A pinata? Piece of cake! At least, that’s what I thought. With Etsy giving me prices between $20 and $60, or more, I was determined to make my own pinata. How hard could it really be?
I promise you, if you Google homemade pinatas and, later, paper mache, it’ll sound like such a simple task. Flour, water, newspaper, and a balloon? I can do that. You can do that. Why isn’t everybody making their own pinatas? Well, let me tell you, it’s not as easy (or fun) as it sounds.
Other than saving money, I convinced myself (and anyone who’d listen) that my six year-old would love it too. Wrong! First off, Talon was not happy about getting his hands covered in gooey paste. The uncomfortable look on his face and the pleading look in his eyes when he asked, “Can I go wash my hands now?” after three pieces of paper mache… Well, let’s just say, I knew I was on my own.
Thankfully, my sister was a lot of help. With pinata #1 (a Pea Shooter from Plants VS Zombies) nearly finished, we thought it’d be okay to pop the balloon inside before we added the final layer of paper mache. As I began paper macheing the second pinata (a Wall-nut), the Pea Shooter crumpled before me. It was a very sad moment, indeed.
We did, eventually, get two relatively successful pinatas. It only took one crumpling and one exploding Pea Shooter to get a half-way decent one. The Wall-nut, thankfully, never crumpled or popped. He turned out to be my favorite, too. So, here’s my recipe for making a homemade pinata…based on my own not-as-terrific-as-expected experience.
Paper Mache & How to Make It
Paper Mache can be bought for ridiculously more than it costs to make it. At my local art store, I originally bought (before later returning) two bags for roughly $8.00 each. At home, I made paper mache for the cost of a bag of flour. Paper Mache is not just the flour and water–you have to dip the strips of newspaper in it too.
- Old Newspaper
If you have trouble rounding up enough newspaper, try asking your local stores, such as Dollar Tree. My local Dollar Tree puts all of their old newspapers in a bin to be picked up and recycled. It was mighty full when I was there buying other stuff and I asked if I could have some to make pinatas with.
Paper Mache Recipe
- Pour desired amount of flour into container.
- Mix cold water with flour to desired consistency. Electric mixer preferred, but not necessary. I prefer it to be really thick for the first layer and runny for the others. However, it’s more of a personal preference.
- Shred newspaper. All other sources say that cutting it is not as effective? I have not personally tested the difference.
- Dip shredded newspaper into paste mix & apply coated paper to balloon (or whatever you’re paper mache-ing).
Tip: You can add salt to your mix to prevent mold from growing. Mold is unlikely to grow, anyway, unless you make a large, single batch and let it sit for a long period of time. You could add some salt, just to be on the safe side, anyway.
I’m definitely not an expert in this area, but I am proud of what I did accomplish! I mean, look how cute the Wall-nut is! If you’re trying to make a pinata, you might want to use google to find better resources (like Martha Stewart).