Here’s the thing about my kids…they believe no party to be a real party without a pinata. When we decided to have a Boo Bash, it went without saying that there would be a pinata involved. Well, actually, it did not go without saying, since each kid told me about fifty times that they really, really wanted a pinata. Okay, okay, got it.
Then I mentioned it to my mom, a former high school art teacher. I remember large papier mache projects for the homecoming parade each year lurking in her storage room at school, and thought she’d be a good resource. She assured me it was super easy and oh-so-rewarding to make your own pinata. Well, it WAS easy and rewarding, but she neglected to mention that it takes quite some time, because of all the drying time between steps.
Fortunately, I started a week ahead of the party. A month or so would have been a better plan, but a week worked out fine. Even though I was finishing it the morning of the party.
Pretty impressively store-bought-looking, isn’t it? I might be a little addicted to making my own pinatas now, I must admit.
The supplies are simple:
- a punch ball or large balloon for the base
- flour, sugar, water, and Elmers glue to make the glue
- white and orange paint, either craft paint or spray paint
- orange tissue paper and black construction paper to decorate it
- zip ties to hang it
So here’s the plan:
Day 1: Make the glue and put on the first layer
Make the glue: In a medium saucepan (don’t worry, it washes up easily and doesn’t ruin your pan), boil 2 cups water. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour and 2 cups cold water. When the water in the pan boils, stir in the flour mixture and return to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 bottle (4 oz) Elmer’s white glue. Let cool.
Cut your newspaper into 2” wide strips. This doesn’t need to be exact.
Blow up the punch ball or balloon, and suspend it from a broomstick between two chairs. I put a large garbage bag under it to catch drips. There WILL be drips.
When your glue is at room temp, start dipping the newspaper in it, then placing it on the ball. I pushed the paper into the glue, then pulled it out, using two fingers like a squeegee to remove all but a thin layer of glue. Cover the entire ball with paper, then let it dry about 24 hours.
Day 2, 3, and 4: Add another layer, in the opposite direction from the day before. Up and down or around. Build a “stem” at the top with glue-coated paper strips, as well.
Paint the whole thing white, then orange, using acrylic craft paint or even spray paint. It’ll be covered with tissue paper, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Let it dry.
Cut the sheets of tissue paper into 3” wide strips, then cut wide fringe into to, about 1” wide and leaving about an inch uncut. Then just start gluing the strips on, going around from the bottom.
It really goes pretty quickly. Cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth from black construction paper and glue it on top of the tissue paper.
When it’s all decorated, go ahead and fill it. Make an easy open pull, just in case it doesn’t break: Cut two layers of tissue about an inch bigger on each side than the piece you cut out of the bottom. Glue them to the outside of the cut out piece, then poke two holes and loop a zip-tie through them and fasten to make a handle. Replace the piece you cut out of the bottom the edges of the tissue in place. Let that dry thoroughly, overnight if possible.
As you can see, it was sturdy, but broke open perfectly, so no need to for the easy-open handle! Everyone whacked it twice, then the big kids got to really smack it.
I’ll definitely do this again!