My son Elliot had his 7th birthday last week and we decided to make it a Tsum Tsum party! If you haven’t heard of Tsum Tsums (pronounced soom soom) yet, you surely will soon! They’re adorable little stylized versions of Disney characters in three sizes, mini, medium and large! They started in Japan and came to the United States within the last year. They’re also featured in a video game of the same name that can be found on the App Store. We love all things Disney and these cuties are no exception!
Although there is Tsum Tsum merchandise aplenty in Japan, it’s much more difficult to find here in the states, so I decided to make my own party favors and games to fit with our theme! We made Tsum Tsum t-shirts, a piñata, party games and of course the cake! We chose seven different characters and used them for everything!
How to Make a Tsum Tsum Iron on Shirt!
You’ll need the following supplies before you get started: cotton t-shirts, transfer paper for light fabric or dark fabric depending on your t-shirt color, inkjet printer, lint brush, hot iron, scissors,wash and dry the t-shirts before getting started.
While you can probably find an image on the internet, most are not available in a high enough resolution to enlarge for a t-shirt. If you have design software and some free time you can probably play around and make the images work, but I’ve also had great luck finding images on Etsy. For this project I was able to find what I needed for $3!
Before printing the image onto the transfer paper it’s a good idea to do a test run with a plain piece of paper to make sure it’s in the paper bin properly. Be sure you’ve got the right transfer paper. I tried three different brands for this particular project and my favorite was Avery Labels.
If you have any writing on your image and you’re printing it onto a light-colored shirt you’ll want to print the mirror image so it will be facing the right direction when pressed on. Use the normal or best ink setting on your printer for the best results. Cut the images as close to the edge of the images as possible making sure there is very little white space.
In preparation for pressing your image, iron the t-shirt by itself to remove any wrinkles or moisture in the fabric. I also like to run a lint brush over the shirt to make sure there isn’t any laundry lint that could show through the images once they’re pressed on.
Press the images onto the t-shirt using the hottest setting on your iron and make sure to apply quite a lot of pressure with both hands. Move the iron around until you’ve gone over the entire image. Depending on the size of the image you’ll need between 30 to 90 seconds of pressing.
I purchased the t-shirts at Michael’s Craft Store for $3.99 and including the transfer paper and the Etsy image each t-shirt comes to about $9. A little bit on the pricey side for a party favor, but they will definitely get better use than the usual bag of plastic toys that end up on the floor of my car after each birthday party!
Tsum Tsum Party Games!
We had planned to play three games at the party, but it turned out that two games along with the piñata, dinner and cake was more than enough activity. We played Pin the Tsum Tsum and did a Tsum Tsum spoon relay race. It was quite a hot day, so we also took a short break in the middle of the party and watched some short Tsum Tsum videos inside. We had the supplies for the relay but needed to create the Pin the Tsum game.
Pin the Tsum Tsum!
We played this just like any “pin the… game” with the traditional blindfold and spin, but in our version each child had their own character and the goal was to place it upon the stack in the right position!
I thought this game would be so easy for the kids, but surprisingly it was just the right amount of challenging! I recommend using blue painters tape so you can reuse the game later or even hang up the cute poster in your child’s room after the party!
You’ll need the following supplies to make the Pin the Tsum Tsum: inkjet printer, scissors, card stock, poster board, glue stick, roll of solid blue wrapping paper, tape, and a black sharpie.
The background of the Tsum Tsum video game is blue, so I’ve chosen to cover the board in blue wrapping paper. I used tape to wrap it onto the board, so I can reuse the board for another project later.
Decide what size you want each character to be and then print two of each. One for the board and one for the child to “pin” to the board during the game. If there is any white space on the edges of the darker characters after you cut them out use a black sharpie pen and lightly outline the dark areas. When you lay them onto the blue background the white won’t show.
Lay out your characters and then glue them to the background.
Tsum Tsum Relay Race!
For this relay game we broke the kids up into two teams. The kids then ran back and forth with mini Tsum Tsums on the end of plastic spoons. It was a perfect game for kids this age, a little bit challenging, very silly and not too long! We did best two out of three!
No birthday party at our house is complete without the piñata! However, there aren’t any Tsum Tsum Piñatas at the local party store, so we made our own! It’s actually much simpler than you’d think! Really!
Lining up to take a whack at it!
The final swing!
The big kids got a turn too!
How to make a piñata!
To make your piñata you’ll need the following supplies: newspaper strips, a punch balloon, twine, painters tape, cornstarch, water, colored construction paper, felt or foam, acrylic paint, double-sided tape.
Paper Mache Recipe:
2 cups water
2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup cornstarch
Boil two cups of water on the stove. While you’re waiting for the water to boil add the cornstarch to the cold water and stir it in with a whisk. Once the water boils, add the cold cornstarch mixture and turn the mixture down from high to low. Stir constantly for 2 minutes until all mixed. The mixture should the consistency of a thick cake batter. It will also be somewhat clear and gelatinous.
It will be VERY hot!
While you’re waiting for the paper mache to cool off tear or cut newsprint paper into medium-sized strips.
We used a Punch Ball balloon that I found at our local toy store because it’s a bit stronger than your typical balloon. Just remove the rubber band, blow it up and you are ready to go!
Once the cornstarch glue is cooled off enough to touch dip strips of newspaper one at a time into the mixture and cover it completely on both sides. While you do want each strip to be completely covered you don’t want it to be dripping. Lay the strips one at a time on the balloon until you’ve completely covered it.
You’ll want to complete this process twice. If you laid out your strips vertically on the first layer then you’ll want to lay them out horizontally on your second layer.
You can use little bits of wadded up newspaper to create structure to your piñata! In this case we are making a Donald Duck Tsum Tsum so we used the end of the balloon to create the duck-bill!
About two or three layers in take a piece of the twine and wrap it around the middle of your piñata taping into place. This will be what you use to attach the hanging rope when it’s all finished! At this point it’s a good idea to hold it up and make sure it’s hanging level.
Keep in mind that the balloon inside will expand and contract in the heat of the sun and the coolness of evening. If possible you might want to bring it inside at night, so the temperature drop isn’t as extreme. If you do get some lumpy spots you can fix them when you apply the next layer. Because I would be painting the piñata white I did four layers of newsprint and two layers of white craft paper. I let it dry after at least a few hours between newsprint layers and then completely between the newsprint and the craft paper.
Once you’ve got your structure complete its time to decorate! Lucky for me I just happened to have some paint, colored foam sticker sheets and glue on hand!
I used the inkjet printer to print out Donald’s hat, eyes and bow tie and I decided to paint his “shirt” and his beak! Then I put them onto the foam sticker sheet to give them some structure. I used double-sided foam tape to affix the eyes, hat and bow tie.
Once your piñata is decorated you’ll want to create an opening in order to put your candy or treats inside. I chose the top just behind the hat, so it would be hidden from view. I used an exacto knife to cut through as once dry your piñata will be much stronger than you might expect! Rather then just dropping the candy directly into the hole I like to place a handful of candy treats into individual baggies. I don’t like it when the kids are scrambling and shoving to get the loot and all they come away with is a bag full of dirt and a few pieces of dirty candy. I create one bag for each child which eliminates the frenzy and the candy doesn’t get dirty either!
Cut an opening
Pulling out the balloon!
The Tsum Tsum Cake!
Once or twice a year I make an elaborate cake, usually for the kid’s birthday parties! This year we decided to invite our adult friends as well as Elliot’s friends so it had to be a pretty large cake. It was the biggest one I’ve ever baked! I enjoy baking, but what I love more is the challenge of decorating the cake! I modeled it after the Pin the Tsum Tsum game we made.