crafts

I Tried Building A DIY Super Bowl Snack Stadium To Impress My Game-Day Guests

by Angela Andaloro

I cherish the opportunity to get together with the people I love. It can be family or friends. The occasion can be big or small.

I may be an introvert, but I love to throw a party. It feels good for both the creative and logical side of my brain. I also love sports. Football wasn’t always my go-to, but thanks to fantasy sports, I learned to love the game. My love for entertaining and love for sports find one Sunday a year to live in perfect harmony. And that, of course, is Super Bowl Sunday.

I’ll admit that prior to developing an interest in football, I was totally a “just watching for commercials” viewer.

The more invested I get in the game, though, the more invested I get in putting out a good spread for my guests. In years past, I’ve taken a few different approaches. I’ve gone with fancy apps, just chips and beer, and everything in-between. This year, I wanted to step it up.

I remember being in awe of the snack stadiums some patient and crafty people posted to Instagram last year. I never thought I could pull one off myself, though. As I revisited them this year, I changed my attitude. Why couldn’t I pull it off? It just takes planning, staging, and some consideration of the perfect mix of snacks. I like to feel like I’ve pulled off harder-to-accomplish endeavors before.

First off, I needed to figure out what I’d use to house the snacks themselves. There were a lot of different techniques out there, from intricate wooden frames to upcycled cardboard. I settled for something in the middle, using a combination of aluminum and upcycled cardboard. Naturally, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Trying to maintain stability from the time I put it together to the time I filled it was a feat in itself. Would it maintain structural integrity as I added delicious goodies to it? See for yourself how it all went down — or stayed up.

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Gathering supplies for the snack stadium was difficult, seeing as I hadn’t exactly settled on how to build it. I decided to frame it out a day before to give myself time for any unforeseen catastrophes. I started with a few aluminum pans from the dollar store, figuring I could create partitions to separate snacks within.

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What happened next was nothing short of a lesson in engineering. I had to figure out how to support the trays so that the framing trays would achieve the look of a stadium. This meant having the snacks at an incline, which wouldn’t cause them to slide out while not crumbling the supporting material under its weight.

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Since I had a decent amount of cardboard laying around, patiently awaiting recycling pickup, I decided to use some. I was concerned the cardboard wouldn’t be able to support the weight of the trays once they were filled.

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I tried a few different things to get a feel for what would work. It was a little tedious, but if you aren’t born with a natural knack for these things, I encourage you to try it out. If nothing else, it was a good mental exercise.

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It was somewhere at the point of the process where I was wondering why I undertook this task and considering just making a frame out of readily available Legos that I considered reinforcing materials. That’s when I broke out the duct tape — and generous amounts of it.

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After trying boxes of all different sizes and shapes, I realized I would have to use corrugated cardboard. I couldn’t decide between sticking wedges under to prop them up or using a slotted design to make a stand for the trays to lean against.

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I ended up using a combination of both. The wedges would hold up the square trays framing the length of what will later become the field. The constructed stands would hold the loaf pans on either end of the field.

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Next up, I needed to figure out how to position all of my snacks. I figured that with the help of more cardboard and aluminum foil, I’d be able to create partitions in each tray to keep the food apart. I made a quick snack map to plan out where I would put things.

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There’s nothing left to it but to do it! I started with arranging the soda cans around the stadium to lessen the visible cardboard.

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Next, I made my partitions and secured them. Have I mentioned my deep and unwavering appreciation for duct tape? I wrapped each piece of cardboard in duct tape, then wrapped them in aluminum foil. I then secured them in place using duct tape on each side.

At this point in time, while working on the stadium, anyone who approached me just heard me mumbling (to myself), “Structural integrity.”

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The nerve-wracking part was making sure that everything would stay in place. After making enough partitions for one tray, I filled it to try it out. I was holding my breath as I shook every chip into place. Thankfully, it all worked out as I had expected.

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I got all my partitions in place and took a look at the stadium as a whole. I was impressed as I finally saw it taking shape and actually looking like the finished product I had envisioned.

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Last but not least was what I called “the thrill of the fill.” As I put everything in place, I felt victorious. As far as I’m concerned, I won the Super Bowl.

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Here’s the aerial shot of the field. As for its contents, we’ve got:

  • Fried Pork Rinds
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Buffalo Ranch Bites
  • Tostitos Scoops
  • Popcorn
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Edamame
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese Cubes (Cheddar and Colby Jack)

The field was guacamole, with sour cream on one end and ranch on the other. The salsa sidelines and sour cream yard lines (which didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but were still cute) finished it off.

I put this all together for less than $75 with extras of each snack available for refilling! It takes time and some patience, but a Super Bowl snack stadium is not out of your reach.