How to Make Super Mario Piranha Plant Centerpieces

As I promised in my post about the Super Mario birthday party I recently put together for my son, here is a tutorial for how to make Super Mario Piranha Plant centerpieces. Let me preface this with saying that this was not an original idea. I saw LOTS of other bloggers out there making Super Mario piranha plant centerpieces. But sadly the amount of tutorials were lacking.

While most crafters out there might be able to just look at a picture and magically know how to whip something together...I am not one of those. So for all my craft-challenged friends out there: HIGH FIVE! and here is my tutorial after I stumbled my way through making one...er three.

Again...Not necessarily the "right" way to do it, but at least the way I did it. And just between you and me, definitely the awesome way! No, really. I can't even tell you how pleased I am with how my little piranha plants turned out. I've been silly enough in the past to claim I'm not the crafty type, but after this little project I have to lay down my supposed shortcomings and admit it loud and proud: I. CAN. CRAFT!

Supplies needed (not all pictured below):

Styrofoam ball (I purchased the "smooth" one which I liked because it gave the piranha plant more of a smooth scaly look.)
Styrofoam block
empty salt container
bright red paint and paint brush
wooden dowel
green, white, and pink felt
bright green paper (12"x12" sheet)
black paper (approximately 4"x4")
foam sheet
cotton balls
glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
scissors (a good pair that will cut through felt)
paper cutter
serrated knife

Use a serrated knife to cut a triangle chunk out of your Styrofoam ball. This will be the gaping open mouth.

Paint Styrofoam ball bright red including the inside of the missing chunk. Warning: Give yourself plenty of time for the paint to dry before you handle. Styrofoam takes a lot longer to dry than wood or paper.

Make sure salt container is empty. (Or any other container you choose. I imagine a tin can would work well too. I just liked how tall and narrow the salt container was like the Super Mario pipes. Plus the cardboard was really easy to glue green paper on to it.) Remove paper and use serrated knife to cut off top.

Cut 5"x12" strip of bright green paper. (Make sure to measure whatever container you are using and adjust measurements accordingly. You'll need a strip of paper that will cover your container completely.)

Use glue gun to adhere strip to salt container. Make sure the edges are even.

Cut a 4"x6" foam sheet in half, making two 2"x6" strips. Color doesn't really matter; it's going to be covered anyway. I got these ones at my local dollar store.

Hot glue foam strips around top edge of pipe. Cut end piece so it lays flush (flat) with the other piece. This is a possibly unnecessary step but I liked that it gave the pipe top some depth and dimension.

Then cut a 2"x12" green strip from the same paper you used on the whole pipe. Hot glue it over the top of the foam, again making sure your edges are straight and lined up.

Drop some rocks into the bottom of your pipe. This will prevent the piranha plant from becoming too top heavy.

Use your serrated knife again to cut the foam block to desired size. Since I was making three plants I cut it into three equal parts which worked perfectly. Warning: This green foam stuff STINKS! Like old wet fish food. Gross.

Cram the foam block down into your pipe. You may shave some of the edges off in the process, but that's okay. You want it to fit snugly so it keeps your rocks and dowel in place.

Turn your "pipe" over and use it to trace a circle on black paper and a second circle on green paper. Cut black circle out, punch a hole big enough for your dowel to go through the middle, and glue on to top of pipe.

Cut green circle out. Then cut another hole inside your circle essentially making a green ring. (Hint: Gently pinch (don't fold!) circle in half in middle, cut a small hole, hold circle flat, use hole to carefully cut bigger circle.) Glue green ring on to black circle. The pipe is done!

Now to work on the stem...Cut a strip of green felt big enough to cover your dowel. Hot glue it on the dowel. Make sure to leave ends clear so it can stick into the foam ball and block.

Draw desired leaf pattern (piranha plants are rather malicious so I made sure my leaves were spiky-ish) on a piece of paper and cut it out. Use it as a pattern to trace as many leaves as you want on your green felt.

Cut out leaves and hot glue them on to your stem. Insert the stem through the black paper hole and push it down into the Styrofoam block so it is securely "planted". Now the stem is done!

If your Styrofoam ball is dry you can work on it now. Go ahead and spear it on to the top of the dowel.

Looking pretty cool already, right? I admit I got a little giddy at this point because of how well it was all coming together. I may have even cackled really loudly a teensy bit. Dee, who had been patiently watching through the entire process--which is to say a lot for a first grade boy, was pretty thrilled too. Coolest Mom in the World--what???

Anyway! Balls on stems... Cut free hand triangles (no need to get fancy here) out of the white felt for the piranha plant's infamous chompers. Hot glue them on to the outer edge of the missing triangle chunk.

Now comes the trickiest part. Don't sweat it! It's not too bad. We need to make the lips of the plant. I'm sure there's an easier way to do this. This is just the way I did it. Because I like to do things the hard way. It's kind of my thing.

Use a soft measuring tape to measure the mouth. Cut a 2"x whatever-you-measured-plus-some" strip out of the white felt. I made 2"x8" strips for my plants, but it's all going to matter how you cut that triangle chunk out. Then I cut tapered pieces off the four edges of my white strip. This minimizes the bulk on the edges of the lips once you start rolling it up.

The piranha plants on the game have lips that are puffier in the middle and smaller on the sides. I really wanted to capture this effect. Cutting the edges will help with that. As will the placement of the stuffing/cotton balls. Use one whole cotton ball in the middle. Then pull one cotton ball in half and place them on either side of the middle one. Then pull a third cotton ball in half and half again. Use the two quarters on each end.

Now carefully and tightly roll up the felt with your glue gun at hand. Use a strip of glue to secure the roll leaving the ends unglued.

Now carefully roll and glue the ends. Don't stress if it's a little long for the mouth.

Glue the lips on to your plant mouth. Trim the ends to the desired length. I really like when the lip pieces meet. See my plant on the left? How the lips don't meet on the edge? That bugs me. But maybe it won't bug you.

Now it's time to get creative with dots. I traced circles of two different sizes on to the white felt and cut them out. Then I hot glued them on. I also cut a triangle tongue (again, think malicious!) out of pink felt and glued it in the mouth. It's a small detail, but a fun one.

Ta Da!! Super Mario Bros Piranha Plants!

I LOVED how they turned out, but even more importantly the birthday boy, Dee loved them. More than I thought he would. He kept saying how real they looked. After I made them we went to run errands and he kept worrying that the plants were going to come alive and eat all the food in our house. Hilarious!

I was certain the boys would care less about the piranha plants but they were a huge hit. They all oohed and aahed over them. I kept finding food in them as kids were trying to feed the plants during the party.

Now the plants are being used to decorate Dee's room. I admit...it was a little hard for me to pass them over. I kind of wanted them on my dresser.

P.S. If anything doesn't make sense or you have questions feel free to ask here in the comments section or email me at hangingsilver{at}gmail{dot}com.

Have a SUPER day!


K Lind said...

They turned out so awesome! I really liked them! I'm even more excited that I got to see them in person! :-)

Macey said...

BME!!! = Best. Mom. Ever.
I'm pinning this because I'm totally going to do it for the next bday party!

Sarahie said...

You're so cool!

Unknown said...

Awesome job! I will for sure keep those in mind if a Mario party comes up around here...

PS-the reason your foam stinks is because you got the really dense floral foam, it's designed to soak up water and keep things alive while not in a vase. The other kinds don't smell :)

Monika said...

Nice Job! Super mom! I am way impressed!

Jaime said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE! I saw this post yesterday and went out and bought all the supplies! The funniest this about that is my Son's b-day party isn't for another 3 weeks!!
Thanks for posting this fun idea!

Lore5 said...

I did it!!!! They look just great!!! I got everything yesterday and I finished 8 centerpieces today!!! Great great idea and tips!!!

Bobbie said...

These are awesome! Thank you for posting the instructions. I have a soon to be 4 yr old who is very excited about his upcoming birthday party. I want it to be as "Mario-ed" out as possible!

Bobbie said...

These are awesome! Thank you for posting the instructions. I have a soon to be 4 yr old who is very excited about his upcoming birthday party. I want it to be as "Mario-ed" out as possible!

gabbymta said...

What size styrafoam balls did you use?

Jacob n Aishas Mom said...

Found your blog thanks to Pinterest. Just finished making 3 centerpieces for my son's 5th birthday. Gave myself 3 blisters from the glue gun but totally worth it! Thank you so much for putting this up!!

Unknown said...

What size Styrofoam balls did you use?

Unknown said...

What size Styrofoam balls did you use?

Unknown said...

What size Styrofoam balls did you use?


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