How to Make a Pinata

Pinatas have been used for thousands of years to mark celebrations, birthdays, and other special events. There are different theories about the origin of pinatas — some claim they were invented by the Chinese (Marco Polo witnessed the Chinese hitting pinatas with sticks and burning them to scatter their ashes) while still others say their origin lies with the Aztecs or Mayans. Both the Mexican culture and some parts of China still celebrate with pinatas to this day, and any culture where Mexicans exist are familiar with the pinata — a brightly colored paper shape decorated with streamers and filled with candy or other goodies.

Understanding how to make a pinata is not as difficult as it may seem. The basic pinata is just a six-pointed star figure made of paper and filled with candy, cookies, or other goodies.

If you want to add a special element to your next birthday party or are interested in Mexican culture, try learning how to make a pinata on your own. Use the following steps for a fail-proof pinata.

You will need to gather the following “ingredients”:

Making a Pinata

  1. How to Make a Pinata

    How to Make a Pinata

    Blow up a large balloon. Depending on the shape you want to make, you may use a round balloon, a cylindrical balloon, or any other shape.

  2. Mix together the flour and water until it makes a smooth paste. This is the beginning of the “paper mache” step.
  3. Continuing with the paper mache recipe, tear your newspaper into long strips at least 1 inch thick and dip them into the flour / water mixture. It is important to tear and not to simply cut the paper, as the tearing helps the paper soak up the flour / water mixture.
  4. Carefully lay the paper mache strips over your balloon until it is almost completely covered — be sure to leave a small hole at the top to remove the balloon and insert candy.
  5. Set the wet balloon aside to allow it to dry. While you’re waiting for it to dry, prepare another layer of paper mache newspaper. When the balloon is dry, drape your final layer over the balloon and let it dry.
  6. Repeat with one more layer, making sure you leave the hole at the top
  7. When the balloon is finally dry, pop and remove the balloon from the inside.
  8. Now the fun part — paint and decorate your pinata with designs and colors, streamers, glitter, or whatever you want.
  9. Traditionally, colored crepe paper hangs from the sides and bottom of the pinata. Attach these if you want.
  10. Punch 2 small holes in the top of the pinata near the open hole and run your long piece of string through the two holes.
  11. Fill the pinata (remember the hole you left at the top?) with candy, toys, or any other fun surprises you want. Consider adding newspaper “filler” so the candy and other goodies are not all in one spot.
  12. Tie your pinata over a branch or other support with string and have fun breaking it open.

You can be as creative with this pinata as you want. Try designing an animal or flower shape with the balloon and paper mache. Kids and adults will have fun breaking these open and enjoying the treats inside.

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