"Construct-Your-Own-Pizza" Birthday Party
Updated: Jan 5, 2019
Time flies when you’re having fun, and our three years with Lucca happened in the blink of an eye! We celebrated his third birthday with a construction-themed DIY pizza party; perfect for our little man’s obsession with building and cooking!
Lucca is such a pleasure to raise with his easy-going, sweet, yet funny-as-hell demeanor. I decided this age is the best (albeit one of the most challenging!) because he is walking the fine line between infant and child. I get a glimpse of who he will be an an adult, but when I hold him, he snuggles in as if he were still a baby. Oh, these days are magical and knowingly numbered! Please tell me how to stop time?!
A celebration for this guy turning three was in order. I love hosting parties, planning a theme and working creatively within it. Lucca’s fascination with all things construction-related made my theme obvious. Of course, you need to feed people and (ideally) have an activity, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by having everyone “construct” their own pizza! Fun for kids and adults alike!
In a perfect world, I would have the time to hand-make the invitations (oh, how I miss card-making!), but I chose to go the faster route of using a digital invitation, which I simply texted given our intimate guest list. Using my favorite phone app, Over, I quickly and easily designed the image from scratch. (One could use Photoshop or even PowerPoint to replicate something similar.)
Many of Lucca’s construction toys were perfect to use as decor. His cones and much-loved dump truck greeted guests outside, a toolbox and his Melissa & Doug wooden excavator and flatbed truck were incorporated into the pizza bar, and all his construction tools were set out for the kids’ imaginative enjoyment. My aunt, Jan, was sweet to contribute a few construction-themed party supplies; cups, plates, napkins, spiral ceiling decor, favor boxes and construction hats for the kiddos. I purchased a small construction-truck set to use on his cake and as additional decor (which was gifted to Lucca after the party), and balloon bouquets in yellow, orange and black.
Fun fact: I hated pizza growing up, which is absolutely disgraceful considering I am half Italian. Thank goodness this ugly trait was not passed along to my son, who not only loves pizza, but particularly enjoys making his own at home! (Not to worry, I eventually came to my senses to become a normal, pizza-loving Italian.)
I have successfully made my own pizza dough at home, but with how many pizzas crusts I needed to prep, I was looking for ease. Not to mention, mine could not hold a candle to the award-winning dough from my local pizzeria, That's A Some Pizza. So, I ordered their large pizza doughs and split each into 4 servings, which made for the perfect individual-sized pizzas with roughly 8" diameters.
However, the thought of spending the entire party rolling out pizza dough for our guests sounded daunting and rather unenjoyable. I recalled from my childhood my mom purchasing Boboli pizza crusts, which were sold “naked” and meant to be topped and baked at home; I figured I could replicate the same method for this party using dough from That's A Some Pizza!
After a little testing prior to the party, here’s how I learned to make pre-cooked pizza crusts in advance:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Roll out/form your pizza dough as you normally would, leaving it undressed.
Place it on a floured baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes.
Cool the pizza crusts to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze for later use.
When ready to serve, top with your favorite sauce, cheese and fixings, and bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees. (I used a steel pizza plate for the final cooking step to achieve a crispy bottom, but a baking sheet will suffice!)
I wholeheartedly believe pre-cooking the crust is the key to a successful DIY pizza bar! Not only did it make for a simpler and less messy party, but the crusts were stable enough to transfer loaded pizzas into the oven effortlessly. There is absolutely no difference in the final taste, so for ease, I highly recommend pre-cooking your crusts!
I displayed the pre-cooked crusts in a toolbox at the start of the DIY pizza bar. From there, guests would “Prep the Site” with sauce and cheese, and then “Load to Haul” the various pizza toppings. Using the invitation I designed in Over as a base, I created simple signs denoting the tasty options:
There was plenty of food, so I encouraged guests to prep another pizza to take-and-bake. Then I used the leftover crusts and toppings to make frozen pizzas, so there was zero food waste after the party. (Frozen pizzas can be cooked straight from the freezer at 450 degrees, roughly 20-25 minutes.)
Lucca’s birthday cake was made to look like a construction site, and created by my ever-so-talented mom. (See what she did for Lucca’s Halloween costume!) It was a tiered chocolate cake, and slightly “excavated” by the construction toys placed on top. Chocolate covered gummy bears, malt balls, homemade chocolate bark, and cake crumbs were used to further the look. Lucca loved blowing out the construction-cone candles. Needless to say, this birthday cake was as scrumptious as it was creative!
Of course, I had to continue the construction-theme in the favors. Once again utilizing the invitation design, I made custom tags for each favor box, which were filled with candy, construction vehicle toys, and a sticker activity book. (Arguably, the parents do the bulk of the work when it comes to planning or attending children’s birthday parties, so I felt it appropriate to provide the adults with chocolate-filled favor boxes as well.)
I hosted many themed parties in my time, but admittedly, the “Construct-Your-Own-Pizza” party has become one of my favorites! Perhaps it was a labor of love being in honor of Lucca, or because I am a food bar fanatic, but this party was fun to put together and even more enjoyable to experience. Surely, a build-your-own pizza bar will be frequented in our home, even if just to prep a number of homemade frozen pizzas!
If you are looking to host a construction-themed party, a DIY pizza bar, or interested in food prep; I hope I provided new insight! Happy to answer any questions - simply send me a message. As always, I appreciate you stopping by Viva la Piva!