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The upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday is the perfect excuse to get a little messy with some basic crafting supplies to make a piñata paper-mache style.
Using your bypass trimmer cut newspapers into 1” strips. Cut these strips down to an approximately length of 6”.
Blow up your balloon to the desired size and shape and tie off with a knot. Resting your balloon in one empty bowl will help prevent a case of the runaway balloon while you’re working to cover it.
In another bowl, mix equal parts of flour and water. Stir until most of the lumps have been worked into the mixture. NOTE: One cup of each is a good amount to get you through covering your balloon with the first layer of paper.
Dip newspaper strips, one at a time, into your flour paste and remove excess paste by gently dragging it between two fingers. Apply each strip to balloon, slightly overlapping each strip.
Cover the entire balloon, but leave the knotted area of the balloon uncovered. This is the opening you will use to fill the piñata with sweet treats and assorted party favors.
TIP: When you first start applying strips, the weight of first few strips will pull your balloon off balance and make it seem like the bowl isn’t so helpful, but if you apply some strips to the opposite side it will quickly balance itself out.
After covering the balloon with a single layer of paste-covered newspaper strips, allow it to rest in the bowl and dry overnight. Rotate the balloon every few hours to make sure the areas resting in the bowl are exposed to air for drying.
On the next day, repeat the step above, following the same paste-making and strip-covering process to add a second layer.
NOTE: You may repeat this process as many times as desired, but you will find that two or three layers create a very stable and sturdy form.
Once your piñata form is completely dry you can remove the balloon. Use the sharp tip of your No. 5 Micro-tip scissors to pierce a hole to deflate the balloon. You’ll hear the balloon pulling away from the edge of the piñata form as it deflates. Using a light tug, you can remove the balloon from the hole.
Now your form is ready for you to start adding character to it with additional materials. For a three dimensional star shape, I simply taped party hats around the perimeter of the piñata. You can use many other recyclable materials. My daughter created a unicorn and used a cotton candy paper cone for the horn and a few sections from an egg carton for the eyes. Wadded up paper bags can add dimension as well. All of it will be covered when you decorate so it doesn’t matter how attractive these form shapers are.
Now that I you have your shape ready, it’s time to start decorating. There are a dozen different materials and a dozen different ways to decorate a piñata, but I chose to use fringed crepe paper streamers. You can also glue small wadded up squares of tissue paper on or punch shapes from construction paper using your favorite squeeze punch shape to glue on.
Before you start cutting fringe, take a moment to plug in your hot glue gun so it’s hot and ready when you are.
To create the fringe, first cut off a 8’ length (this length can be longer or shorter) of crepe paper, folded it in half many times over, then use your Razor Sharp scissors to cut through the multiple layers of folded crepe paper. Cut the fringe approximately 1/8” apart and cut slightly more than halfway into the edge of the paper.
After the fringe is cut, start gluing the uncut edge of the fringed crepe paper starting at the bottom of your piñata and working your way toward the top. I first covered the round shape of the piñata, and then finished it off with decorating the paper party hats. To create a full fringed look as seen in the sample, glue short strips of each uncut edge directly above the other working from bottom of the piñata all the way to the top, switching colors as desired.
If you are having trouble stabilizing your piñata during the decoration process, you can use an empty bowl to rest your piñata form in. If you’re creating the same dimensional star, the party hats act as a stabilizer for you.
After your fringed crepe paper is applied, you can add additional details like silk flower, buttons, google eyes, yarn, etc. In this case, I used my No. 5 Micro-tip Scissors to curl some curling ribbon to hot glue to each point.
Now the piñata is ready to fill with treats and party favors. If the hole is not large enough to fit your treats into you can gently make it larger by using a detail knife to shave away the paper around the opening.
To prepare for hanging, use your 1/8” hand-held hole punch to punch through the piñata form at opposite sides of the opening. String twine through the holes and hang in an open area to allow party attendees ample space for whacking it to bust it open.Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Assorted colors of crepe paper
Masking tape or duct tape
Razor sharp scissors
Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
1/8” hand-held circle punch
No. 5 Micro-tip scissorsparty hats.