Make Your Own Pinata!

Months ago, Leah’s Spanish teacher at preschool had a pinata for the kids. Leah loved it! They also gave out a copy of the directions so you could make a pinata at home. I kept the directions and told her we would do it at another time.

A few weeks ago, we had Leah’s fourth birthday party. I was shopping for party decorations and saw a castle pinata for $20. Then I remembered the DIY pinata and figured…I can make my own pinata (famous last words!).

So, the week before the party, I dug out the directions. I hadn’t really looked at them before and now I realized they looked like they had been copied 100 times. So much so, they were almost illegible. Awesome. What a great way to start.

Moving on, I could at least read the ingredients to make the paper mache. Here’s what we had: a balloon, a cup of flour, a cup of water, and newspaper strips. I covered my work surface with newspaper too.

Then I mixed the flour and water. I dipped the newspaper strips in the mixture and began covering the balloon. You probably already know this but let me remind you, it’s messy! And, I cut the newspaper strips too long. They were ripping as I applied them.

I had never done paper mache before but my son came in and checked my work. He thought it looked pretty good. I checked and checked for areas that I missed and thought I’d had the whole thing covered pretty nicely. I didn’t want to do a second coat because I thought it would be too strong for the three and four year-olds to break.

Then I tied a ribbon on the balloon and tied it to a hanger. I hung the balloon from the shower curtain rod in the bathroom. Be sure to have a towel or something to catch any drippings – there will be drippings.

We left it to dry for the rest of the day. Leah was so excited about it though – we checked on it about 300 times. It was drying nicely but I held her off until the next afternoon. Then this happened.

The balloon started to pull through the top. I probably should have left it but I got nervous and took it down. This was a mistake because the bottom wasn’t quite dry yet. I left it on the counter until the next day, hoping for the best.

The directions called to put a popsicle stick into the top to hold it but based on the ripping, I knew this wasn’t an option. So, I glued ribbon around the bottom coming up the top. We could tie the ends of the ribbon to something to hold it during the actual breaking. The “x” created on the bottom of the ribbon would support it even more.

Now, let the problems begin.

The bottom started ripping because I was messing with it and it wasn’t fully dry. I had missed a portion in the side, which was creating a hole too. I tried taping these areas but the tape wasn’t holding well to the paper mache.

It looked awful. I decided to spray paint it pink to make it look better. Mistake.

The spray paint didn’t stick well to the tape. It looked even worse. I apologize for not having pictures of these stages but I thought this project was over. I had almost given up on it and was on my way to Target to get the $20 castle pinata.

But then…

I thought of “scrunching” tissue paper (kind of like we did in the rainbow project) and gluing that on to cover the hideous pink, taped, newspaper mess I had on my hands. It worked. Check it out:

Pretty good, right?? I added the candy and kept it in a large vase until we were ready for the kids to actually take swings at it. I set it in the middle of the counter and it looked like a beautiful, planned, party decoration. Leah loved it too. I can’t believe it but it was a big success.

If you’re interested in making this, here’s my advice from the lessons I learned:

  1. Cut the newspaper strips 2-3″ wide and ONLY 12″ long.
  2. Use a brightly colored balloon so you can see where the newspaper has covered it. Your holes will be more obvious.
  3. Let it dry – COMPLETELY!
  4. Don’t try to use tape. It’s a total waste of time.
  5. Don’t give up! You might end up with something amazing!

Let me know if you try it. I’d love to see your results!



4 thoughts on “Make Your Own Pinata!

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