piñata how-to (with lots of pictures!)

Let’s be honest, making a piñata is a bit of a process – there are a lot of steps and a lot of waiting around for things to dry – but it’s not difficult! Since they’re not easy to come by in Japan, if I want a piñata I have to make it myself.

Whether you’re looking for a handmade touch or have no other option, I hope this tutorial helps you make one too!

what you need

  • cardboard
  • scissors
  • masking/painter’s tape
  • string
  • newspaper
  • flour and water
  • paint
  • tissue/crepe paper
  • glue

step-by-step process

1- Sketch out your shape on cardboard, cut, trace, and cut again so you have two matching pieces

2- Cut strips of cardboard to use as the sides of your piñata (I like to use the flaps of boxes). Make sure they’re the same width, then roll the pieces a bit to make them easier to work with and attach them to your shape with painter’s tape.

3- Cut a flap to fill the piñata – if we’re going to break it with a stick, I put the flap on top and if we’re going to pull it open with a string (like we did here) I leave an opening on the bottom. I also like to poke holes and attach the string at this stage so it’s more secure.

4- At this point, hold it up by the string and give it a quick check – the goal is to be structured enough to hold it’s shape but not so strong that the kids won’t be able to break it.

5- Create a paper mache glue using 1 part flour to 2 parts warm water and cut/tear your newspaper into little squares. Dip the paper into the glue and wipe off the excess (this will help it dry faster), then apply it to your cardboard shape. Cover the whole thing with one layer and let it dry completely – maybe even overnight.

6- Get a paint that’s a similar color to your final design and coat completely. We used acrylic but spray paint is completely fine too. Once again, set the piñata somewhere where it can dry – probably overnight.

7- Next you’ll cut the characteristic fringe. Tissue paper is great because it’s lightweight and inexpensive, but I have a hard time finding colors in my area, so we used this crinkled wrapping paper that feels a bit like crepe paper. I cut it into strips, folded it in half, cut the fringe and then cut along the fold. This is probably the most tedious part for me, but I’d recommend making a little more than you expect to need.

8- I covered the top and bottom of our pumpkin in a solid piece of the wrapping paper, then started gluing the fringe on from the bottom. We had school glue from the US around, but I think any crafting glue strong enough to adhere is fine.

9- Once your fringe is done, you can add any final decorations using sturdy paper and glue.

10- Fill up your piñata using the little flap and hold it closed with a sturdy piece of tape (I also covered the strong tape with a similarly colored washi tape).

12- You’re done! Have a great party 🙂

kuri xx

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