Today, Ned and I made the 12 birthday invitations for his upcoming ‘dinosaur’ party. Yes, my son is now dinosaur obsessed but I am a little thankful that this year we have a new theme to work with! I was kind of wondering how I was going to come up with something inventive for a third ‘truck’ inspired party…
Birthday invitations are always a creative challenge. There is nothing I like more than a creative challenge, and although it takes time and a little bit of effort, working together with your child to make their own invitation is so worth it. Ned couldn’t wait to finish them so he could drop two of the invitations off into our neighbour’s letterboxes. You could have bottled his excitement! And all afternoon he has been asking me when he can go to school to take his other invites to his friends. (He’ll be there tomorrow.)
There was no way we could have a dinosaur invitation without an egg. In recent weeks, Ned has watched two dinosaur babies crack their way out. We visited the Explora-saurus exhibition at the Brisbane Museum (it’s on until April, and well worth a visit if you too have dinosaur-mad children) in the last week of holidays and his highlight was leaving the gift shop with one of those eggs you put in a bowl of water and wait to see what appears. Then Grandpa gave him another one. Lucky boy. Both dinosaurs ‘hatched’ overnight and broke free of their egg shell (with the slight help of Ned’s fingers in the morning.) And for the past few weeks, we’ve been taking these swollen and soggy dinosaurs with us on everyday adventures.
So, there’s our inspiration…and here is what we did.
How to make your own dinosaur in an egg birthday invitation.
The first thing to do is to draw up a template for your egg, complete with a ‘cracking’ line. Be sure to keep the crack line fairly low, no higher than midway or you run out of room for the dinosaur.
Next, place a piece of paper over the top half and trace the top of the shell. On this template, add a small amount of grey space (as shown on the left). This is where your ‘egg’ shells will overlap and allow you to pin them together.
The fun part is drawing your dinosaur creature. Ned guided me in drawing this for him using inspiration from a few dinosaur books we have at home. His requests was that he wanted his dinosaur to have a spike on the nose, hard scales down the back of the head, and SPOTS. Well, who is to say dinosaurs didn’t have spots? Now to put it all together.
Cut out the paper templates and use these as a guide to cut your egg from coloured cardboard. (Not all our invitations are plain. We also used patterned scrapbook papers.)
You’ll also need to cut out a piece of cardboard that is to be the background. It needs to match the size of the top shell, and have some extra length so it can be glued to the back of the base too.
To put it together, place the two shells one on top of the other as shown. Poke a needle through both pieces (this is the area shaded grey on the second template) to help you position the paper fastener easily.
Push the paper fastener (brad) through the cardboard and flatten out the pegs on the reverse to hold the egg shells together, but allowing movement to open/close the egg. The egg should now open and close quite easily.
Put some glue on the lower section of the backing cardboard only and glue in place on the reverse side of the egg. Leave it to dry. Make sure the egg can still open and close.
Cut out a dinosaur head template. Use pencils or markers to colour it in. I had fun remembering my childhood by colouring in the white card with pencil shavings. Remember doing this? Ned had fun too!
The last step is to pop the dinosaur into the egg. I made tiny envelopes (on which I wrote the party details) from a scrap bit of cardboard, and added a loop of green thread. This went around the dinosaur’s neck before he was glued in place. The invitation envelope then sits outside the egg, a little surprise for Ned’s guests.
We glued the envelope shut and added a hand-carved love stamp to the outside, along with the name of Ned’s friend. And of course, some ‘dirt’. It’s been raining here today non-stop so we couldn’t find any dry dirt to sprinkle on, so we used chocolate sprinkles instead. Did the trick!