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How to Make a Homemade Pinata

Updated on April 25, 2015

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Piñatas are a popular form of entertainment for children's birthday parties, but piñatas purchased from party supply stores often run between $20 and $30. To save money, consider learning how to make a piñata using basic paper mache techniques. You'll need to plan ahead to allow yourself enough time for the piñata to dry and be decorated, but this project can be completed using common household supplies. If you wish, you can enlist the birthday boy or birthday girl's help in creating the piñata.

  1. When making a homemade piñata, try to choose a simple shape. My piñata is a treasure chest for my son's pirate-themed birthday party. The treasure chest piñata is made using a cardboard box. Your box should have fairly thin sides, otherwise it will be hard for the kids to break at the party.
  2. Start with the open part of the box at the bottom, since you'll need to have a place to insert your candy when you're finished with the piñata. To form the treasure chest top, you'll need some thin cardboard. Bend the cardboard up slightly and tape it to the top of the box. Add rolled up newspaper inside the holes to make your piñata a bit sturdier. Cut a piece of cardboard to tape over each side.
  3. Mix one cup flour with two cups water to form a thick paste. Cut newspaper into strips that are three or four inches wide. Dip your newspaper strips into the paste, then cover the entire piñata with the strips. Overlap them slightly, but make sure you're still able to open the bottom of the box so you can fill it with candy when you're finished.
  4. Cover your treasure chest piñata with two or three layers of paper mache, depending upon how difficult you want it to be to break. It is very important to let each layer of paper mache dry completely. For my piñata, I let the layers dry overnight.
  5. Cut brown paper sacks to cover the entire treasure chest. I used liquid Elmer's glue to attach the bags, but you could use the leftover paper mache paste if you wanted. Drag a brown ink bag across the sacks once they are attached to highlight the creases in the paper and give the paper an aged look.
  6. Use black electrical tape or thin strips of black construction paper to indicate where the lid would be on the treasure chest. Don't worry if your piñata doesn't look perfect! Remember, children will be hitting it with sticks! As long as it's filled with candy, a few minor imperfections won't make a difference.
  7. Print a lock clip art design to attach to the front of the treasure chest.
  8. Fill your homemade piñata with candy, then tape it shut. You're going to need several bags of candy to fill the piñata, so it's a good idea to do some comparison shopping for this purchase. My son's birthday party is three weeks after Halloween, so we managed to pick up some clearance Halloween candy for this purpose.
  9. Hang your piñata. We're hanging our piñata using a braided nylon stringer, which is a rope used for fishing. If you don't have any fishermen in your house, any strong rope will do as long as you tie the knots securely.


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    • Dreamjar profile image

      Dreamjar 5 years ago from Florida

      Voted up and shared. Neat Project

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

      Awesome money saving idea, Dana! There's nothing kids like better at birthday parties than batting away at pinatas. I love the simple directions and the great photographs. Voted up!

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California

      What a great idea! I don't know if I will ever have an opportunity to need a pinata but your treasure chest is much cuter than a lot of the ones I have seen at the party stores. Great idea! Thanks for posting. Voted up!