DFWChild / Articles / Things to Do / Parties / (Auto)Matic Hit

(Auto)Matic Hit

When Holly Myers began brainstorming ideas for her son Owen’s second birthday party, she knew she wanted something fun for both the kids and the adults—at an affordable price. No stranger to DIY projects around the house, Myers knew that a little creativity could result in major affordability.
Considering Owen’s first word was “truck” and his collection of cars and trucks often overtakes their playroom, Myers decided that a car/truck theme would be ideal for his birthday. And thus, “Owen’s Auto Shop” was born. 

The majority of the elements used to create this theme came from repurposed materials or items Myers already owned. She gathered cardboard boxes from her office, and she even snagged a couple that were left over from her in-laws’ new patio furniture. She used nontoxic paints and common household materials for car parts—like Gatorade bottle tops for the knobs on the dashboard. For the car door handles, Myers used cabinet pulls from IKEA and for the steering wheel, cardboard and a water bottle.  She even made a giant mural for one of the walls using clip art and projector.

“We had just moved into our home so fortunately, our garage was spotless,” says Myers. “I thought that [having it in the garage] would be fitting given the theme.” So Myers filled the garage with the cardboard cars and trucks, a three-car-garage cardboard auto shop as well as Owen’s large truck and car collection. She even added her vintage John Deere tractor that she played with as a little girl.

For refreshments Myers wanted food that both kids and adults would enjoy. She and husband Chris prepared pulled pork sliders and had adult beverages on hand in case anyone requested it. Fresh fruit, bowls of Owen’s favorite snacks (Goldfish and pretzels) and juice boxes kept the kids happy—until they saw the cake. “Owen couldn’t wait to eat it!” Inspired by one of her frequented blogs, Myers made the truck out of chocolate cake herself using box cake mix, chocolate donuts for the wheels, DOTS for the head and tail lights and crumbled-up cake for the dirt in the truck’s dumpster. “I just followed the instructions closely. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!”

The party was a huge hit. “The kids had so much fun … with cardboard!”  Thanks to her creativity and a little research, Myers was able to stay within her modest budget just by repurposing everyday materials. Proves that you can do success—all on your own!