It's a Bird! It's a Plane!
My older son is major into superheroes. I mean, major. You name a superhero, and chances are he knows it and can tell you what their power is. His favorite is Captain America, but he's not too picky...he'll take just about any one that comes along. For his 4th birthday I wanted to do something both superhero-y and memorable for his party favors.
Now, I am not a fan of most birthday party favor options. This is no criticism of my friends and fellow moms who have happily distributed the requisite bag-o-swag that tends to be expected at preschool parties - I've done it myself. But this time I was desperate to do something that didn't include super bouncy balls, lollipops, crayons or, Lord save me, whistles.
What I really wanted was capes.
I did a search on Etsy and found a number of excellent cape options - some were true superhero logos, some were superhero-esque with specific initials, some were even available in pink or purple for those more inclined to like Wonder Woman. But with a guest list hovering near 25 and a cost-per-cape of around $10, things were starting to get a bit pricey. Determined not to give in and resort to bags of trashable toys, I decided I could try to make them myself.
I found a few blogs that talked about making your own capes and gave some helpful ideas. But with 25-30 capes ahead of me and no sewing machine in sight, I was looking for the simplest option. I decided to just make 3 different kinds - Captain America, Batman and Superman. This was helpful in that it narrowed down the different colors of fabric I had to buy, and they are pretty basic logos - nothing too complex.
Once I decided on my chosen superheroes, I then went to JoAnn's and stocked up on felt. For three and four-year-olds I decided on capes that were 18 inches wide by 24 inches long. I also bought spray adhesive and fabric glue, not being sure which would work best, as well as iron-on Velcro for the opening.
One of the blogs I found, sugartotdesigns.blogspot.com, had a great tutorial for making superhero branded storage bins. She mentioned a free downloadable font called Hall of Heroes (www.dafont.com/hall-of-heroes.font) which has just about every hero logo you can think of. Once I downloaded that, it was easy to pick out my logos and print them on my printer to create templates. I then used the templates to create the logos for my three hero capes of choice.
I created another template to shape the top of the cape and create a neck opening. Then it was assembly line time - cutting out 30 capes, cutting out 30 different logos, using spray adhesive and fabric glue to attach the logos, and then ironing on the Velcro. Sure, it sounds like a lot of work...but I finished them all in 2 evenings in front of the TV. And the best part? The capes cost less than $2 apiece to make!!
Even now, 4 months later, the capes make an appearance on a weekly basis. In fact, last night we were visiting one of my son's classmates, a girl no less, and found her Superman cape holding a place of honor in her playroom. My younger son even wore it the whole time we were there. I have to say, though it was a lot more work, I'm thrilled that my son had a lasting reminder of his 4th birthday and his love of all things superhero.