This past weekend marked the 4th birthday party of my oldest son Brody. Brody made the big decision months ago that he wanted a Cars 2 birthday cake and all things cars on his big day. So about a month before, the Cars 2 invitations were sent out to family and friends and it was off to the races to plan for what decor, games, etc. to create. To start, my first method of inspiration was of course, Pinterest.

We live on a few acres here and we have quite a large backyard so my first idea that came to mind is that it would be a perfect space for a race track. But what could they ride? I was looking at different derby cars and dune buggies available on Amazon, but that idea went out the window due to expenses. The second idea of renting pedal cars also went out the window when they wanted quite a large sum of money for only four hours of fun. But then with inspiration from Pinterest, a picture came across my screen of homemade boxcars, PERFECT! It was decided that Cars 2 boxcars of Brody’s favorite characters would be created.

That next day during my lunch hour, I went to Lowe’s and bought eight large move-in boxes on the cheap. The mission has started.

With Brody sitting on my lap that night, we went through the Disney YouTube videos of each of the Cars 2 characters spinning on turntables. Brody picked out his eight favorites, and thanks to one of my favorite programs Snagit by TechSmith, I took a screen capture of the cars front, side and rear for use of drawing them. The eight cars Brody chose were Finn McMissle (his favorite), Lightning McQueen, Holly, Madar, Torque, Carla, Axlerod and Francesco.

With initial direction from this photo and looking at my screen captures, the characters were penciled in on the boxes, and cut out using scissors and an x-acto knife. The cutout section from the first side was used to draw the cut-out area on the other side. The overlapping/gluing areas were scored with an x-acto knife, folded in place and glued together with my hot glue gun.

For paint, I purchased three spray cans of white paint that came combined with primer, and one can of each color I was planning to use. I spayed the primer to cover up the blue Lowe’s logo and wording and put two coats on the areas that will remain white (front windshield/eyes, side windows, lights, etc.) A quick glance at the screenshots helped determine these areas.

Once I got the cars primed in white, I masked the areas I wanted to stay white. This is where I wish I did a bit more research on if they had large sheets of masking tape. They really should if they don’t. Working with what I was dealing with, I did this in two different ways for curvy and large shaped areas. I first lined wax paper in lines of masking tape then drew my shapes, cut them out and peeled them off. I would like to say this was a brilliant idea, but sometimes the wax paper was difficult to take off, and sometimes it ripped. In the end, I did the last couple cars by putting the masking tape on the cars, drawing the shapes, lightly going over the lines with an x-acto knife and then taking off the excess. This worked better than I thought.

Painting the cars with a couple coats of their color spray paint and letting them dry, I took off the masking tape to reveal the white parts and they were starting to look really cute.

Back inside to draw on the eyes, and tracing all the windows and other lines with a black sharpie, followed by markers for all the colored eyes, the Cars 2 characters took form and Brody started flipping out! I used black small plates for the wheels.

Madar paint job with masking not yet taken off

I would recommend cutting hand holders instead of stapling straps on like I did. Some held up, some not so much.

The cars turned out better than I envisioned and hoped for! In the end, all the smiles, kids making loud car sounds and plenty of laps around the 200′ race track was worth every bit of effort that went in to create these cute lil’ buggers.

And since the weather was so warm, we had all of our little guests bring their water clothes and towels too. We set up a HUGE Visqueen plastic sheet in our front yard down a hill and put a couple sprinklers on it, with colored cones going down the side to create a water race track. It was a big hit!

Brody and his overnight pal Kegan were my test racers during set up the night before.

Other fun cars themed games and decor we had:

A bean bag toss game while the kids tried to catch them in funnels (not pictured).

The Refueling Stations featuring fuel oil as beverages (a concoction of kool-aid and food coloring), and relabeled water bottles with a Cars labels I designed easily, printed, cut and taped on. I also did labels for the mini M&M containers to keep theme. If interested, you can download the templates I created below.

And a popcorn station with the different flavored popcorn in large funnels. Paired with the M&M treats.

The Cars 2 cake, cupcake and chocolate tire donut station.

And of course the easy, yummy chocolate fondue station which was a huge hit with the kiddos and adults. I always keep a ton of this easy chocolate on hand for mini gatherings, dinners, or big events like this. Brody wanted the Caramel Milk Chocolate for his party.

Allinol (get it?), Brody had a fabulous World Grand Prix B-day! :)

Thanks to all our friends and family that came out to help celebrate.

Brody’s birthday present….a Power Wheels Dune Racer!

If you would like to see more photos from the party, click here.

If you are interested in any of my screen captures to create your own box cars, or to use the templates I created for the water bottles, fuel stations or M&M containers you can download them here.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share and pin as you please :).