Thrifty Tuesday: How To Make A Pinata (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Natasha Scott from Saving A Bundle.

Have you ever wondered how to make a piñata? Let me assure you, making a piñata is really quite simple, and with a little time you can create a masterpiece! Piñatas are always a hit, and a fun activity for all ages at any party or gathering.  Follow the steps below to make your own piñata.

Before You Begin

What you will need:

  • Balloon
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Bowl to make your paste
  • Hanger
  • Strong Tape
  • Somewhere to hang the piñata
  • Decorating items of your choice (paint, crepe paper, cardboard, etc.)
  • Candy, toys to fill the piñata

1. Determine how big and what kind of piñata you want to make. This will help you determine the size of balloon, how many balloons to use, how many layers you’ll need, how much candy/toys you will need to purchase, and how long it will take to make the piñata.

When I made the pumpkin piñata (see below) it was for a very large gathering of neighbors. It weighed over 40 lbs with all the candy inside! I was able to purchase a gigantic balloon, which was $0.39, from the floral department at my local grocery store.  Unless you are making a gigantic piñata a large balloon from any balloon package will work. Depending on the shape you might need two balloons to make your piñata-for example, the Hawaiian Girl.

Keep in mind each layer will take 24 hours or more to dry. If you need a very strong and sturdy piñata it could take nearly two weeks to make.

2. Collect newspapers and cut them into 2 inch by 10 inch strips. It’s a good idea to lay newspapers under the piñata-it can become messy. You can also use a plastic table cover from the dollar store, or your own vinyl picnic table cover that can wipe easily.

3. Find somewhere you can hang your piñata when you break it and make it. I use a tripod when I’m making it The tripod has a hook on the bottom and is very sturdy. You can make it on the floor but it’s very messy. If you don’t have a place to hang it use a vinyl table cloth so it didn’t stick to the newspapers. To break the piñata we use our play house, just move the swings aside. You can also use two ladders, or a clothesline.

4. Purchase candy and toys for the piñata. I like to purchase party favors as well as candy. This keeps the kiddos from eating too much candy. Using party favors also helps keep the piñata from being too heavy, if that’s a concern for you. Keep in mind if you use chocolate don’t let it get to hot or you’ll have a huge mess on your hands!

Now you’re ready to get your fingers dirty!

Make the Pinata

1. Blow up the balloon, tie a string to the top, and hang it up. Keep in mind, the shape the balloon is when you begin is the shape it will turn out to be. If you want a round pinata more than a tear shaped piñata don’t blow the balloon up so much.

2. Mix the paste. For medium sized balloons I usually use 1 1/2 cups flour. I then add water and stir, until the consistency is a medium to thick paste.

3. Take a clipped newspaper, dip it in the paste, wipe off the excess paste, then lay it on the balloon. You will want to lay them the same direction all the way around the balloon. After it dries, it takes about 24 hours, lay a second layer of newspaper clippings, this time lay them in the opposite direction. This will strengthen the piñata. If the piñata is for small children up to 6 years old, you only need to lay four layers. The more layers you add the harder it’s going to be!

4. After you have laid a minimum of two layers of newspapers, make a hook using a hanger. **If you are making a large piñata I would lay at least 3 layers before applying the hanger. It’s going to need to be extra strong to hold all the candy!**

Cut the balloon.  Cut the wire hanger in the middle of the bottom of the triangle. Using pliers bend the hanger hook down and around to make a loop as shown in the picture. This is so you can tie a string to it and it’s not going to slide off. Decide where you want the top of the piñata to be and wrap the cut hanger around the sides. You may need to clip the hanger sides shorter if you are making a small piñata. Tape the sides down with a strong tape. I have used packing tape before and it worked just find. My husband decided he wanted to use duct tape this time around.

If you are making a piñata with two balloons together this is the time to attach them together. Follow steps 1 and 2 first, then take some strong tape to attach them just enough so they will stay together as you add more layers.

5. Lay at least one more layer of newspaper. Once again, it all depends on how large you are making the piñata. If you have a double balloon piñata you will need to apply at least three more layers to hold the balloons together.

6. After the piñata is dry cut a flap near the top to fill the piñata. Cut the flap in a U shape, leaving the top uncut. When you’re finished tape it up and you’re ready to decorate!

Decorate the Piñata

Decide how you want to decorate your piñata. A few of the piñatas I’ve made are a smiley face, bowling pin, pumpkin, rainbow, Hawaiian girl, and a power ranger. You can make anything you want to, use your imagination and go for it.

Paint. The smiley face was probably the easiest. I painted two coats of yellow acrylic paint then painted the black eyes and mouth after that was dry. Very simple and cute. The bowling pin was mostly white paint with a little crepe paper around the neck. Paint is my favorite tool because it’s fast and easy!

Crepe paper. When I made the pumpkin piñata I used crepe paper sheets that I cut and then fringed. I then used Elmers glue to paste it all on. The green stem is made of cardboard and covered with green crepe paper. The eyes are also made of crepe paper. Black trash bags work really well for black too when making piñatas too.

Another way to use the crepe paper is to cut 2 by 2 inch squares, and use a pencil to wrap the squares around, dip in Elmers glue and paste on the piñata. This is what I did for the rainbow piñata. This takes a lot of time!

Cardboard. If you wanted to make a piñata with corners you can cut up a cardboard box and tape it right on. If you’ll notice on the Hawaiian Girl I used paper towel rolls for her arms.Be creative and you’ll be surprised what you can come up with.

Now you can enjoy watching your creation be demolished!

Natasha is a busy stay-at-home mom of three boys. She enjoys educating and encouraging others to live frugally on her blog, Saving A Bundle.

*Stay tuned next week for “How to Shop a Storage Unit Auction”.*

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