How to make a pinata at home

Pinatas are great fun at parties and special occasions, and it’s easier than you think to make one.

They can be shaped like donkeys, tigers, or puppies, but they’re all done with basically the same steps. Balloons are filled with wrapped candy pieces by inserting a tube-like object into the mouth of the balloon. This can be an old film canister with the bottom cut off or a tubular cardboard piece. After working the mouth of the balloon over the tube, insert candy easily through the hole of the tube, into the balloon.

After the balloon is seemingly full of candy, blow up balloon and tie. You may need one balloon for the head and one for the body, and different shaped balloons can be used for each. Bendable wires, such as flexible coat hangers are helpful when making your frame. After the balloons are ready, begin to build the frame around it with the coat hangers or flexible wire. Shape the legs and underbelly, lay the body balloon on the frame and then shape the frame to make the animal’s back.

Likewise, shape a neck, lay the head balloon on top and shape the head around it. The wires need not be so close together that they pinata will never release the candy, but if the wires are too far apart, the shape of the animal will sag in places. After forming the overall shape of the pinata, you can form ears or tails and such with just the hangers, no balloons. The balloons are usually only used for forming the head and body, but not the legs, arms, tails, or ears.

Make a paste from flour and water by dumping some flour into a bowl and slowly adding water until the concoction resembles a paste. Tear newspaper into short, medium, and long strips, then begin dipping them in the mixture and placing them on the wire forms. Dip a small strip, then slide the paper between your fingers and thumb to remove excess liquid. Turn the shape over and lay the strips across and around the foot area, smoothing as you go along.

Work your way up the legs, placing the medium-sized strips around each leg of the pinata. Next do the underbelly of the shape, smoothing the long pieces up around the sides of the animal shape. Work the small pieces around the tail and then begin to add the long pieces across the back and down the sides of the shape. Use the small and medium pieces to fashion the face and neck of the project. Extra touches can be added, like a small fur piece at the end of the tailor later, a mane if it’s to be a horse piñata.

After completing the papering process, allow them pinata to dry overnight. When the paper is completely dry to the touch, use a large needle to poke through the paper and puncture the balloons. If you have a paper shredder, shred colored paper in the shades you’ll need for your particular pinata. For a horse, bear or puppy pinata, shred brown, black and/or white paper. If you have no shredder, tear or cut very thin pieces, about 1/2″ wide, of the colored paper for use on your project. Paint the entire pinata with the colors you prefer –

white for the face, brown for the body, or whatever you decide. After painting the pinata, stick the strips of colored paper to the wet paint, allowing them to hang off the frame about 3″ to 5″, to represent fur. Place the strips rather close together, covering the entire body, legs, face, and ears. Allow drying. When dry, you can paint on a face or purchase eyes for the piñata at a craft store. You can also cut out shapes from felt to use for the nose or mouth and inside the ears.

A pinata doesn’t have to be an animal shape, although they are popular at children’s parties. For a different occasion, like a baby shower, the pinata can be shaped like a giant baby bottle or even a baby buggy. Use your imagination to come up with other ideas for pinata shapes, but follow the basic instructions for a successful pinata party.

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