Monday, March 5, 2012

[Birthday] Pull-String Pinata-Part One

A favorite young person of mine had a birthday last week!  She turned twelve--one of those hallmark birthdays in my opinion.  In honor of the big day, her friends hosted a surprise party, and I wanted in on the action.  I volunteered to do a pinata.

I can only remember making a couple of pinatas in my life.  The first one was in the seventh grade.  Spanish class with Mrs Calzadillas.  I think it was supposed to look like a llama.  It definitely didn't.  The second time went much better.  My oldest was maybe three or four.  We made some miniature pinatas and decorated them like easter eggs.  That was fun.  And they actually did look like easter eggs.  They had a cool string around the circumference of the egg.  When you pulled it, the sugary candy contents came spilling out.  He loved it!

So, this was my first attempt at a full-size birthday pinata.  I'm not gonna lie to you.  It was fun.  But it does take some time.  This is not a fifteen minute craft.  The other thing you need to know...once your kids witness the fun that is pinata making.  They will want one for every single birthday in the foreseeable future.  Consider yourself warned.

Let's make a pinata.


one large punching balloon
old newspapers from the recycling bin
large bowl
small bowl
a cute little helper or two

1.  Blow up your balloon to the desired size.  We went for BIG.  Place your balloon in a large bowl to keep it still while you work.
2.  Cut your newspaper into thin strips.

3.  Dump your glue into a small bowl and dilute with water.  We decided to use up all of the almost empty bottles of glue from the past twelve school years that have been floating around the house.  You can also make a homemade glue with flour and water.  Have your little helper stir the water/glue mixture well.

4. I decided to leave the elastic string of the punching balloon exposed.  This came in handy when I needed to hang the pinata to dry.  So, I taped down the knotted end of my balloon.  (Can you see the knot poking out between the strips in the photo below?  It's actually taped down.  It made a little bump.  But not too bad.)

5.  Dip the top of your strip into the glue, then use your forefinger and your thumb to squeegee the glue down to the bottom of your strip.  The excess glue will drip back off into your bowl.

6.  Apply the strips to the balloon.  I started at the knotted end and worked my way down.  It took me fifteen to twenty minutes to paper half of the balloon.  That was one BIG balloon!

7.  Clean up your drippy gluey mess and let your balloon dry.

8.  Turn your balloon over and paper the other half.

9.  Repeat the papering steps until you have three or four layers.  I oriented the strips differently with each layer, to give the pinata extra strength.  On my final layer, I applied the strips in a basket weave pattern.  It seemed to work well.

As mentioned, I applied the paper strips half a balloon at a time.  Then I would leave and go do something else (laundry, dishes, whatever).  It takes a long time for the newspaper to dry.  I was in a bit of a time crunch.  So, I enlisted the help of a hair dryer.  It still wasn't completely dry and ready to decorate and stuff until the next morning.

Moral of the story:  You can not make a pinata in a day.  Repeat that to yourself at least three times.

CLICK HERE for Part Two

1 comment:

  1. My kids love pinatas. I will have to try this for their next birthday.


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