Introduction: Spongebob Squarepants Pinata

This year my nieces requested a Spongebob Squarepants pinata.  The challenge is to make the rectangular shape using paper maiche.  If you use cardboard as a base for the pinata, it may well be too difficult to break, especially amongst pre-kindergarten age kids.

Step 1: Flat Sheet Paper Maiche

The trick is to make reasonably flat sheets of paper maiche from which to form Spongebob's body.  The overall dimensions I'm making are 12"X16"X4" for the body.  The top and bottom will be cardboard for stability and for connecting the sheets together; it won't prevent the main body from being broken.

First, I prep the support I will be using to build up the sheets.  I am using a piece of plywood, laminated with formica top, with a generous amount of vaseline smeared all over.  The vaseline will be key in getting the sheets off the top.

Prep the newspaper.  I like to cut in consistent size squares, about 2" for this project.

Step 2: Laying the Sheet

I mix the flour, glue and water.  I soak the paper and lay it on the board in a consistent manner so I can track where I am.  I want to make about 4 layers total.  In retrospect, maybe 6 or 7 layers might have been perfect -- an 8 year old destroyed the pinata on his second swing; giving everyone a second round might have been worth it.

I won't go into all the details of paper maiche; I'm sure there is plenty of details on the internet.  I used about 6 parts water to 6 parts flour to 1 part glue.  Was about the perfect consistency, not too watery and the glue additive makes it strong enough and dry quickly enough (about 1 day in medium humidity).

Step 3: Drying the Sheet

After a couple of hours, the sheet will begin to get dry around the edges, and be somewhat workable.  At this point I separated the sheet from the table using a straightedge.  I peel the piece up carefully, and flip the sheet over to increase drying on the downside.

Step 4: The Top

We'll need a strong top, one that doesn't itself fall apart when being stuck.  For that reason I plan to use 1 ply cardboard, with folded edges to attach to the paper maiche sides.  I reinforce the rope hole with a folded over cardboard piece.  It is so deflating for a pinata to come apart at the top and not the way intended.

Step 5: Form the Spongebody

Once the sides have been attached to the top, fold the edges to each other.  A little bit of tape to help stabilize the sides, and some fresh (2 layers) of paper maiche on each corner, from bottom to top, and the body is ready to have the bottom hot glued in.

Step 6: Spray Paint

At this point you can spray the paper maiche down with a white color.  It really helps unify the color, because yellow allows too much of the dark newspaper text to seep through.

Following that, hit it with the yellow.  At this point, you could just use the body as is.  However I like to give that final pinata look with the 'furry' tissue paper.

Step 7: Spongebob's Face (Optional 3D Face)

I have a sketch I used to form the 3D face.  Optionally, you could just print the sketch out, color it, and attach the sketch as the face.

But I wanted to use high density foam to make the face.

First I sketched out the shapes of the face onto the foam.  Then I cut the outline of the face.  Next, I cut the face into several layers (nose is the highest, then cheeks and eyes, finally the lip and then the teeth.

Using a rasp, saw, knife or sandpaper, I rounded out the edges to finish the shape.  I ended up adding some extra foam to the nose to really accentuate.  At this point, you'll need some sort of non-aerosol, not alcohol based sealer to allow spray painting of the face without it melting.

White spray paint the face, then tape off the eyes and teeth, and then the yellow top.  I used black, red and blue permanent markers for the eyes and freckles.

Step 8: Arms and Legs

Rolled up tube of construction paper, plus little hands, hot glued onto the body.

Make the tubes, by spraying some spray adhesive, or glue and hold in place with paperclips.  Then cut along the length of the tubes and flare these out to make the flanges to attach to the body.  To make the angled arms, flare at an angle as shown.

Step 9: Pinata Furry Part, Attaching Head and Mouth

Since we made spongebob yellow already, this is kind of optional.  But I like the pinata feel it gives.

Cut two inch strips of tissue paper, usually 4-8 sheets thick, and fold over to make 1 inch wide.  then cut on the folded edge ~3/4" into the paper so you have a furry effect.

Take each strip and glue against the body of spongebob, starting at the bottom and going up in overlapping rows, kind of like shingles on a roof.  If you miss some areas, no biggie, since we have yellow underneath to hid imperfections.

I left the areas that receive the mouth and face free of the tissue paper, for a good solid spray adhesive bond.

Cut a hole in the top of spongebob to add candy and toys, and voila!

Step 10: The Destruction

And finally, the last step in any pinata, the destruction.