Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Simple Pinata Tutorial

I thought I'd share with you how I made the pinata for my 4 year old daughter's kitty party in the previous post. There are lots of different ways to make pinatas. This is a simple one. The first thing you'll do is mix flour & water--this is your paste--to pancake batter consistency. It's gonna get messy--this is a fun project to do with your kids. And why wait until a birthday or other celebration to make a pinata? Make one just because!!
Gather your paste, newspaper strips torn in about 1-2" pieces & a large balloon. I got one of those big round punch balloons because it makes a nice "cat head" shape, but you can use any shaped balloon.
Dip your newspaper strips into the paste & slide your fingers down both sides to remove the excess paste.Layer the strips on the balloon until the whole thing is covered.
Like I said, this'll get messy. And this stuff dries REALLY hard. You see that dried up paste on the concrete? It's still there. But it's so fun to get messy & make messes!
Tie a rubber band or string on the end of your balloon & hang it up to dry. You'll see the paste turn white. That means it's drying.
Before you start your second coat, make sure the first coat is completely dry. I actually had a chance to get the second coat on in the early morning before the wee ones were awake. I love the smell of flour paste in the morning!
Let the second layer dry. In this picture you can see how easy it is to tell the first layer from the second layer.

Messy is my middle name. Oh, & before I go on, I'll let you know that I only made the pinata 2 layers because a bunch of 3, 4, & 5 year olds were going to be bashing on the pinata & I wanted it to be thin enough for them to break open. Two years ago I made a giant bee pinata & it was my first attempt. I made it WAAAAAY too thick for my daughter & her 2 year old friends. Oops. I would say 3 layers would be good if you are also adding tissue paper at the end. Or 4 layers if you are just going to paint it.
OK, this is the part where you can break the rules & just do what works for you. There are lots of different ways to attach a hook to your pinata. I took a coat hanger & cut it at the shoulders. I stuck a 3"x3" piece of cardboard onto the hanger for stability.
Pop the balloon....
...& pull it out.
Now, this is where I will tell you to do as I say, not as I do. What I did was create a hole to insert the hanging mechanism into. Later on, I made another hole to insert the candy. That's a total of 2 holes. You really only need one hole. So, make just one hole big enough for all that. Just cut it with a sharp knife--by cutting three sides & leaving one un-cut so it creates a "hinge" or "flap" to open & close---& stab the hanger loop through another tiny hole in the top. Does that make sense?

Paint the pinata white. This is so the first coat of real color will go on smoothly & you'll have to do less coats.
After that white coat dries, paint your base color. My kidlet wanted a tan cat for her party, so that's what she got!
I couldn't resist showing this picture of them painting together. They look so adorable in their oversized painting smocks borrowed from daddy.
Again, let it dry. This project, as you can see, has a lot of drying steps. It'll take you a couple days to complete.
NOW I cut the opening for the candy. But, if I were to do it again, I would eliminate this step & just use the opening I made for inserting the hanger.
Cut out ears, eyes & nose from felt & attach with a hot glue gun. The mouth was colored on with a permanent marker & the whiskers were white chenille stems (a.k.a. "pipe cleaners").
Once your pinata is ALL the way dry, add the good stuff!!!!

Sadly, I didn't get a good close up of the completed cat pinata. I forgot!
The kids had a blast!
Don't get too attached to your creation. The candy is what the kids want.
Because of [lack of] time I had to paint this pinata. It turned out rather cute I thought! But, you can also cover it in tissue paper, add streamers, go crazy!!! You can even add other shapes by balling up newspaper & taping it on with painter's tape or masking tape & then adding the strips of newspaper dipped in glue. The possibilities, as they say, are ENDLESS!
Here's some other links to pinata making:


  1. Pinatas are so much fun! Especially when you get to make your own. :) I made one a couple years ago the shape of a 1up from Mario. It was extremely hard and so we decided to keep it. :P

    I bet your girls had a blast! Was a really cute idea to add the kitty face to it. I have not seen that done before. Creative!

  2. awesome nikki! who would ever want to buy one when u can make them that cool at home!

  3. So very cool, this looks like awesome fun.

  4. What an awesome pinata tutorial Nikki!

  5. Nikki, you are the best mom EVAH!!! My kids have been begging me for a pinata, so I might have to make this one with them.

  6. Hi Nikki,

    I just wanted to say that this is a GREAT tute and I've linked to it on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. Check it out at - ttp://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/must-have-monday-tutorials-and-handmade-items-to-make-your-el-cinco-de-mayo-a-hit/


  7. Thanks for sharing your process. I so used this tutorial as a last minute, must have for my five year old's b-day party today!

    I may have pictures next week of it up on my blog, but I will be sure to share your link :)

  8. Thank you for your tutorial! It was perfect. I used it to make an Angry Birds pinata for my daughter's birthday. :)



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