Friday, January 14, 2011

Make Your Own Pull-String Piñata!

It has been a while since I posted a craft, hasn't it?  Well, here's a fun one that you can do for less than $5!  A homemade piñata!  These are my instructions and since I did not take step-by-step photos, I have gone through the trouble of making you illustrations for each step.  Make this a family project and enjoy!

What you will need:
  • computer paper or newspaper (computer paper is supposed to be stronger)
  • 1 part flour to 2 parts water (for paste)
  • tissue paper or tissue decoration streamers in the color(s) of your choice
  • latex balloon (I used only one, but in case it pops on you or you want to make a design, buy a pack at the dollar store)
  • craft glue
  • curling ribbon in the color(s) of your choice
  • thin wire (like the type used in gardening for securing plants) - you can probably use a strong piece of string or yarn, but I used the above wire, since we had some already.
  • A small bowl or cup to act as a "stand" for the balloon
  • a picture of a character or wording to stick on the front (optional)

1. Mix 1 part flour and 2 parts water (ex: 1 cup flour + 2 cups water; 2 cups flour + 4 cups water) with a whisk until smooth.  Make sure you use a container that you can reach into and dip the paper and pull out easily, I prefer something wide and shallow.

2. Inflate balloon.  I didn't go for a design this time, I wanted something quick and easy, so I just inflated the balloon as large as it would go without popping easily.

3. Rip newspaper or computer paper into strips or squares, whatever you feel most comfortable with.  Just keep in mind that larger pieces cover more surface area and makes the project go faster.  But, not too large or too long!

4. Dip a strip of paper into your paste mixture, run your thumb and forefingers through it to wipe excess paste off and begin covering the balloon. At first it is a little awkward.  You will notice that as soon as you start to add the paper mache, the balloon will begin to tip with the weight.  Try to keep it balanced on the other side or have someone help by holding it up for you.  Start at the base where the knot of the balloon is, don't cover the knot, leave an open circle around it.  This will become the opening at the top where you pour the treats into.  It helped me to start at the base then flip it over, prop it in a little bowl/bucket for a stand and work on the other end and meet them in the middle.

5. Cover the entire balloon, let it sit for about ten minutes so it's not so messy and come back to it to add a second and third layer.

6. Later on, you will want to return and add a 4th and possibly 5th layer to the bottom of the balloon (the wider part opposite of the knot), because this will be the bottom where the treats sit and you want this part to be strongest to hold them.

7. Leave the balloon standing on the cup/bowl/bucket to dry overnight, or 10hrs. (fig 1)  You will know it is dry by touching it, it will be matte and if you feel any coolness, it is not quite dry yet.
fig 1 - drying balloon piñata propped on small bowl

8. Once you are sure it is dry, pop the balloon with a needle and remove it from the paper mache shell.  You will now have a hollow balloon-shaped object with an opening at the top (where the balloon's knot used to be). (see fig 2)  Now is also a good time to test the strength of your piñata.  Place the treats inside and hold it by the top edges to see if it feels strong enough.  For me, this was enough layers to hold candy and treats that filled the piñata up to halfway.
fig 2 - piñata shell with opening

9. The next step is to set up your crafting supplies.  Tissue paper, glue, picture (optional) and curling ribbon and wire.

10. At the top of your pinata, where you have the round opening, poke four small holes, perpendicular to one another. (see fig 3)  Do not poke the holes too close to the edge, these are the support for hanging the piñata up!  I'd say about 1.5" away from the edge, should be good.
fig 3

11. Weave wire or yarn through the four holes, give it a little slack, but not too much.  Then tie ends securely.  This is the hanging support for the piñata. (see fig 4)

fig 4
12. Now you will cut long pieces of curling ribbon.  Use your own discretion as to how long because you want to know where you're hanging it from and how high so that the children can reach it.  Loop the ribbon through the wires as shown in fig 5.
fig 5
13. Turn the piñata upside down so the base is facing you.  You are now going to create the trap door for all the candy to fall through when strings are pulled.  With a pencil, lightly mark the center base of the pinata shell to make a 3x3" square. (see fig 6)
fig 6

14. Now you are going to take a knife or sharp razor blade and cut along three sides of that square only!  Leave one side attached to the piñata, this is your "hinge" for the little trap door. (see fig 7)

fig 7
15. If you have a rough idea of how many children will be attending and participating, cut that number in long pieces of curling ribbon. Poke a hole into the trap door is indicated in fig 8, then holding the ribbons on one end, push them through the hole and tie a tight knot on the inside of the trap door (fig 9).  You can also tape the knot to the inside of the door to keep it extra secure.
fig 8                                                                                                         fig 9

16. Close the trap and sparsely add tape to hold closed, just enough to hold the treats in but that the children will still be able to pull it open.  You can test the door by filling the piñata now.  If it bulges or seems about to open, you may want to add a little more tape before you move on to the next step!

17. Now it's time to decorate!  Flip your piñata upright (trap door at bottom) and, if you've chosen to add a picture of a character (I chose Barbie to match my daughter's party theme) glue it to the center front, you can also tape it sparingly for extra security.  Choose a nice, bright color from among your tissue to create the border around your picture.  Rip approx 2inch pieces, one at a time, crumple it,open it up, dab glue onto the spot on the piñata where you want it, then push the piece of tissue onto that spot.  Repeat this around the border of your picture until it's done.

18. Do the same as above with the tissue all over the piñata, in whatever pattern you choose.  Space the pieces out at first, then go back and fill in the white spaces.  Give the glue a couple of hours to dry and you're done!
A closer look at our Barbie Piñata
Please let us know if you attempted this craft and how it turned out!  We appreciate your feedback!


Anonymous said...

love it!!!! it helped alot!

Michelle said...

Glad you were able to use it!