My son recently asked for a birthday party and he wanted it to be a Star Wars theme. He loved the movie and has watched all the episodes and loved the idea of riding in his very own Millennium Falcon. As this was to be his first party with his friends, I didn't want to disappoint him and hence searched online to see if anyone had done something similar but all that I found were of small models to hold in your hand or huge over-sized ones built with power tools and using wood etc.
Since I couldn't find any that matched what I had in mind, I decided to google to check out images on the Millennium Falcon (all in various angles) and after much pondering, I knew I wanted the following:
- A Millennium Falcon that was light and easy for kids to handle ie. have handles for the kids to hold onto
- Made of materials that are easy to get and if possible using recycled materials or items found at home
- To resemble the Millennium Falcon as much as possible
- To be durable enough for a party and possibly to keep as decoration in his room afterwards
Step 1: Gathering Your Materials
Here is the list of materials you will need:
- Cardboard - 3pc. I got mine measuring 112cm by 73.5cm. Do check out your local art supply store and get the largest size cardboard as you want it to be big enough for your kid to get into (the inner circle) and long and wide enough for you to cut it into the shape of the Millennium Falcon.
- Styrofoam shapes
- Long Cylindrical shapes - 2pc measuring roughly 7.5cm by 20.5cm.
- Spheres - 15cm diameter balls that can be split into 2 halves - you'll need only one half of the sphere to be used as the satellite dish
- Cone shape - 2pc (the base of the cone should fit the long cylindrical styrofoam)
- Masking Tape - get good quality ones from your art supply store as the cheap ones may not stick well and start peeling off your creations after 1 day....
- Some scrap pieces of fabric or felt - these will be used as straps to go over your kid's shoulders when wearing or riding in the Millennium Falcon
- Toilet rolls & kitchen roll - lots of them in various diameters or just look around the house to see what else you can use instead.
- A good glue like the Beacon's craft glue I got from a scrapbooking store or a glue gun would do the job too.
- Hose - you can get these from your local hardware store. Only about 50cm is required. Would be good to bring your kid along to try out the various sizes or thickness of the hoses and which is nicer to hold onto as the handle. We found the hard ones difficult to hold and preferred the soft and more pliable ones better.
- Wire - get some craft wires as these will be used together with the hose for the handles of the Millennium Falcon
- Acrylic paint - you will need grey (or you can skip this), silver, red and blue fluorescent paint
- Black Marker
1. DIY Circle Cardboard cutter - I bought a long piece of wood from the art store and got my husband to help. Pls do check out this video that I found on you-tube -
Step 2: Drawing the Outline on the Cardboard
Have a few print-outs of the Millennium Falcon (MF) on hand so you can refer to it. Here are some points to keep in mind when drawing the outline of the MF:
- what is the hip measurement of your child? or if your child is on the small side, you may want to draw your inner circle a little bigger so his or her friends can get into the MF too.
- Get your child with arms stretched out on his/her sides to pretend to grab hold of something and measure the distance to make sure the MF is not too big that it is hard for them to hold onto (*I also added handles to the MF so it is easier for the kids to hold and handle the ship when 'flying' around the house)
- how thick should the MF be? Make sure it is not too thick or else the overall structure will be too heavy for them or hard to grip
Based on my 4-yr-old and 7-yr-old, I made the MF with the following measurements:
- The diameter of the outer circle is 71cm.
- A slightly bigger circle than the above of about 76cm for back of the MF.
- The inner circle has a diameter of 23cm.
- The whole structure is about 4cm thick.
Draw 2 outlines of the MF on both the cardboards (for the bottom and the top of the MF).
Step 3: Cutting Out the Design and Other Shapes
- When cutting out the outline of the MF, it is important to note that it is best to make several cuts on the cardboard to make a clean cut so as not to cause the cardboard to bend or fold.
- Use a ruler and to ensure it doesn't move while cutting, stick a piece of masking tape on one-side of the ruler and have the masking tape face down so it is less likely to move while cutting.
- To cut the styrofoam shapes, it is easiest if you have a battery operated heating element styrofoam cutter, but if not I have found using a serrated bread knife works as well - cut at an angle and saw through it a few times to get through cleanly. If there are rough edges you can rub the styrofoam against each other to get the rough bits to come off.
- If there are other materials you can get from recycling what you already have at home then go ahead and use them instead.
- Cut the 2 outlines of the MF first and then
- The inner circle for the child to fit through
- Using the 3rd cardboard, cut out the 2 pieces of cardboard according to the 2nd picture as shown: a piece for the back of the MF as well as a rectangular piece for the front of the MF to create a pop-up 3-D effect.
- With the remaining pieces or scraps of cardboard, cut them into long strips about 3cm thick. These will be used to stick along the outline of the MF to support the top outline piece of the MF.
- Cut the toilet rolls so they are only about 3cm high and cut as many as you can to be used to support the both outline pieces. *You may find that with 1 toilet roll, you can get 2pcs x 3cm width pieces and a thin 1cm width piece (depending of width of toilet rolls you may need about 10 to 18pcs. Keep these 1cm pieces to be used later (you will need about 11 of these)
- Long Styrofoam cylindrical shapes - 2pc measuring roughly 7.5cm by 20.5cm. Cut 1pc into half, length-wise down. With the 2nd piece, cut it to fit the cockpit body. *see the Styrofoam PDF file
- Styrofoam cone shape - 2pc. On the first cone, Cut off the top end so it can be used for the cockpit of the MF. On the second piece, you will need to cut off the end and then halve it to attach to the 1st styrofoam cylindrical piece that was already halve to be used on the MF. *see the Styrofoam PDF file
- Styrofoam Spheres - 15cm diameter balls that are actually 2 halves that have been fitted to form a sphere. You'll need only one half of the sphere to be used as the satellite dish. If the spheres cannot be split you will need to cut them in half.
Step 4: Laying Out the Pieces (inside and Out)
Next it would be good to layout the pieces first to see how they will fit and also for you to decide on where you would want to place the 2 handles and also where the straps for the MF will go near the inner circle space. Once you have decided on the placement of the handles and the straps, glue the cut-out cardboard for the back of the MF and the rectangular piece cardboard to the top outline cardboard. Then make holes for the handles and the straps. Next, tear off strips of masking tape to reinforce and seal the holes you made for all the handles and straps.
Once the above is done, go ahead and start sticking the support cardboard on the base outline of the MF :
- Using the 3cm thick cardboard strips, apply a layer of Beacon's craft glue or use your glue gun on the edge of strip and stick along the edge of the MF outline (this will be the base of the the MF).
- Next stick the 3cm strips along the edge of the inner circle.
- Then, stick the 3cm thick toilet rolls around. Be sure to add a few each time and hold it up to make sure it is not too heavy for your child to carry.
Step 5: Making and Fixing the Handles and Straps
Next you will need to make the handles and straps and attach it to the top outline of the MF cardboard:
- Cut the hose you bought into 2 pieces.
- Then cut a length of wire that is twice the length of the hose and fold that wire in half and then push the wire through the hose until the folded end comes out the other side.
- Next, put the handles end into the holes you have made in the top outline and using a pair of pliers, push the open ends of the wire through the folded end and twist it a few times so that it will prevent the hose from opening up and slipping out of the cardboard.
- Repeat this step with the other handle.
- Cut two pieces of fabric and sew it to make the straps. I made mine out of felt and then put it through the holes in the cardboard and knotted the end under the cardboard.
Step 6: Sealing the Top and Base of Millennium Falcon
Once both the bottom and top outline cardboards are done, it is now time to seal the top outline to the bottom outline. Once this is done, you can then glue the styrofoam pieces as shown in the picture above as well as the 1cm thick toilet rolls for the back (6pc) and front (4pc).
Finally, seal all the rough edges of the cardboard and tear off strips of masking tape and stick these over the styrofoam pieces to the cardboard.
*For the satellite to stay and stick well, first glue a 1cm thick toilet roll on the cardboard first and then apply glue around the top of the toilet roll and press the satellite down onto the toilet roll for a min and it should stay on well.
Step 7: Painting & Drawing in the Lines
For my MF above, I actually painted the entire area grey first but decided that it was too dull and flat looking that I then applied a 2nd and 3rd coat of silver paint all over. Once you're done, paint in the other details ie. some parts were red, and areas where the 1cm toilet rolls were grey (the four in the front of the MF were grey inside and outside the toilet rolls while the six toilet rolls at the back of the MF were grey inside the toilet rolls), and the cockpit area had black glass windows.
Leave it to dry completely for a couple of hours before you draw in the lines. *Use the pictures of the Millennium Falcon that you have previously printed as reference.
You're DONE and ready to surprise your little one! I hope the above instructions were easy to follow and I hope you and your family and friends have fun playing with it!
Keep a lookout for my next Instructables on How to make your own Tie Fighter!!!
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