Introduction: Viva Pinata! (make a Sherbat)

My daughter likes the video game Viva Pinãta, bats (the flying kind), and making things.  So we decided to make the Viva Pinãta character called Sherbat for the Dadcando contest.  Paper mache is a great craft to do with your kids and this project requires a second set of hands.  Follow along as we build the pinata.

Step 1: Supplies

Here are the supplies you will need to make the Sherbat pinata:

Balloons (both round and balloon animal type)
Crepe Paper (dark blue, light blue, and white)
Dark blue marker
Masking tape
Toilet paper tube
Large pipe cleaners
Blue sharpie
Mixing bowl
Sherbat picture
Wire coathanger or other thick wire
Very thin wire or twist tie
Paint to cover newsprint that could show through*

The large pipe cleaners we used were sold under the brand "Creatology" and came 50 to a pack.  Plenty left over for future projects.

*This part is not in the instructable because we only thought of it afterwards.  We have a few places where newsprint shows from behind the crepe paper. We decided if we did it over again we would paint his body to resemble the colors of the crepe paper.  If you try it, let us know what you think.

Step 2: Build the Body

Blow up two of the round balloons to the same size.  Tape these together one on top of the other, add some crumpled newspaper around the midsection to support the tape.  This will keep the Sherbat from having a narrow waist. 

Now for the ears.  Blow up two of the skinny balloons to the same size.  We taped the long uninflated ends of the balloons to the body balloons.  We used more around the base of each ear balloon.  Ear balloon, ear balloon, ear balloon...that was fun. Use lots of tape so they don't come off during the later step of adding the wet paper mache.

On to the legs. Cut the toilet paper tube in half, and then cut one end of each tube into 7-8 strips.  Tape these strips to the bottom of the body balloon.

Step 3: Paper Mache It!

Cut or tear the newspaper into long strips about an inch wide.  You'll need a lot of strips, so make a big pile.  

Get out your big bowl and mix 2 parts water to 1 part flour.  Mix well to get rid of any flour chunks.

Paper mache is fun and easy.  Let's get messy!  Dip a strip of newspaper into the flour/water mix, pull it out and gently squeeze off the excess goop.  Squeeze too hard and you might tear it, too light and you will have too much goop left over and slow your drying time. Don't worry if you mess up a few strips, you'll get the hang of it, and the supplies are really cheap.
Lay the moistened strip onto the balloon body.  Repeat over and over (and over and over and over) until he's completely covered with a single layer of paper mache.  You will probably want to use longer strips for his body and ears, and shorter strips around his legs and the base of his ears.  When he's almost completely covered you'll need some help to keep the Sherbat upright while you apply the last few strips.

Once the first coat is done, set him aside to dry.  We're lucky because it's summer time in Colorado where afternoon temps are in the 90's and humidity is around 10-20% so our first layer dried in about two hours.  Depending on temps and humidity where you live, yours could take up to a whole day.

Once your Sherbat is dry you can apply a second layer of paper mache.  We definitely thought ours needed one because there were a few gaps with balloon showing through and he seemed a bit flimsy.

Step 4: Add Wing Support

After the paper mache was dry, but before we applied the crepe paper, we needed to add the wing support wire.  This is a heavy duty wire that goes straight through the midsection of the Sherbat.  Later we will attach his pipe cleaner wings to this wire.

I had some thick aluminum wire laying about, but I think a coat hanger would work fine too.  I made an "L " bend in one end of the wire, poked it all the way through and out the other side.  I made a final "L " bend and trimmed off the excess.  The purpose of the "L " bends was to keep the wire from falling out while we applied crepe paper.  In hindsight, you could probably get away with simply adding a bit of glue to either end.

If you are going to paint the newsprint, now would be the time.

Step 5: Add Crepe Paper

Not looking forward to cutting hundreds and hundreds of little slits into each strip of crepe paper?  Don't worry, we have a cool time saving trick.  Simply slip the bottom blade of the scissors about an inch (or whatever depth you and your scissors can handle) into the full roll of crepe paper, and make a cut about 3/4 of the way across the roll.  Repeat this around the roll making each strip about a 1/2" or so wide.  Congratulations, you just made about 10' of perfectly cut crepe paper in 30 seconds!

We started at the base and worked our way to the top.  Put a thin line of white glue on the uncut portion of the crepe paper and wrap it around the Sherbat.  Use small lengths for the legs and long ones for the body.  We found that the white and light blue crepe paper was very transparent and his stripes took an extra layer to keep the newspaper from showing through.

Step 6: Wings

Take two of the gigantic light blue pipe cleaners and fold in a zig zag pattern.  Notice that it doesn't stay together very well, the trick is to wrap the long end of his wing around the two inner ones to hold everything together.

Once you have two identical (or close enough) pipe cleaner wings, take the dark blue marker and add the stripes.  Do this on newspaper, the excess marker wipes off easily and can stain things.

First we tried hot gluing the pipe cleaner wings to the wing support wire.  This didn't work very well.  I ended up using some thin 30 gauge steel wire wrapped around the base of the pipe cleaner and the wing support.  This seemed to hold well and to look OK.

Step 7: Final Details

Eyes.  I cropped, sharpened, and enlarged the eyes in the excellent free image editing software  If you don't want to make your own eyes, just print the full size eyes.jpg file out on 8 1/2 x 11" paper, cut them out and glue on.

For his mouth, take the blue marker you used for the wings and make a smile under his eyes.

I made the stand with another coat hanger.  I wound two tight circles to go in each leg, and then a large loop as the base. 

Dadcando Family Fun Contest

Runner Up in the
Dadcando Family Fun Contest