Curses! The Castle!

By September 11, 2009Celebrate

Mr. McGroovy's Castle

I was busy writing a post on kids’ birthday parties and budgets and had the best intentions of posting it and then wandering around blog hopping and commenting on all of your lovely blogs.  Keep an eye out for that post – I love me a little controversy and there are LOTS of opinions on the party scene for our progeny. Then I received my Mr. McGroovy’s Box Rivets™ in the mail and immediately rushed back to my *bleeping* moving boxes to continue my Castle assembly.  You see I am attempting to build this gorgeous castle for Sophia’s princess party.

You see – I don’t do pricey birthday parties but I do go all out on time and energy to make the party extra special.  I will post my “How-To” entitled A Princess Party with a Pauper’s Purse when I finish all of the preparation.  The big day is next Sunday, Sophia’s 3rd birthday!

The Castle is the biggest part of the party and the saga began yesterday.  When it is done I will cry tears of joy but right now I am cursing the night I found this castle.

First you must build the ugly frame and then you may make it beautiful.  I am on hour 8 or so and I am just getting to the painting.  Here’s how  got here.

Step One:  Find Boxes – 8 of Them

Because of my very tight budget I waited too long to get totally free wardrobe boxes from FreeCycle, one of my favorite groups in the whole world.  Therefore I went to Craigslist to look for free or really cheap boxes.  I found 8 wardrobe boxes for $30 delivered.  This is a good deal as wardrobe boxes retail for $12 – $18  each!  I chose wardrobe boxes (the website says you can!) instead of the refrigerator boxes used in the picture above because they are slightly smaller and I want Sophia and Miles to be able to play in the on the porch after the party.   This may have been a mistake, for the following reason.

Step Two:  Get the boxes to all be rectangles without flaps and look the same (curse a little a lot)

This is what I woke up to.  You can’t see the mess in the dining room too.  I didn’t exactly finish last night.


It took me more than 2 hours to figure out what to cut off (all that crap on the floor) and then actually cut off the tabs on the wardrobe boxes because they are made to be like little closets.  I am not stupid, but I got a hodge podge of boxes and I had to figure out what to cut on each one!  When I started arranging the boxes to make myself feel like I had gotten somewhere, I realized that my different sized boxes were going to make a big problem!  Not only did I still have flaps due to the nature of the boxes but the simple instructions did not account for wacko wardrobe sizing issues.  By 2 a.m. I thought I had it figured out.  Yes, my crazy perfectionist self diddles around with those boxes for another couple of hours trying to fit them together and figure them out.

This morning I realized I was wrong. There was one box that was made for someone even littler than me.   I thought I could make it work (another almost hour) but no…it was…unusable for the castle. I had to go and buy one NEW box to replace the smallest wardrobe box ever seen and a roll of paintable packing tape to fix all of my flaps (30 minutes).    That one new $12 box blew the uber cheap castle right out of the water.  I was peeved.

Step 3:  Arrange lovely boxes in castle shape

After that box trip (you can see the awesome new, unmarked and taller box in the back tunnel) and another hour of re-arranging to get my sizes aligned again, I had the shell of a castle.  I just needed my rivets!



Step 4:  Cut out battlements at top of boxes, rivet your castle and cover the box markings

This was supposed to be the easy part.  Only the battlements were easy.  I cut out a template, traced it on all the tops and took them out with my utility knife.  The rivets were a lot harder.  It took me a little over 2 hours to rivet this monster together.  The job went faster when I started drilling bigger holes, but I was nervous to do this in the beginning.   Bigger holes combined with a lot of cursing helped! I also took a break from the cutting and I am waiting to make my entrance way until tomorrow so that I can still easily get in the castle and so that I have a clear head.  I held my breath for so long to spray over the box markings (even with  a mask and outside I am pregnant) that tonight is not the night.

Here is where I stand – ready to paint!!!  I used brown spray paint ($4) to cover the markings in the same color that I want the doors so that I did not have to purchase 2 browns.  You can see the two doors below. I  The darker brown may show through the castle gray a little but that is okay.  It is supposed to end up looking like old stone!




My apologies for the lack of blogginess tonight.  This is one monster of a project! Can you forgive me?

Also…wagers anyone?  I am guessing all in about 16 to 18 hours.    The kids better love this one!

Nightie Night my friends!

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