‘Make it’ Monday: Dahlia’s DIY Moana Themed Birthday


A few weeks ago, we celebrated Dahlia’s 3rd Birthday at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. We love coming here and feel like it was the best venue for her Moana themed party with the play boats and ships right next to the party room. This was the first time we didn’t have her party at our house and it was fine by me, but meant I needed to prepare everything beforehand. I had so much fun preparing for the birthday and Dahlia sort of helped this time 🙂 Here are some of the fun items and ideas we created for her birthday and some we didn’t :).

Moana-themed Letters:

This is probably my favorite thing I made. Searching on Pinterest, this seemed like an easy thing to make. There are also plenty of people that make similar ones on Etsy. I bought the letters for $3 each at Michael’s and basically used materials I already had at home minus the seashells I used for Tamatoa.

Below are my inspirations and materials used for the letters I made. I used glue gun or regular glue to apply materials:

D = Maui Hook made with Acrylic Paint, Sharpie Marker and Twine


A = Moana outfit made with Cardstock paper, burlap, felt


H = Heart of Te Fiti made with Acrylic Paint, Sushi grass, fake flowers, painted rock with sharpie pen for the heart


L = Hei Hei made with Acrylic Paint, Felt, Cardstock paper, regular paper and fuzzy red fabric


I =  Tamatoa made with Seashells, Acrylic Paint, Paper and Pipe Cleaners


A = Pua made with Acrylic Paint, Cardstock Paper, Marker, Googley Eyes


Paper Towel Roll Palm Trees:

I’m really into recycling or reusing items and this was another easy thing to make. I basically wrapped and glue gunned paper towel rolls with twine or burlap. For the tops, I used cardstock and drew a palm leaf and hole punched some circles to give it a better effect. Also, Jason brought home some previously used palm tree decor and glued them inside the paper towel rolls and voila!

Toilet Paper Roll Tikis:

Another reusable item I used were toilet paper rolls. I had my friend and niece make tikis and just placed them on the head table. They turned out so colorful! They just used colorful sharpie markers for these. Super easy and everyone can help, if you collect a bunch of toilet paper rolls (tee hee), you could use this as a craft option at your party.

Kakamora Coconut Favor Cups:

The kakamora scene was a pretty memorable piece of the movie for me and I knew I had to incorporate them somehow. I kept browsing and found a free printable with the kakamora faces and decided I would use them to attach to some coconut cups filled with goodies for the kids (and adults). I bought the coconut cups from eBay and found other tropical items from Oriental Trading Company, Amazon and the Dollar Tree. Lastly, to tie it all together, I used a photo of Dahlia in her Moana outfit that we took in Pacifica at the beach for the tags.

(Adult Coconut Cups and Contents – Candle & Hand Sanitizer)


Moana Flower Crowns:

Flower crowns are all the rage right now, and what better way to welcome Dahlia’s guests than to offer them a Moana inspired flower crown. I found fake ferns that I pulled apart and glue gunned together and attached flowers to them. Then, I tied twine to the ends of the fern and tied them in the middle together to make the crown adjustable to any size. These were super easy to make and could be another great idea for a party craft if you have the space and time to create it.  I also bought leis as well so people could wear one or the other or both!

Dahlia in her flower crown 🙂

Baby Turtle Jell-O Cups:

For one of the desserts, I put together this super cute Jell-O parfait that was inspired by the scene when Moana helps the baby turtle go back into the Ocean by protecting it with a leaf. I pre-made blue Jell-O at home and transferred them to the museum. Once we got there, I added whipped cream, a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers to represent the sand, placed a gummy turtle (bought on Amazon) and added a mini umbrella to finish. They turned out great! I also found the awesome Moana trays at Dollar Tree too! 

DIY Shave Ice Station:

Since Dahlia’s Birthday is in June and I wanted to keep with the Polynesian theme, I thought it’d be a neat idea to have a shave ice station. After searching online, I ended up purchasing the Nostalgia brand Shave Ice machine. This one seemed like the easiest one to make Shave ice because it uses regular ice cubes. I bought syrups for flavoring and also condensed milk just like they do in Hawaii.


DIY Moana Necklaces:

On a table at the Birthday party, I put out beads, blue pendants and waxed cording sets for people to make their own Moana style necklace. I also added a frame of the instructions as well.



DIY Activity Corner:

Another idea for an activity that I did is I left out crayons and printed out free printables. Super simple, super easy!


Heart of Te Fiti Cookies:

Another dessert I made to tie in the Moana theme were making these ‘Heart of ate Fiti cookies.’ I had just bought cookie dough from my nieces fundraiser and drew a swirl using green sparkly icing. Again, another easy way to use what I already had and who doesn’t love eating cookies!

Dahlia’s Beautiful Cake (made by Krumbs Cakes in San Rafael):

Though I didn’t make Dahlia’s cake, I need to shout out Krumbs Cakes in San Rafael for making her cake come to life. I bought the Moana doll and they did the rest! Thanks, Krumbs!


Dahlia’s party was so much fun and I can’t believe she’s already three! Enjoy more photos of the birthday fun!

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