I've made it a tradition to always have a craft for the kids to do at birthday parties. I guess I'm just trying to pass on my addiction to my children! We've painted wooden trains, made foam bookmarks, designed our own princess crowns, made cars out of toilet paper tubes. So this year for my oldest's 7th birthday I wanted to make lightsabers.
A couple of years ago, he went to a Star Wars themed party where they made lightsabers out of pool noodles. You can find "how-to"s for that all over the internet (here for example). The problem is, this is December. In Iowa. And I didn't plan a Star Wars party back in the summer. At that point he wanted Cars 2. Kids just don't plan ahead. And stores in Iowa evidently do not sell pool noodles in December. Believe me. I called at least 10 places.
So, rather than give up, I searched the home improvement stores for ANYTHING that could be used instead. What I came up with was foam pipe insulation. I actually loved this, because it's got a smaller diameter than the pool noodles, so it's more realistic. However, it is black, and knowing my son and his friends, I was going to be a total failure of a party mom if the lightsabers were not the "right" colors. So, I decided to have them wrap the entire length of the foam in duct tape. An added benefit was that it ate up a significant amount of time! :)
After wrapping a little more than 3/4 of the tube in their chosen color of tape, we finished off with silver on the end. I even splurged and got the shiny stuff instead of just plain grey duct tape. Hey, he only turns seven once! Each kid now has their very own lightsaber.
We did some Jedi mind training games involving blindfolds and knocking down cans. The kids had pretend lightsaber fights. Then we confiscated the weapons for the rest of the party. I'm sure all of the moms are absolutely thrilled with me now that the kids have them back, and are at home chasing their brothers, sisters, dogs, cats, hamsters, or whatever else they can find.