For my little girl’s first birthday, I handmade just about everything. It was quite an effort and totally exhausting… but so much fun and totally worth all the work. I learnt how to make so many things from scratch – mainly because we had a theme in our heads and I couldn’t find everything I needed in the stores.
So I set out to make all the little things that would complete all the ideas we had for the occasion. The beehive piñata was an essential component amongst the ‘hungry caterpillar’ and friends theme and I was pretty chuffed at how it turned out, considering it was so easy to make.
As I was putting it together, my mind kept racing of all the variations and occasions where I could bring out another piñata. Since Maya’s first birthday, I’ve whipped up a few – for a 40th birthday, a hens night and a cocktail party. Let’s just say that Piñatas are just as fun for adults and bring just as much joy in their destruction. Although, after a few drinks, there may be a few more hazards and piñata related accidents to look out for.
So here are the basic materials for the project:
- Newspaper torn into long strips (around 5cm wide)
- Mache paste made of equal parts of water, craft glue and flour (about 2 cups of each)
- Gloves for handling the glue mix
- A base shape – in this case a large balloon. You could use numbered balloons or make other shapes out of cardboard
- String to hold the mache structure up while it dries
- An outer decorative covering – I used coloured yarn but you leave it as is in a newspaper finish, or paint it, covering it with decoupage, scrapbooking paper, tissue paper, ribbon, recycle pages of old books, music sheets – whatever embellishments take your fancy.
- For kiddy parties it’s traditional to add an assortment lollies, but for grown ups you could add any non-breakable items
Putting it together:
- Hang up the base structure like this balloon, preferably in an outdoor area where there is plenty of airflow for drying. Place some sheets of newspaper below so that any mess can fall directly on it (the mache mix can be hard to clean up when dry).
- Dip the strips of newspaper in the glue mix and with gloves on, wipe off the excess paste and keep covering the shape until it is covered in a thickness of 2-3 layers of newspaper. Then brush on the remaining mix over the last layer for some extra strength. Be warned that at this stage, it aint lookin’ pretty. But don’t worry, it’s just a blank canvas and soon look pretty impressive.
- Then let the piñata dry – this could take up to three days so make sure you start well in advance.
- When it is touch dry, pop the balloon and cut a small hole in the top to fill the piñata with goodies. Then tape the hole up with some masking tape.
- Finish it off with paint, yarn or any other embellishments.
That’s all there is to it! Just hang it up at your next special occasion and let the anticipation build until it is finally time to line up and whack at it. When it finally breaks, young and old (and everyone in between) will be falling over themselves for the goodies… and as you can see, some found a use for the broken piñata too.
You can also make a variety of decorative and home wares items from this paper mache method. Check out some of the projects I found online via Pinterest. I’m especially loving the bowls with gold leaf inside.
Now it’s time to share…