Amazing is the only word that can describe this pirate theme party! My incredibly crafty customer Sharon created this over-the-top, too-much-fun-for-words party for her son, Jackson. I’m in awe because – despite how grand this party is – just about everything is handmade (with some thrifty shortcuts, too!).

X marks the spot! The “X” is made of cardboard and tied with a jute cord. And just wait until you see what’s in the back yard…

Is this not the most amazing pirate ship ever!! Or actually, ships – it’s a little hard to tell in this picture at first, but there are TWO ships set up side-by-side! To make them, Sharon purchased plans from Mr. McGroovy’s to use as a base template. She says, “We picked up free cardboard boxes from an appliance distribution warehouse. I purchased cheap paint from the Home Depot ‘oops’ end cap in the paint aisle. It took about four hours to put the ships together and a couple of hours to paint and embellish them. We assembled the ship pieces in the garage and pulled them out to the lawn and enlisted neighbors to help paint. To make the banners, I cut burlap into rough triangles and sewed it over a jute cord.”

There were loads of games planned to keep the kids entertained. Sharon says, “Every party guest got a simple treasure map with stations marked on it. Each station had a prize or activity. Walk the plank for a felt pirate hat and gold coin, bean bag toss for bandana braids and an eye patch, a tattoo station where they traded a gold coin for temporary ink, a treasure chest to collect necklaces and rings, and then the kids gathered at the ships for the magic show.”

All afternoon, the kids were entertained by REAL pirates! “We hired talented junior entertainers from DFW Kids Parties & Events,” Sharon says. “Capt. ‘Zach’ Sparrow ran around with the kids to find treasure, then performed a magic show. We had a limbo dance and made balloon swords before cake, snacks and presents.”

Here you can see that the ships were set up side-by-side with an “ocean” in the middle, which can only mean…

…cannonball fight!! The “cannonballs” were Styrofoam balls from the craft store that were spray painted black.

The kids obviously had such a blast playing on the pirate ships!

A treasure chest holds Jackson’s birthday gifts and a printable banner serves as the backdrop.

Thirsty pirates could grab water with personalized labels.

Instead of a sheet cake, Jackson had treasure map cupcakes! The “sand” is made from crushed Nilla Wafers and the treasure map lines are made from licorice laces. Sharon also added some mini pirate toys for decoration. (I love the shark and octopus!)

Jackson wore a pirate costume (purchased at Halloween), and also some homemade Jack Sparrow braids that were inspired by tutorial in Family Fun magazine.

At the end of the party there was one more bit of treasure, to go! Sharon says, “I made the loot bags by folding burlap rectangles, sewing two edges and using leather cord for the drawstrings. I cut an ‘X’ template and painted each bag using the template.” Inside each loot bag, the pirates found snack packages of Pirate’s Booty, some gold doubloons, a gold chocolate bar, and a mini spyglass.

This is truly one of my favorite parties ever! Thank you for sharing, Sharon, and happy birthday to Jackson! : )

Entertainers – DFW Kids Parties & Events, Flower Mound, TX
Water bottle labels & printable banner – Chickabug
Party props (eye patches, gold necklaces, etc.) – Oriental Trading

Crafts & DIY
Jack Sparrow’s bandana tutorial by Family Fun
Cardboard pirate ship plans available at Mr. McGroovy’s
Treasure map cupcakes by Family Fun

Pirate theme party paper goods and printables from Chickabug -

Shop for personalized pirate theme party paper goods and printables here.
Or, check out more pirate party ideas on Pinterest or here on my blog!


We Love Your Comments!



  1. 1
    Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
    Karen Mallin says:
    Heather, this truly is such a great party!!!! Ya know what I love most about this party (apart from the obvious creativity) - that the party was about FUN FOR THE KIDS! It wasn't just about setting up a pretty table of food with a pretty backdrop. Don't get me wrong, food and backdrops are nice, but they don't MAKE the party and they don't make the party FUN! It's the details and the creative activties and elements that make a party memorable - both for the kids and for us party lovers who appreciate these kinds of posts. So, thanks for posting this, Heather! And, major props to Sharon for this fantastic party! - Karen
  2. 2
    Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
    Shelley says:
    Noah might just need a pirate party... ;) So adorable.
  3. 3
    Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
    Mindy says:
    ummm AMAZING! I can imagine how their eyes lit up and how much fun they had!
  4. 4
    Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    Ali says:
  5. 5
    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 1:45 am
    louise says:
    People say my parties are over the top, but this is AMAZING!! Love it! My mom and I were just talking the toher day about doing something with cardboard for my son's next party. This is just great!
    • 5.1
      Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 2:14 pm
      Heather says:
      I'm a cardboard fan myself after this party! ; ) I didn't know that you could buy plans to make things like this pirate ship. Pretty darn cool!
  6. 6
    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 11:45 am
    The Party Wagon says:
    What a great party! I love the idea of the cannon balls and the pirate ships are fantastic!
    • 6.1
      Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
      Heather says:
      The cannonballs really are clever, aren't they?! I love that detail : )
  7. 7
    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 11:53 am
    Shelley@DivinePartyConcept says:
    Wow! This is great!
  8. 8
    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Eleanor {Pink Peppermint Paper} says:
    VERY cute! Love the cupcakes. Brilliant!
  9. 9
    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 4:43 pm
    Christina DeJesus says:
    love this party much detail ....awesome !!!!
  10. 10
    Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at 1:24 pm
    Roxanna says:
    Awesome job!!
  11. 11
    Friday, August 31st, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    Kimber says:
    What size boxes did you use? I am having a hard time finding fride boxes, so I may just have to buy wardrobe boxes>
    • 11.1
      Friday, August 31st, 2012 at 1:19 pm
      Heather says:
      Hi Kimber! The mom who made the pirate ship said the boxes came from an appliance distribution center. I would think refrigerator boxes would be a good bet!
  12. 12
    Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 9:15 am
    Shivika says:
    Hi. This is amazing. I'm wondering if you used the rivets from the McGroovy's site to build the ship. I'm considering purchasing the plans but those rivets are pricey. Thanks so much!