Saturday, May 02, 2015

Cracking a Christmas piñata

For Christmas 2014 I decided to make my young niece and two nephews a bauble-shaped piñata. My inspiration came from a dear friend of mine who made one for a Christmas party she went to. As I was on a budget I thought it would be a fun activity for the kids on Christmas day.

My friend made her's following the steps on this website. Which was my starting point. This was my first experience making a piñata, but I have a bit of experience with papier-mache so thought it wouldn't be too difficult.

I used a balloon as the mould. As I couldn't find proper papier-mache glue, I made my own by mixing water and flower. Tearing newspaper into strips took considerably longer than I thought, but it was rather therapeutic.

I deviated slightly from the website instructions and covered the whole balloon in layers, including the top. I think I ended up with about five or six layers, leaving each layer to dry thoroughly before starting the next one.

Once the mache was completed, I popped the balloon and gave the piñata a lobotomy; slicing off its lid. I filled it with sweets, toys and tiny pieces of paper of different colours (which I tore by hand!).

I also made a hole in the lid and bottom of the piñata and and threaded through some heavy duty twine (I wanted to make sure it was strong enough to hold the heavy piñata up). I intertwined the twine with some tinsel to make it more Christmassy.

Then I fixed the lid back on and paper-mached it to the body. I also reinforced the base to make sure it was strong enough that the twine handle wouldn't tear through when the piñata was hung.

My piñata wasn't looking more pear-shaped than round (tip: actually use round balloons!); so I made a shallow cone with cardboard and fixed this to the bottom to give the piñata a more tapered appearance. This also served to hide the knot of the twine handle.

It was now ready to decorate. I decided against using strips of tissue paper to decorate the bauble as I thought it would be too fiddly. So I decided to spray paint it gold and then decorated it with a message to my niece and nephews.

I also added a crown to the top, to make to look more like a bauble I made this from cardboard which I spray painted gold; adding a strip of back paper behind the 'teeth' for added effect.

It was ready. Probably about four hours work all up (plus drying time).

On Christmas day I hung it up on the clothes-line. And everyone gathered around to watch the destruction.

It took about 9 minutes to crack open. A few adults had a turn as well; it proved to be quite the stress reliever! It was great fun watching everyone try to crack it open. Quite a highlight of Christmas day in my opinion.

In hindsight; the piñata was probably too thick. The layers of paper with the thick flour glue made the walls of the piñata more like thick cardboard than delicate paper. Hence, it took quite some effort to crack open. But then again, that just prolonged the fun.

1 comment:

J said...

Wow! Awesome project. It sounds like it took a while but made for a memorable and fun Christmas activity. I love the lettering you did - very swirly and olde world glamour. Thanks for sharing.