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While I think Eli was the real party animal at his birthday - I mean the kid was bouncing, smiling, performing and doing as much partying as he could - I think one of the most fun things to put together for Eli's first birthday party were the party animal centerpieces/party favors. While hunting Dollar General for cheap decor, I came across these plastic animals for a buck. As soon as I saw them, I knew I could make them over into party animals for his carnival-themed birthday, but there were only four and I needed 15. But Eli and I drove all over these cities and we also found the exact same animals at Michaels and Wal-Mart for the same price, so between all three stores, we had ourselves quite a few party animals.
The original coloring on these animals was pretty bad - especially the lion and tiger, they were actually really weird looking. And see the tiger below - how only two legs and the tail stand on the ground? They weren't perfect, but for a buck, I would make them work.
Alright, here's how I did it. Super simple.
First thing - get rid of those ghastly colors. Spray the heck out of those animals.
Spray painting gold isn't like spray painting white or another typical color. Every brand's gold looks different, so it can be hard to find one that's not too pink or orange or tinny looking. My favorite gold is by Krylon. I get it at Joann's, I don't think Home Depot carries it yet, but I could be wrong.
Okay, after you've painted them, let them cure for 24 hours.
And while you're letting them dry, make the hats. All you need is pretty paper, tinnnnnny little poms (found at Michaels) and a hot glue gun.
I used a 2" circle cutter to punch circles out of cardstock.
Then cut a slit half way through the circle to the center.
Then cut it like a pac-man. This is so you don't have too much extra as you wrap the paper around to create the hat.
Next, wrap the paper in a circle, just twist it all together into a cone shape, and hot glue the ends together.
Soon, you should have lots of hats, like this.
Then just add the pom with a dot of hot glue.
Finally, hot glue the hats onto the animals. I was amazed at how strong the glue held the hats on. We've had lots of kids playing with ours since the party and the hats are still on. Eli has even tried biting them off and they still won't come. Admittedly, some stayed on better than others, but I'd say that was the "DIY'er error," rather than the quality of materials.
And there you have it! Super simple party animals.
Now go forth, and party!