Alice in Wonderland Party

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About: Software developer by day, maker by every other minute of the day.

We threw a 40th birthday party for my wife, and she's a big fan of Alice in Wonderland so the theme was an obvious choice.

Being the techie my biggest contribution was the animated butterflies, plus all the grunt work of setting things up.


General decorations and supplies:

Eat me cups: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YORJOKM/ref=p...

Alice figure: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DRHM7BK/ref=p...

Fairy Mushrooms: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JQ2LPRM/ref=p...

Solar Mushrooms: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079CCP6TY/ref=p...

3-Tier server: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LP3L5Y6/ref=p...

Buffet organiser: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073TBFWN4/ref=p...

Fairy teapot house: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N3NR5L3/ref=p...

Cheshire cat: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M0QW3D9/ref=p...

3-tier rectangle server: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GWDFR5J/ref=p...

Wonderland mini door: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H2D664P/ref=p...

Table cloth, red: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078T34MMB/ref=p...

Butterflies/dragonflies: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07872ZYXW/ref=p...

Checkered table runner: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079Z9WCGG/ref=p...

Moss: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BG1FI0/ref=p...

Drink me bottles: https://www.amazon.com/Talking-Tables-Wonderland-S...

Gigantic flowers: https://www.hobbylobby.com/Floral-Wedding/Flower-S...

Real flowers: local florist

Teapots and cups: Our kitchen

There was a bunch more stuff we got at party city like paper plates, little signs, etc, all Wonderland themed.

Games:

Giant Connect four: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N75BRBF/ref=p...

Giant Jenga: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G2T3VYE/ref=p...

Giant Animated Butterflies:

3 micro servos: https://www.adafruit.com/product/169

Arduino: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nano-3-0-ATMEGA328P-FT232...

Arduino sensor sheild: https://www.ebay.com/c/1941987190

Battery pack: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3788

Cardboard: easy to find, especially if you order all of the above.. :)

Paperclips: You do have a drawer of office supplies, right?

Poster paint, Hot glue: Always on hand

Doors:

Cardboard, poster paint, hot glue, gold spray paint for doorknobs.

Step 1: Food

A friend baked and decorated the cup cakes. She's not a professional, but I think they came out perfect and delicious and as good as anything we could have bought.

I made cucumber sandwiches, veggie trays and fruit platters.

We also had pinwheels with meat and cheese (costco or samsclub), cheese trays and meat trays. And deviled eggs.

We put french macarons (https://www.samsclub.com/sams/marche-de-paris-auth... into the little eat me cups.

In the little drink me bottles is a strange greenish minty liquid...

The cucumber sandwich recipe is as follows:

8 oz cream cheese

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste (I did not add pepper, as my wife does not like it..)

1 long English cucumber thinly sliced

1 loaf sliced bread crusts removed

Mix the first 5 ingredients and then spread in a thin layer on each side of the bread. Place thinly sliced cucumber in between. Cut off the crusts and slice into 3 "fingers" (depending on the size and shape of your bread..)

Step 2: Games

These were the surprise hit of the party!

What Alice in wonderland party would be complete without a Croquet game? We also had giant jenga, and a giant connect four.

Step 3: Doors, Photo Op

We made doors in various sizes out of cardboard, painted with simple poster paint. We recycled the boxes from all the other stuff we ordered! The initial doorway with the streamers is a door frame left over from a door we replaced, we only needed the actual door. I saved the frame because that's how I roll. Finally found a use for it! Now it will probably get used a few more times for other parties. Go recycling and upcycling!

Also did a photo op with a backdrop over the wall, and two huge flowers.

Step 4: Giant Animated Butterflies

Here's the part where my skills come out.

These are made from cardboard and hot glued together.

I used some smaller boxes that just happened to unfold perfectly so I didn't have to cut the wing joints. I freehanded the butterfly outline (I looked at a kids butterfly book) and cut it out with an x-acto knife. I swear I think I was born with one in my hand.

To form the mechanism, I made a rectangle about 10" x 4" and folded it into a u shape. Some slots are cut in the middle to make room for the servo control arm and for the strap that will hold the servo in place. That strap is put through to the other side and glued down.

I made the linkage from a paper clip, bending a z shape in one end to fit into the holes on the servo control arm. The other end is straightened.

When assembling the servo to the wings, feed the linkage through a hole in the middle of the wings first, then move the cardboard U box into place, and glue. If you glue it first and then try to get the linkage into place, it will be difficult, requiring some bending. Trust me. In the prototype I made this mistake.

Then, for strength, I glue another u shape onto the bottom.

Once assembled, move the servo arm to its mid-way (vertically) position. Put the wings straight, and then bend the end of the linkage over the top of the wing, and then under the wing. This way it can push up and down on the wing center.

Connecting the servo wires to the arduino is easy if you use a servo/sensor shield, as these provide all the power and signal wires in sets of three to match what a typical servo has. I used I/O pins 3, 5 and 6.

I had 2 continuous rotation servos and a standard servo on hand. The standard servo made for better movement I thought, but also the two kinds moved differently so that might have added more realism. Either way, it was really cool to watch!

I had several young kids ask me how I did it. I will probably work up a lesson plan to build something like this, as they are all home school kids, and this would be a great little project for them to do.

The code is quite simple:

#include <Servo.h>

Servo butterfly1;
Servo butterfly2;
Servo butterfly3;

void setup() {
    butterfly1.attach(3); //** standard servo
    butterfly2.attach(5); //** continuous rotation
    butterfly3.attach(6);
    
    butterfly2.write(90);
    butterfly3.write(90);
    
    randomSeed(analogRead(0));
}

void loop() {
  long wingpos;
  long butterfly;
  long wingspeed;
  
  wingpos = random(180);
  wingspeed = random(5) + 90;
  butterfly = random(3);
  
  switch(butterfly) {
    case 1:
      butterfly1.write(wingpos);
      break;
    case 2:
      butterfly2.write(92);
      delay(50);
      butterfly2.write(90);

      break;
    case 3:
      butterfly3.write(92);
      delay(50);
      butterfly3.write(90);
      
  }
  
  delay(1000);
}

I didn't really measure or plan things out too much because this was cardboard and I didn't have a lot of time. Despite this, with a little tweaking, it all worked quite well.

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    3 Discussions

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    Aric Caley

    20 days ago

    This party literally occured saturday before the contest ended so I didn't have much time to make the instructable. I will probably do a more detailed one just for the butterflies as these are already planned to get reused in another party.. :)

    0
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    AnandM54

    21 days ago

    Awesome party theme and the party also....!!

    0
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    jessyratfink

    21 days ago

    How cute!! This is such a great theme for a party :)