I created these pinatas for my son’s end of the year pre-k party This was my second attempt at making pinatas. To see the first pinata I made for my son’s Mario Party click here.
I was pretty bummed because I had a ton of great pictures and videos of the pinata but lost them when my iphone decided to quit working on me No use crying over it though I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got!
This fish is near and dear to my heart! She is actually an abstract self-portrait of myself…and No it’s not Rainbow fish (I get that a lot…I created this illustration before Rainbow Fish existed…call the cops I’ve been robbed!). I have immortalized this fish in a mural as well that you can see the fish mural fence click here.
There were two pre-k classes attending the end of the school year bash so I wanted to play it safe and make two pinatas. I did not want there to be any tears as I have seen in years past when a chintzy pinata was broken on the 4th hit while a long line of disappointed kids burst into hysterics. . For this undertaking I enlisted the help of another crafty mom from my son’s class. I took care of making the fish pinata and had my friend Lisa work on the second one….Fuzzy Buzzy BEE!!
One of the other Pre-K parents gave us “The Cool Parent Award” when we walked in with the pinatas. The teachers asked us how we could stand there and watch 30 preschoolers beat our artwork with bats? I’m not going to lie it was tough but the joy it brought the kids was all worth it!
Alright well now that we’ve seen the finished product I’ll take you back to the beginning and show you how to create your own pinata…are you ready to get messy?
How to Make a Pinata
STEP 1: Gather Supplies ( you do not want to be running around the house once you get your hands dirty…trust me)
- twine or some type of string
- Glue (any old kind will do)
- Measuring cup
- Mixing bowl
- Large Bowl (to hold balloon while you work)
- Newspaper, magazine/catalogs, and white copy paper torn into 1-1.5 in strips (be sure to rip DO NOT cut frayed edges stick better). Keep paper strips in separate piles.
- Mixing spoon, stick….whatever you’ve got use something you don’t mind getting goopy
- Wax paper (to cover your work area and line bowl so balloon doesn’t stick)
- Plastic Wrap
- Card board or poster board for wings, fins or whatever you have in mind
- Painters tape, Masking tape or Duct tape
- Spray Adhesive
- Colored Tissue or Crepe Paper
STEP 2: Paper Mache
- Cover work space with wax paper or newspaper
- Blow up balloon and place in wax paper covered bowl
- To make paper mache add 1 part water, 1 part glue, 1 part flour (usually about a cup of each but don’t quote me on that) mix and add glue, water, or flour as necessary until you have a thick paste.
- Throw in some salt to prevent mold
- Begin by dunking newspaper strips into paper mache mixture and wiping off excess by running fingers down strip
- adhere to balloon with overlapping vertical or horizontal strips (I find vertical strips easiest for the sides)
- You can leave an opening wherever you wish or wait to cut one before decorating…I prefer cutting and duct taping at the end
- Once balloon is Completely Covered let it dry for 24 hrs DO NOT rush this step or you will wind up with an unbreakable pinata
- Flip periodically to be sure all areas are completely dry
- Cover any unused Paper Mache with plastic wrap to use later
STEP 3: String and Magazine layer
- Cut string into strips long enough to wrap around balloon lengthwise
- Dip in paper mache mixture wiping off excess with fingers
- Continue adding strips of string to form a “cage” around balloon leaving spaces between
- Repeat Step 1 adding magazine strips
- Let second layer dry 24 hrs
STEP 4: Copy Paper Layer
- Draw out any arms, legs, wings, fins or what not on cardboard be sure to leave some type of “tab” so it can be taped to the pinata
- Use tape to adhere embellishments…don’t be shy with the tape you want it to be sturdy. You may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member to hold embellishment while you add the next layer of paper mache.
- Repeat Step 1 using white copy paper *You can use newspaper if you plan to paint your pinata a very dark color, using copy paper saves time and paint for lighter colored or multicolored pinatas.
- Cover embellishments, tape and seams with a sturdy layer of paper Mache
- Let dry another 24 hours
Now for the fun part…Decorating! Grab your paint, pipe cleaners, pom poms, fun foam, glitter, ribbon, crepe paper or colored tissue paper….the sky’s the limit when it comes to pinata decorating.
STEP 5: Paint and Decorate
- Paint the pinata the color of the tissue paper you will be using to decorate it with….any paint will do…I like to use acrylics or Krylon spray paint
- Add embellishments
The Bee’s body and wings were spray painted with Krylon. Once the first coat of paint was dry black Krylon spray paint was used for the stripes on the body. It is helpful to use a cardboard box to hold your pinata as you work so it doesn’t roll all over the place and it will keep the paint from going everywhere. It also allows the air to get under it and speed up the paint drying process. Pipe cleaners, fun foam, and pom poms were used to create the eyes, mouth and antennae. You will want to use a hot glue gun for adding the embellishments. Don’t worry about stray glue spots it will all be covered with tissue paper in the end.
Silver pipe cleaners were used to create veins in the Bee’s wings. I based the design for the Bee pinata off of an illustration I created for this card. You can see the magazine paper through the paint here this is why I urge you to learn from my mistakes and use white copy paper when working with light colors. Ok we are almost DONE….this is the last step I promise!
STEP 6: Tissue Paper Time
- Cut a square opening leaving the 4th side attached somewhere on the pinata (I usually go for the bottom)
- Remove balloon from inside
- Insert zip tie loop through top of pinata (this will be used to hang it) and reinforce with tape
- Insert second zip tie into flap you just cut (this will be used to add curling ribbon)
- Fill with Goodies and seal flap securely with tape (Duct tape works best for this step)
- Cut colored tissue in 1-2 in square pieces
- Working in small sections use spray adhesive to adhere tissue paper crumpling each piece in the middle as you go, continue until entire pinata is covered
- Add Curling ribbon to bottom zip tie
- Hang, Enjoy, and take pictures before the demolition!
The fins were hand painted with Folk Art metallic acrylic paints. I drew the scales on in pencil as a guide for placement of the different colors of tissue paper.
The eyes on the fish were created with fun foam, acrylic paint, copic markers, and glitter. The lips are a Barbie sticker I just happened to have…you never know when you might need something right?
I know it looks like a lot of steps….there ARE and yes it is a time-consuming project but the reward is so GREAT…the look on the faces of those who see it and being able to say “I made that” is sooo worth the effort. Just close your eyes when the bat comes out….better yet…borrow the blindfold!
Hope your day is “smashing”!