Build an 8' Tall Pinata for Adults




Introduction: Build an 8' Tall Pinata for Adults

About: I was a chef for 14 years, Was Gainfully unemployed for a year doing side projects and carpentry work. Now I work for myself doing Software Development
I wanted to build a Pinata that could withstand some very "celebratory" people. This Pinata was made in my basement. Due to the drying times between layers, it took over 3 weeks to complete. This was a summer in SC., so you know it was hot hot hot! Imagine    how long it would take in more cold and humid climates?!

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Step 1: Design

The first step of course is to decide what you want your Pinata to be. Here is the sketch of my Pinata this was for my wonderful wife's 30th birthday. This is a design that she drew on everything during her teenage years, she even has a tattoo of it.

Step 2: The Rough Shape.

Cut  the shape of the pinata out of cardboard.
Cut a front side and a backside.  
Start by stuffing bunched up newspaper in the pinata to give it shape.
Then tape the edges with masking tape to hold it together and help maintain it's shape. (don't go all crazy with the tape use just enough to help keep its shape until the paper mache hardens.
(although I did think it would be a good joke to rap the whole thing in duct tape then use fiberglass resin instead of the paper mache mixture, but I found the cost prohibitive)

For the chain to hold the pinata up. Drill a hole just big enough for a chain to go through in a piece of wood the size of the top of your pinata. (My piece was 10" x 4" wide.) Then I inserted the chain. Where it came through on the opposite side I put a nut and bolt to keep it from pulling through. This was the top support, now to support the bottom I just ran duct tape down to another piece of wood at the bottom. Wrapped a few times until I thought it was strong enough to support the weight.

Step 3: Eww!! Paper Mache

My Recipe for paper mache
2 QT Water
2C Flour
1 pound Cornstarch

Mix flour and 1 qt water. Bring to a boil for 3 -5 minutes
Mix cornstarch with 1 qt of cold water until all cornstarch is dissolved( it is easier to use your hands than a whisk)
Add to the hot flour mixture and return to a a slight boil, stop as soon as this occurs.
let cool then add 1 C wood glue
Stir. This will be a shiny gummy paste. 
If your mixture dries out or is too thick just add some cool water to bring it back to life (store excess in the fridge covered)

Then I took Contractors resin paper. Tore it into manageable pieces about 6" x 18" Dipped it in the slurry of goo, wiped off the excess and began putting on a layer at a time. I put about 8 layers on. You have to wait until each layer is completely dry before putting on another layer. Also it is good to work in sections so your whole piece doesn't just fall apart due to the wet weight of it. ( I lost my first version of this pinata that way, poor guy never stood a chance) I put 3 fans on my pinata and let it soak up the good SC sun as much as I could. Don't rush it, and don't lie to yourself! You know when it's dry, and you know when it's damp!

Step 4: Make It Look All Pretty Like.

Now the final bit of fun begins.  On the back side with a Razor blade  [or chain saw depending on how much of an over achiever you were ;)  ] Slice a hole in the back; for you to reach in and take all that bunched up newspaper out. Then insert goodies, then reseal with a couple layers of the resin paper goo.

For an adult party; might I recommend plastic mini bottles of select spirits? I put about 7 pounds of candy in mine and it didn't even make a dent in its total void, so go nuts. I thought it would be funny if a whole birthday cake fell out but I figured my wife would probably not like the risk to her tupperware cake container. hehehe.

After you have done this get some tissue paper (like for wrapping presents) and cut into 1"x2" pieces. select the colors you want in your design and start working from the center out, placing the tissue paper over lapping like fish scales (in other words offset from each other row).
You can touch each piece with a glue stick to get each piece to hold. and do this a few thousand times. OR! What I figured out about half way through was to go buy some spray adhesive (you can get this at any home improvement store get the strongest they have) spray the pinata and then just start placing the tissue directly on it. Easy as pie! see the progress in the pix.

Step 5:

Finally! What would I do If I won the Shop Bot or even the excellent First prizes. With the Shop Bot I would keep it running at all times making cribbage boards, signs for my church, parts for wood working and wood punk ideas I have floating around my brain. I also have some ideas for using it to carve sculpting clay, converting all my line drawing I've done to vectors so I can carve them on doors and various other projects. If i had the welder I would get my gravity feed beer tower finally completed and make more metal art and fix up a wood punk go-kart <-future instructable maybe?!?

Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed seeing this!

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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 5

    Nice. And I chuckled a little bit at your "Eww! Mache" comment. XD I'd be more like, "Yay! Mache!" myself. lol


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent idea - I've made pinatas before but was a bit stumped on how to make it withstand such a beating!
    Here's an idea to speed along papier mache: build up smaller components with a few layers at a time and nuke em in the microwave with some extra newspaper in there to soak up moisture.
    it dries in the micro in about 1 minute, so then you can build more and keep going.
    Only works for small bits, but then you could assemble later!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    You have more patience for this than I would. Knowing that I spent that long making something just to have it destroyed would kill me inside.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I also enjoy kicking over my Ice carvings too! It's a very zen experience!