Set the scene for an elevated (virtual) movie night

Make it a Virtual Movie Night

April 7, 2020 • Contributor: Cricut Blog Team

I see a. lot. of. movies. But, our local theatres have closed.

Now, I love movies. I majored in film. I worked in film. I made a few films. I was in a few films. IMDB feels more like my daily search engine than Google. And, as important as TV has been during this time of isolation, I miss movies and the theatre-going experience!

So, I invited a few friends to join me for a virtual movie night and wanted to share the experience for anyone to recreate during this relevant time for community. It was a night of movie-theatre-worthy popcorn, overflowing mugs of our favorite beverages, plushy seats where we can comfortably discuss our immediate reactions, and of course, Cricut-made movie props to set the mood.

Read on to find out how I pulled off a virtual movie night session complete with a few technical logistics, decoration & prop ideas (even for non-Cricut owners), and my ultimate popcorn recipe.

Tiger King Poster

First things, first...

The most difficult thing to decide when seeing a movie is... the movie! What will a group of friends with different tastes watch tonight? Well, I let the world wide web solve this one for me. TIGER KING: MURDER, MAYHEM AND MADNESS. I wanted in on the phenomenon that had swept the nation and needed to watch at least one episode of this Netflix series. I also decided that my friends needed this too, so I played alpha and sent out an emailed invite with instructions for our TIGER KING movie night.

Need guidance for some basic instructions on those back-end logistics? Here's an idea of what I sent to my friends.

Join me for a virtual movie night complying with social distancing protocols. 

Netflix Party syncs your watching experience with those on the same server while allowing you and your friends to chat in real-time. And, there's also Scener, which is similar.

Don't want to use Netflix Party or Chrome? Or, perhaps, not all of your friends have Netflix and you want to video chat instead? Here are a few other options to host your virtual movie night, but keep in mind, every platform has their own pros and cons.

Airtime: video chat with friends while watching videos online
-limited streaming services and video platforms connect with Airtime (no Netflix, Hulu, etc.) and maximum of 4-5 users in each "room"

Kast, Kosmi, and even Zoom: screen share whatever you are watching with your friends
-these free programs may come at the cost of ads, limited time, or other annoyances


Then, the anticipation ensues

Okay, it's no secret to my friends that I'm a planner. I love events. I overthink things sometimes all the time. So, movie night? Well, it was going to be an event, and I wanted everyone to be psyched about it!

I set the scene (and by scene, I mean I emailed these exciting details) with the need for popcorn (of course), drinks, and fun props.

The decorations

Decorations are always important at an event, aren't they? I "decorated" our movie night with the essentials - something to hold my popcorn and something to hold my beverage.

Movie night popcorn box made by Cricut

Movie night popcorn box made by Cricut

This popcorn box design (and others) can be easily found on Design Space. Under "images," look for the term "popcorn box" and filter for "3D Objects." I used image #M339D0. I didn't have any cardstock, so I used leftover cardboard from canned drink boxes. Feel free to do the same by scrounging the house for something stiff enough to hold together and stand upright. Then measure the amount of useable material needed and scale your design to size. If you do not have the tools to cut thicker material, create a template with paper and then transfer that design to your desired material by tracing it like a stencil. Then, cut it out with scissors or other preferred cutting tool.

These labels are created with the smart writeable vinyl that you can use with Cricut Joy. I used image #M13451FC7. Find this image under the "Draw + Cut Pantry Labels with Icon" cartridge set. I used the same label sans "POPCORN" text to create a blank spot by "contouring" the words so that each friend could personalize their own popcorn box (with their name or even the film title).

My beverage holders? Coasters, naturally.

Tiger King Movie Coasters

TIGER KING custom movie coasters

I created these with Infusible Ink transfer sheets and custom images that suited the occasion. Make sure to size these correctly according to your base. In my case, I used the round ceramic coasters. These have a diameter of 3.6" (this is noted on the packaging and Cricut website), so I created a circle shape in Design Space to use as my guide when designing my coasters. Then, I simply hide that circle shape layer by clicking the eye icon before cutting my designs (so the app knows not to "make" the circle a cut too).

Then, to top it all off. I created an admission ticket (or personal invitation, if you will) from the Movie Night set and customizable tiger masks.

Tiger Masks for TIGER KING Virtual Movie Party Night

Tiger Masks for TIGER KING Virtual Movie Party Night

Since I only had construction paper around the house, I cut a backing from rigid mailing envelopes and added color with construction paper. I colored the edges of the backing with black marker in case the construction paper wasn't a perfect match to the backing.

Making Tiger Masks for TIGER KING Movie Night

Making Tiger Masks for TIGER KING Movie Night

I contoured and customized the cat mask image in the Masks - Animal Faces set because there wasn't a tiger mask. Then allowed everyone to add their own stripes for customization - I mean, everyone has a black marker, eh? The handle is leftover lollipop sticks I had in the kitchen from making cake pops.

After everything was made, I dropped off gift sets to friends that I could... on their porch, of course, and at least six-feet away for social distancing reasons! For those who didn't receive props (perhaps they were too far or couldn't yet commit to fun or I just ran out of materials at home, eek), I added a PDF of images to the email invite to make your own. Shhhh, but here's the secret on how I shared my designs with Cricut-less friends. Design Space images were screen shot on my computer and placed into a PDF as a vector image. Vector images may be resized infinitely without pixelation so anyone can make the props to their desired fit. Here's my share for the community if you'd like to recreate this movie night with friends - TIGER KING movie night props PDF file.

Tiger King Movie Night Gift Set

Popcorn and drinks

In each gift set I dropped off, I also included a bag of microwaveable popcorn. No movie night is complete with popcorn! I dare you to defy me.

However, on the night, I made my own delicious homemade kernel recipe. I'll share this with you too, and a few combinations to help find your favorite flavors. I just have one condition: share with me your hit flavor combinations in the comments below!

Homemade Popcorn in Homemade Popcorn Boxes

Homemade popcorn in homemade popcorn boxes

What You'll Need for Easy Homemade Popcorn:

  • heavy bottom pot with lid (I prefer cast iron)
  • popcorn kernels
  • butter or other oil
  • salt


Heat pan and add kernels. Be sure not to overfill the bottom of the pan or the popcorn will burn easily. Top with lid to keep kernels from escaping. Shake the kernels occasionally so that the surfaces are distributed with heat more evenly. When the popcorn finishes popping, transfer to a paper bag (grocery bags work well). Immediately, add your melted butter (or oil) and sprinkle with salt in increments depending on the size of your batch. The rendered butter (or the oil) helps the seasoning(s) stick to the popped corn. Repeat with next batch.

Note: I never measure because I always make it tt (as my former culinary teacher would say). That's "to taste" for those millions who weren't in my same class or may not have had the same teachings. I also don't find a need to add oil to the pan beforehand because it doesn't stick for me (and adding the fat afterwards flavors the kernels much better while adding a sticky layer for your seasonings/spices).

Add these additional ingredients for my favorite flavor:

  • truffle oil (add this to the melted butter)
  • nutritional yeast
  • grated parmesan cheese (I like to Microplane fresh, but you can substitute (pizza) packets or Kraft by using less salt)
  • black pepper

Want even more flavor ideas? Garlic butter with finely chopped fresh parsley. Cinnamon and sugar with a hint of salt - churro popcorn anyone? Crushed red pepper flakes and chicken flavored ramen packet (watch the salt content here!). Lemon zest and finely chopped rosemary. Tajin, a tad cayenne, and grated parmesan with lime zest - mmmm, elote. Okay, your turn to share.

For drinks? Well, to each their own. But, I did start off my evening earlier with a delicious Southside (modified with extra mint and lime shaken hard before the pour). Other options that night? My friends drank everything from Mountain Dew, Cosmopolitan, and simply, a Corona beer.

TIGER KING Virtual Movie Night Party

And that's a wrap! I even had a film critic join us for the full elevated experience. Can you spot him? What movies will you be watching together with your friends and family? Shoot me some recs!

P.S.: I only survived one episode of TIGER KING. What about you?

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