DIY Fort Party for Grownups

I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve built a blanket fort.  Most of us stop building forts as we grow older and frankly that is just silly because some of my best times happened inside a blanket fort.

The forts of our youth lose their magic, the fun to be had appears limited and there doesn’t seem to be a point in draping a blanket over a couch and some chairs anymore.  Instead of cutting forts out of your life, cut your attitude out of the fort.  Think big! 

Use several items you may have hanging around your house to help you out.  We purchased a few hooks to place on our walls and especially on our ceiling so that the fort was supported adequately.  Prepare this in advance!!! We did not do that at the first Fort Awesome party and that led to several situations where the ceiling of the fort caved in.  Also make sure any supports you plan on using are going to stay put–another lesson from the first Fort Awesome.  My entire American collection of Harry Potter books had to rush in and save the day by providing extra support.  Always test out your forts prior to people coming!!

It is easier to stretch your sheets across the room if you join them to one another. We tied the sheets together at the corners and used binder clips and clothes pins to plug up any gaps where the sheets didn’t quite meet up.  Twine and rope are your best friends.  They are going to prop your fort up to a level that makes it easier to walk around.  Hunching over to get through doorways is one thing, but spending the entire party looking like Quasimodo because you can’t stretch out your legs is another.

Just because you’re inside a blanket fort does not mean that people want to sit on the floor all night.  Plan out your ceiling heights based on where chairs will end up so people can relax inside your creation.  You want some sag in the sheets to give it that genuine fort feel, but not at the expense of your guests’ comfort.

Don’t own enough sheets that you are willing to get dirty in case someone spills their beverage all over?  Not to worry, try these helpful tips to take your fort party over the top (and yes…people will spill all sorts of beverages on your fort so do. not. use your fancy 1500 thread Egyptian cotton flat sheet for these shenanigans–my regular sheets remained on my bed all party long for a reason).

Tip #1
Use a few sheets and dramatic lighting to give the impression of a fort.  We had two sheets hanging from the ceiling (as compared to the 230498 hanging downstairs), a white petticoat hanging from a light fixture, a strand of icicle lights and my favorite star light string curtain to spice up the white walls.  We also threw down some white feather bed toppers to create a cloud-top effect, placed some angel food cake on a table and called the top floor landing “Heaven.”  It was a big hit!

Tip # 2
Scarves!  At the first Fort Awesome party we ran out of sheets, but wanted to close off the kitchen.  I grabbed 20 of my scarves and draped them over a pull-up bar that we just happened to keep in the kitchen last year because we liked getting buff as we waited for our food to cook.  Moving forward I would only recommend doing this in areas that don’t receive a lot of traffic.  Many scarves fell down and accumulated gunk and dirt, leading to an epic bathtime for my entire scarf collection.

Tip #2.5
No pictures surfaced of our modified concept from Fort Awesome 2, which was streamers! They are very cheap, and while they take longer to put in place than the scarves, there is no need to worry about the condition of your crepe paper when the party is over.  Just rip it down and throw them out!  We also utilized this tutorial I saw on Pinterest for making paper heart garland.

Tip # 3
Forts need special fort food.  John and I went to high school in an area where people actually went to barn parties–and not in an ironic “let’s go to a barn party” sort of way, but more of a “there are barns everywhere so let’s party in them” way.  As a result, we’ve become experts at doing random things to pass the time and have made many a fort as a result of nothing else to do.  We found through several test runs that the best food to have inside a fort is macaroni and cheese.  I’m partial to Shop Rite Shells and Cheddar, but any boxed mac will do.  To really kick it up a notch, boil the water in a wok so it looks as ridiculous as possible while you’re making it.  Several people laughed every time they walked by the stove at the first Fort Awesome as a result of Wok Mac and Cheese.

Tip # 3.5
At Fort Awesome 2, I hosted a roving martini bar.  Whenever I felt like having a chocolate martini, I scoped out a section of the party that was looking empty and quietly invited a few people to join me.  Those people received a special treat and it opened up other areas of the party that were getting neglected.  I did this a handful of times so nearly everyone in the party received a martini (aside from my roommate John for some reason).  It was a lot of fun!

Tip #4
It helps if you have a ball pit underneath the stairs in a Harry Potter cupboard.  There was not a time when people were not having fun in the ball pit. Want your own?  Sara wrote up a tutorial showing you just how to do that!

Tip #5
You’re having a fort party, so just go ahead and admit that you’re acting a little juvenile.  It’s okay.  The best grown-ups know how to act like little kids and be cool about it.  That said, everyone loves goody bags.  Everyone.  We sent out a message to the guests that confirmed they were coming to the party to let them know they were invited to The Event.  People asked us repeatedly what The Event was and they made guesses with one another during the early hours of the party, but we still refused to tell them what was involved.   We gathered them all upstairs close to midnight and handed out brown lunch sacks covered in stickers and people’s names.  Each person received a special item picked just for them.  This really did not take very much money, as most items were purchased for a dollar or less. Despite the small amount of money we spent it was very well received.  A few people were given stickers and they became a party activity in and of itself.  My friend Jessica systematically took every single sticker and put it all over her outfit and face.

A general note on party photography:
I know the screen on your camera is extra tiny, but double check that there aren’t any unexpected photobombers ruining shots you spend 10 minutes trying to capture because once the party is over…it’s over and you can’t go back.  I thought I nailed the perfect fort party picture on Sara’s camera only to discover James’s middle finger as I inserted it into this blog post 😦  I tried to edit it out by placing a digital leprechaun over it, but now it just looks like my cousin Kevin is a weirdo that hangs out with cartoons on his shoulder.  Upon discovering how sad his photobomb made me, James offered to recreate the entire fort all over again simply to take this picture for a second time (even though it took hours to set up in the first place), but in the end this digital leprechaun is hilarious so he stays and you get to see it.  Hello leprechaun!

I hope you gained some fort know-how from this tutorial and do keep me updated if you build any forts or throw an epic fort party!  As you can see in the picture above, living in a house where forts are a common occurrence leads to smiles and good times.

P.s. As I’ve mentioned before, my camera is gone forever so I want to thank my friends for letting me use their pictures to make this post.  And when I say “let me” I mean thank you for taking pictures at Fort Awesome and Fort Awesome 2 so that I can slap them up here after stealing them from your facebook accounts!

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