – it looks much more like a bona fide carnival stall, and it’s much sturdier than the previous designs, plus it’s already proving popular with the kids! 🙂
The Backyard Carnival birthday party draws nearer and as well as working on more stalls (of a new design) to house carnival games, another game is ready to sit beside ‘Angry Birds Tin Can Alley‘, ‘Ball & Bucket‘ and ‘Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball‘.
This was as easy as it gets really since nearly all the components were bought (for next to nothing) from either ‘pound shops’ or eBay. There was just a small amount of Blue Petering, ie. fashioning a rod from one of the pieces of an unwanted play pen (a garden cane was my first thought and would work just as well, if not better, but I had this to hand).
At first I screwed small hook eyes into the rubber ducks but this made them slightly top-heavy and prone to tipping over mid-game. I also had some reservations about the difficulty of hooking the ducks like this as the hook eyes were very small.
With that in mind I recalled the magnets I’d bought earlier in the year for a shooting range carnival game and decided to put some of them to use here. A few drops of super glue later and we were ready to play! See the video below of my son (whom Backyard Carnival is for) giving it it’s first test drive.
The latest addition to the Backyard Carnival project is this Space Invaders themed Roll-a-Ball game. This was a very quick and easy project to complete. The most time consuming aspect of the job was waiting for the paint to dry!
The last time our family went to a theme park my son spent hours at one of these stalls so I knew it had to be a fixture at Backyard Carnival. After acquiring an old furniture board that would serve as a base I got a few other pieces of scrap wood together and got to it.
Putting it together was just a simple matter of cutting a few pieces of pallet wood to size and fixing them to the base once everything had been painted. It’s worth mentioning that the base is slightly warped due to being left in the rain for some time, but this simply adds an element of classic carny rigging! 😀
Another step closer to bringing the carnival to the backyard! That’s three games completed now.
Since I receive a lot of pallets this video has been invaluable to me. Before I saw it I thought the crow bar method was the only way to dismantle a pallet, but if you’ve ever tried it you’ll know that it can be pretty difficult!
With this method you can have those pallets dismantled in half the time and with a fraction of the effort. Great!