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How to Make a Pinata

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Published on May 29, 2009

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Making your own pinata is surprisingly easy, and it can be a lot of fun.

Step 1: Cover up
Wear a smock and cover your work space with an old sheet or a drop cloth; making a pinata is a messy undertaking.

Step 2: Make newspaper strips
Tear old newspapers into strips approximately one inch wide and eight inches long. You’ll need enough pieces to cover your pinata with at least three layers.

Step 3: Mix up some paste
Whisk two cups of flour and one cup of water into a paste, adding a bit more of either if needed to reach the right consistency. You can also use regular glue thinned out with water.

Step 4: Blow up a balloon
Blow up a round balloon and knot it. Sit it in a bowl to steady it while you work.

Step 5: Apply the paper
Dip a newspaper strip into your paste or glue, shake off any excess moisture, and press it onto the balloon. Smooth down any bumps. Repeat, overlapping the strips, until the entire surface is covered in one layer. Leave a small, unpapered space at the top so you have an opening for the pinata’s filling.

Step 6: Let the layers dry
Let each layer dry completely before applying another. The more layers you add, the more difficult it will be to crack open. Three layers is the minimum.

Tip
Use plain white paper for the last layer so you have a clean base for decorating.

Step 7: Pop the balloon
Let the paper dry overnight, then pop the balloon and remove it through the unpapered hole.

Step 8: Prepare attachments
If you’re making a specific shape, like a donkey, construct the parts you need out of cardboard or scrunched-up newspaper, and attach them with tape or glue.

Tip
The traditional Mexican pinata is an orb with seven cones attached to it, representing the seven deadly sins. The cones are topped with colorful streamers.

Step 9: Decorate it
Paint and decorate the pinata with streamers, tissue paper, glitter, or other trimmings.

Tip
Acrylic and fabric paints work best.

Step 10: Fill with goodies
Make a small slit on either side of the hole. Push a ribbon into one slit, and pull it out of the pinata through the other slit. Then fill the pinata with candy, nuts, fruit, small toys, or a combination thereof.

Step 11: Seal it up
Seal the top hole with more newspaper strips dipped in paste. Let it dry, paint it, and hang up the pinata with the ribbon that you strung through it.

Step 12: Smash it!
Allow time for your work of art to be admired before you hand out sticks and let everyone smash it to smithereens!

Did You Know?
In Mexico, smashing open a pinata is a Christmas tradition.

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