Tonawanda News

April 28, 2013

PINSPIRED: Pool noodles lightsabers are easy treat for little Jedi

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — For me, this was “The Pin.”

It was the first project or recipe I actually wound up trying after pinning it on Pinterest, and it turned out to be a complete runaway hit: The Pin that convinced me, “You know, this whole phenomenon is really sort of cool.” 

So, I hope you’ll forgive me for recycling a project from last summer for this week’s Pinspired. I really think it deserves sharing.

With a Star-Wars-loving little boy who was about to turn 4 years old, I was pretty sure we’d wind up celebrating with a Jedi-themed party with all his preschool classmates. This was his first party that wasn’t solely family, and I knew I was going to have to step up the Mommy game. How to entertain them? What sort of favors? How could we have an awesome event without going absolutely nuts?

I turned to Pinterest.

There was no shortage of ideas there, from recipes for “Yoda Soda” to Death Star pinatas. Some of it was a little forced, some of it was cool, some of it was “How much time do they have?” But I quickly fastened onto one idea that just seemed perfect:

Pool noodle lightsabers.

You can laugh. My husband did. But we eventually tracked down enough pool noodles to provide our entire class of Padawans with weaponry and I set to work.

Note: Pool noodles were already difficult to come by in mid-June, apparently by the same logic that puts some summer clothing in stores by March but impossible to find by July. They come in quite an array of colors, lengths and thicknesses, but for our purposes, we went with relatively skinny noodles in classic Jedi/Sith colors. (Green, blue, red and a few in Mace Windu purple, Sam’s favorite.) I grabbed a few in pink too, with the suspicion that some of the female Padawans attending our party would be interested. (I was right.)

You need one noodle for every two lightsabers you plan to create. Get a sharp knife, bend the noodle sharply in half at the center and cut. I found that the things pretty much wound up popping apart with a mere touch of a decently sharp blade.

Once you have all your half-noodles ready, it’s time to decorate. You can do anything from extremely simple to ridiculously detailed. I think I wound up pretty much in the middle. (OK, maybe just a tad toward the latter ....)

Wind the end of each lightsaber length in duct tape to create a grip. (Maybe a quarter of the way up the noodle.) Add black details with black electrical tape or black duct tape.

Voila. Lightsabers.

As children arrived at the party, we turned them loose in a big room with their brightly colored Jedi (or Sith) weapons and a bunch of gray balloons, with the instructions that they should try to keep their “training droids” (the balloons) in the air. I don’t know that any of them heard us, but they did it all the same.

There was shrieking. Happy shrieking. And the lightsabers and balloons kept the kids (and some of the adults) thoroughly entertained for the entire first half of party. Mission accomplished.

It’s nice, too, that pool noodles are quite lightweight ... and hence, pretty safe. All our party Padawans had strict instructions that they were not to hit their fellow younglings with their weapons, but my boys have since had ample time to learn that you have to whack someone pretty hard with a pool noodle to leave a mark (although it’s not impossible).

They were a complete, unalloyed hit. Ten months later, the few we carted home from the party are still actively played with and only look a little battered about the edges. Not bad for a toy that wound up costing about a $1.50 each.

I have to say it: The Force is with this pin.

• WHAT: Pool noodle lightsabers • DIFFICULTY: Easy • TIME: Depends on how many and how detailed they are. • RESULT: Pin it!

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. Find us on Pinterest.com by searching "Tonawanda News."