Make Your Own Pinata: Kids Crafts

Jeanne Sager

How to make your own pinataI have just finished scouring the Earth for a pinata that fits my daughter's birthday party theme.

Never again.

For something that will be smashed into a million little pieces by Sunday afternoon, pinatas are expensive.

And the odd shapes don't necessarily hold a heckuva lot -- especially when you're trying to be the popular mom and fill it with "stuff" instead of junk food.

So I have scouted the web for the best tips to make your own pinata. Mark this on the calendar for next year:

If you papier mached in elementary school, you'll be able to handle this process, and your kids will love getting their hands dirty. 

You'll need:

  • Balloons -- preferably larger ones (14 inches or more)
  • Old newspaper cut into strips of 6 inches long by 1 inch wide (about)
  • Papier Mache paste (you can do the traditional flour and water or this cool recipe)
  • Thin cardboard
  • Yarn or string
  • Tissue paper

Blow up your balloon, tie off the end and stabilize it at your workspace (taping the knot to the table works or place it in a bowl).

Dip newspaper strips into the papier mache paste and start laying across your balloon, being careful to ensure they lay flat rather than bunching up. Eventually you'll start laying the strips across one another in layers to cover the balloon completely. Once that layer is done, leave it to dry for 24 hours.

Tie a string around your balloon from top to bottom twice, tying a knot at the very top when you're done. You'll want at least 6 to 10 inches of string remaining beyond the knot so you can hang the pinata with it. 

Do yet another layer of papier mache, being careful to leave the string ends free. Allow to dry for 24 hours and then hit it with . . . you guess it . . . a third layer.

While this layer is still wet, you have the option of cover the whole thing with the tissue paper to make a design or to decide whether you want to make a shape. About has a series of different shape ideas, but cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towels serve as good necks, and smaller balloons papier mached can make heads.

If you are going to the tissue paper route now, cover the balloon in the light cardboard, then glue the tissue paper on there.

Once layer number three has dried and it feels sturdy, carefully cut a small hole at the back, slicing three sizes of a square to create a flap. The balloon will likely pop as you do this, but if it doesn't, pop it yourself!

Fill the pinata, tape down your flap and hang!

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