Football is in the air, on TV, and on your mind. But football season is about more than cheering yourself hoarse every Sunday — it's also about taking your eating skills to the next level. So this year, go big by taking on the granddaddy of all football snack challenges: the snack stadium.
Building a snack stadium is not for the faint of heart: the glue is hot, the hours are long, and an iced coffee IV is strongly encouraged. Recently, our hearty Studio@Gawker design team, fueled by Pringles (and iced coffee), constructed and consumed a snack stadium of epic proportions, as evidenced below in a handy-dandy how-to format.
(*Pro tip: Before you embark on your snack stadium journey, there are a few things to be aware of. Your commitment to food-filled glory will be tested, your willpower will be pushed to the limit, and only those who are truly devoted to dipping into mini end zones made of salsa and queso will emerge victorious. This is a challenge that requires impeccable teamwork, so assemble a team of equally devoted football and snack enthusiasts. The emotional roller coaster is worth it — as are most endeavors that involve guacamole — but you should probably get a substantial playlist ready to help you power through the trials of the snack stadium experience.)
Now that you're emotionally and musically prepared, let's talk materials. Here are the basics:
- 22 File Folder Boxes: That's eight for each long side and three for each short side ( *Pro tip: Find boxes that are lower in the front to avoid having to build a riser, and with 90 degree edges instead of curved ones.)
- Aluminum foil pans (*Pro tip: You will probably have to cut and connect them, so look for pans with dimensions that will make it easy to create a base that is approximately 34″ long x 14″ wide. We did not do that. Cutting and hot gluing aluminum is not fun.)
- Hot glue...lots of hot glue
- Sturdy styrofoam
- Jigsaw or box cutter to shave styrofoam and form rounded edges
- Cardboard to cut into strips and add to the top of all four stadium walls
- Colorful paper (try kraft paper or sturdy wrapping paper) to wrap exterior and interior of file boxes
- Wrapping paper, tissue paper, or basket buddies to line the insides of the file boxes
- Pipe cleaners, tissue paper, glitter, and anything else you may want to use to decorate your snack stadium
- ALL of the dips (we went with queso and salsa for the end zones, guacamole for the field, and sour cream for the field lines)
- A pastry (or "piping") bag for the sour cream field lines
Once you've assembled your materials, it's construction time. Leave yourself a fair amount of time to build the wonder that is a snack stadium, and by fair we mean way more time than you'd think is necessary. It took us two solid afternoons of work. ( *Pro tip: clear your calendar to fully immerse yourself in the snack stadium process. Break up the project by doing half the work on one day and half on the next.)
Step 1: Construct Long Sides of Stadium
Hot glue eight file folder boxes together to build each of the two long sides.
Step 2: Construct Short Sides of Stadium
Hot glue three file folder boxes together to build each of the two shorter sides.
Step 3: Create Four Styrofoam Corners
Shave four large, firm pieces of styrofoam chunks into triangles to create the corners of the stadium. (* Pro tip: As noted in the materials list, we recommend using a jigsaw or box cutter to shave the styrofoam into the desired shape. This will help you avoid spending an excessive amount of time whittling away at styrofoam.)
Step 4: Wrap Exterior
Use kraft or sturdy wrapping paper to wrap the exterior of each of the four sections and styrofoam corners individually. You may not be a wrapping wizard like Studio@Gawker's Justin Cross — quoted as saying, "I'm so good at gift wrapping, I may just get a job at JC Penney's this Christmas" — so here's a pro-tip to help you through what could easily turn into wrapping hell. (*Pro tip: When wrapping around a curve, cut excess paper into little panels, fold them down, and tape one by one. This innovative wrapping strategy can be used to tackle all unconventionally shaped gift wrapping projects.)
Step 5: Line Insides of File Boxes
Use colorful wrapping paper to cover the insides of the file boxes.
Step 6: Attach Styrofoam Corners
Glue four styrofoam corners to both ends of the two short sides.
Step 7: Assemble Stadium Exterior
Glue the four sides together to form the stadium foundation. (*Pro tip: If you plan on transporting your snack stadium, you may want to glue the entire stadium foundation to a larger surface like a cardboard box.)
Step 8: Attach Stadium Lip
Cut two 24" x 3" strips of cardboard and two 13" x 3" strips of cardboard. Wrap each strip in kraft paper, then glue to the top of each stadium section.
Step 9: Assemble the Field
Cut one long edge off of two of your foil pans. Then glue all four sections together (gluing from the bottom). Finally, add cardboard dividers to section off the end zones. (*Pro tip: This step may require some troubleshooting and many band aids. A few quotes overheard during this trying phase were:
- "Watch out. I already got metal stuck in my hand twice...and it hurt."
- "Tinfoil does not photograph well."
- "Wait I'm bleeding, one sec…(a minute and a half later) I still don't know where I'm bleeding from.")
If you've made it this far, congratulations. You've now entered the final stretch. While this may be the hardest phase to limit your snack intake, do your best to hold off. You don't want to get to finally finish your snack stadium only to realize that you can't eat another bite.
Step 10: Add Decorations to Stadium
Add any decorative flourishes like mini flags, team logos, mini jumbotrons, etc. to the stadium foundation. We used pipe cleaners to line the file folder boxes for added texture. Use this time to construct your field goals — we used hot glue and Pringles Stix® cracker sticks for ours — but you won't add them until the final step.
Step 11: Add Snacks
Step 12: Create Field
Fill the center "field" section of the foil pans with guacamole. ( *Pro tip: Make sure you have plenty of guacamole. Nobody likes to play on a sparse, patchy football field, and nobody likes running out of guacamole.)
Step 13: Add Field Lines
Put your sour cream into the piping tube and squeeze onto the guac-field to make field lines. ( *Pro tip: This was a serious workout for our designer, Heather, who ended up squatting on a table for an extended period of time while piping each line. Luckily, she has quads of steel, but we recommend getting in peak physical form before attempting this maneuver.)
Step 14: Create End Zones
Fill both end zones with dips of your choice (we went with queso and salsa, but you can go with other options like onion dip or even chili).
Step 15: Add Field Goals
Step 16: Start Snacking!
And there you have it. Everything you need to know — and a few things you don't — to build your very own Pringles snack stadium just in time for football season. Because you deserve to watch your team while eating snacks out of a miniature football arena.
Lily Butler is an Associate Content Producer for Studio@Gawker.
[Photos by Justin Cross and Heather Hynes]