June 26, 2012 | in Nanny
Traditionally piñatas are thought of as coming from Mexico, but they actually originated in China and were then introduced to the West by Marco Polo. Since they’re emergence they have become a fun addition to any holiday or birthday celebration for both kids and adults alike. By making your own piñata you have the freedom to make it look like anything you’d like and can save money by doing it yourself with things you have around the house. Follow these 10 steps to make your own piñata.
- Create the shape you want your piñata to be. Inflate a balloon to the size that you would like your piñata to be. If you would like to make an animal shape, you can use the balloon for the body and then use a smaller balloon for the head. You can add legs by using toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes. These can be added after the main shape is covered. By having a bowl bigger than the balloon you are using it can serve as a place to rest the balloon while you are working.
- Mix up some paste. To get started, mix together ¼ cup of flour and 1 cup of cold water, stirring until there are no more lumps. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add a spoonful of boiling water to the paste mixture and stir. Pour the paste mixture into the boiling water while stirring constantly. Drop the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 2 minutes. Let cool. This will be your paste for the papier-mâché.
- Tear newspaper into strips. While the paste is cooling, tear strips of newspaper about 1 ½ inches wide. If you use a straight edge the tearing will go much faster. Tear more strips than you think you will need because you’ll want 2 to 3 layers of newspaper on the balloon.
- Apply newspaper strips to the shape. Cover your work area with newspapers. Next, dip a newspaper strip into the paste, emerging it completely. Using your fingers, squeegee off the excess paste from the strip and apply it to the balloon. Keep applying more newspaper strips in random directions until the balloon is completely covered, leaving only the tied end uncovered. Allow the piñata to dry for a couple hours before adding a second layer.
- Allow the newspaper to dry. Leave the piñata to dry overnight once you have applied two to three layers of newspaper. If you are adding legs, a good time to add them is after the first layer is completely dry. Tape the tubes onto the balloon shape and then cover everything with the newspaper strips and paste. Once everything dries the legs will stay where you applied them.
- Paint the shape to resemble whatever you want. Using tempera paints create the look of the final piñata. If you are using a head, you will need to paint that separately.
- Allow the paint to dry and recoat if necessary. This step could take several hours depending on how thick the paint is applied.
- Add additional details to decorate the piñata. Traditionally crepe paper is used to decorate a piñata. You can create fur by folding the crepe paper streamers in half and cutting slits along one edge until you’ve created a fringe. Apply the folded edge around the balloon using white glue. Keep adding rows of fringe until the whole thing is covered. Texture can also be created by ruffling the crepe paper or gathering it as you apply it to the piñata.
- Cut a hole and fill with candy and gifts. Pop the balloon if it hasn’t popped already and remove it from the hole that you left in one end of the piñata. Enlarge that hole and fill the piñata with candy and toys. If using a head, that can be filled with candy as well. Attach the head to the body where the holes meet so that everything is covered. Tape the head to the body and then using crepe paper; hide the opening and the tape.
- Attach a rope to the top of the piñata. Using an awl or another pointed tool, poke a couple of holes at the top of the piñata and attach some sturdy rope or string. This loop will be attached to some additional rope and used to hang the piñata from a tree or other high place.
Once the piñata is hung you need to blindfold the first child and hand them a light bat or stick. Give each child a couple of whacks at the piñata. Once it breaks open, the kids can run and pick up all of the candy and toys that fall out.
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