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!
FACT: In Mexico, smashing open a pinata is a Christmas tradition.