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Friday, 28 October 2011
Why spend money on something to smash?
When you make it at home with things you have around the house?!
AND it is a great kid-friendly craft!

This year, for our daughter's 6th birthday party, we decided to make our own pinata.
It was messy but easy!
I haven't used papier mache since grade 5, but it was easy to round up everything we needed, including a recipe for a thick flour paste.

Age: 3+, just old enough to not eat the glue!
Time: Allow 2-3 days.
  • Strips of paper. Newspaper is ideal~ we snagged a stack of free community papers from the Post Office, just before they recycled them!
  • Balloons and/or picture wire.
  • Bowl, whisk or spoon.
  • Flour and water; saucepan and stove top
  • paints (any)
  • string or ribbon for hanging
  • covering for your table (we used a patio table that could be hosed off easily!)
  • On party day: goodies, blindfold and a stick

papier mache, craft, kids, birthday party, pinata, instruction, how to make a pinata, tiger

Because we were in a time crunch, we used a thick flour paste.
  1.  Put three cups of water in a saucepan and turn on heat to bring to a boil.
  2.  BEFORE it boils, use a sieve and sift in one cup of flour, stirring constantly with your whisk to avoid lumps forming. Continue to stir until it boils.
  3. Gently boil for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. This paste will 'gel' as it cools, which is fine! After you have applied one layer of paper, store unused paste in the fridge until you need it for the next layer.
  6. If you desire a runnier paste, follow the method above, using 5 cups of water and 1/4 cup of flour.

Let's Papier Mache!
1. Prepare your materials:
Tear your paper in strips.
Prepare your form~ ours was a balloon for a tiger's head. We used a bowl to hold it upright.
Make your paste.
Put on old clothes!
Cover your work area.

2. Slop it on!
This is not a tidy craft!  Place a strip of paper into the glue (well, 'onto' if you use the thicker recipe!) and cover it with the paste.
As you remove it from the paste bowl, run it over the edge of the bowl to remove any excess paste~ the piece you apply should be saturated with paste but without any excess 'globs' (that must be the technical term, right?!).
I found with a turning-6 year old that it was easier if I did the bowl portion and she applied the paper to the form.
tiger, pinata, birthday, party, make your own, how to, instructions, tutorial, craft, kids

Now slap it on! Criss-cross your strips to create a grid for strength and structure.
Cover the entire form EXCEPT for an area large enough to insert your pinata treats!
If you forget this bit, you can always cut an opening later!
You will want to reinforce this opening area to avoid having the drying mache collapse in.
When your pinata is fully covered with a single layer, place it in a warm dry spot to dry.
Expect this to take 18-24 hours.

3. Slop it on... Again!
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Add as many layers as you feel you need.
We stopped at two because we had enough structure for the piece to hold and wanted to be sure that it was relatively easy to smash.
Oh! And I ran out of time!

4.  Remove the Form
If you have used balloons, now is the time to pop them and peel them away from the inside as you pull them out through the candy opening.

Even with another 24 hours to dry, with our summer humidity, I ended up spending about an hour with a blow dryer to dry the inside of our pinata when the balloon was removed.

5. Paint or decorate...
We used a combination of tempera and acrylic craft paints to finish our tiger.
I found our pinata a little weak atthe opening and reinforced it by gluing on some cheap craft felt.
I poked a hole on either side of the top and strung through a ribbon to hang the pinata in the tree once I had added the prizes.
{{Filling Your Pinata~ maybe it goes back to the Easter Egg hunt when I was about 6 and all the big kids found the eggs and I got nothing... but I don't like to see kids upset after a candy scramble, and there is almost always someone upset!
So, for our birthday parties, we purchase candy and little prizes.  We use ziploc bags and put the same thing in each bag (or special treats for an allergic child) and put each child's name on their bag.
When the pinata breaks, rather than a mad competitive pushing mass of kids, we have a group of kids cooperating and sorting out the bags for each other and every one of them smiling!}}

A big stick, a blindfold and eager kids lined up to smash our tiger!
It was tougher than we expected and while it smashed in, it did not break open.
Eventually it tore from the strings...
Have fun!♥♥


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