How to Make a Pinata




About: Food Chemist, bug lover and enthusiastic crafter with a passion for papercrafts, specially origami

Here is other way to help the enviroment: to recycle paper by making a pinata
You will also have fun, and save money at the same time.
(Hope my grammar is OK I'm from Mexico, and English is not my native language, I did my best to write this instructable so If you do not understand something or notice very bad grammar, please let me know to correct it)

The challenge of this instructable is to make a pinata recycling paper, so you don't have to spend money to make it (maybe you will need some crepe paper to decorate it and a balloon but it cost less than $10)

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Step 1: Materials

A balloon (if you want a big pinata, then use a big balloon. I used a small balloon for this instructable because is only a decorative pinata I do not intend to break it)
Old newspapers (the quantity of newspaper will depend of the size of your pinata)
For decorating your pinata maybe you will need old carton boxes, brilliant papers, etc (use your imagination)
An assistant (is optional you can do it for yourself, but if you have children at house they'd love to help you, for this example, my 5 years old niece was my assistant)

Step 2: The Glue

First of all we need to make some "glue" that will use for making our pinata

To make one kg of glue you need 3/4 cup of starch, 1/2 cup of sugar and about 800 mL of water

What you are going to do is to boil half of the water (be careful with your little assistant if you have, do not let he/she unattended or near the hot water we don't want to turn a nice activity in a tragedy)

Dissolve the corn starch and the sugar in the remaining cold water (is very easy to dissolve it in cold water and your assistant can help here, and please do not try to do it in hot water because the starch become very viscous in contact with hot water and will be impossible to dissolve it)

Add your starch/sugar solution to the hot water, keep warming and stir gentle with a spoon.

After a few minutes of stirring you will notice that the solution turns viscous. When it has a consistency like the one in the photo is ready.

Let it cool. If you done it well, it should look like the photo when is cool (cooling process will take some hours, so be patience and do not try to use it hot, it simply doesn't work)

I recomend you not make too many because it spoils quickly (starch, water and sugar not are only a good glue, also they are a good media for mold and other microorganisms to grow), if you need more, then make more.

As the project could take two or three days to be ready you can keep your glue in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. If you want, you can add sodium benzoate as preservative (1g/kg) and keep it at room temperature

This is important: If you keep your glue on refrigeration and, when you try to use it, you find it looking like a gelatin with a lot of water sorrounding it, don`t worry, just let it harm at room temperature, then break the gel and mix it again (squezze it with your hands its the best way to do it). In despite of the change of texture it still works and you can use it.

Last but not the least: This glue is also enviroment friendly: is natural, non toxic and, is totally biodegradable.

Step 3: The Pinata Core

The next step is to cut our newspapers into squares or rectangles about 3 inch wide.

Now the balloon: find a place where you can hang it, then cover it with a layer of glue (make sure your balloon is well tied and not very swallowed to avoid it to burst)

Now start to adhere the newspaper squares on the balloon (you will notice that the ones in the photos were made with shreds; this is because I already had newspaper shreds so I wanted to use it, but believe me: is easier to do it with squares and you obtain the same results)

Add glue to the balloon when you need it, the rule is: one layer of glue, one layer of paper, one layer of glue, one layer of paper and so on. Continue like that until you have covered it with at least 15 layers of newspaper (you'll notice that you balloon is heavy, this is why you have to tie up well: to avoid it falling).

If you are making a big one or want a really hard to break pinata, then add at least 20 layers or as many as you want until you feel is thick enough (just let it dry some hours between each 10 layers to avoid it to fall o burst before you are done and do not exagerate, when it dries it become hard)

Let it dry (It will take about 24-48 hours to dry)

Step 4: Making Our Pinata

When your balloon is dry, burst it using a pin.

Cut the top of the balloon to make a hole so you can fill up your pinata (be careful and do not let children make this step is dangerous)

You are almost done, carefuly make two holes on the sides of your pinata and pass some rope trough it, now you are able to hang it.

Now use your imagination, give shape to your pinata and have fun decorating it :) or, continue reading and make a football balon, a star (coming soon), or a clown pinata (coming soon).

Step 5: Decorating Our Pinata

We are going to make an easy one: a football balon pinata.

You will need:
white and black crepe paper, scissors and our homemade glue

Cut the crepe paper in shreds, like te ones in the photo, glue it with a small quantity of glue and adhere it to our pinata starting on the top of it.

The trick is to adhere the shreds under the one above (see second photo)

Continue adhering shreds to the pinata until is all covered. (see photo)

Now if you have black crepe paper, use the same technique like the white paper and cut out tiny shreds and form with it the pentagons of the balon, if you don`t have it (like me), use another paper, make some pentagons and adhere it to you pinata (if you can do it with crepe paper it will look better however it will take more time and patience to complete)

We are done, just fill it with candies and fruits and gather some children of all ages to help you break it.

And because is done only with paper and homemade glue its enterely biodegradable.

I'm working to make a clown and a star (as soon as I'm done, I'll update this instructable), but the technique is the same you just have to make some changes to get your figure. You can also make other figures like a carrot just use your imagnation, look around you and see for carton or papers you can recycle and convert it into a pinata. Also if you are short of newspaper, you can recycle any other kind of paper for making a pinata but maybe you will need more glue if you use thick papers.

Final note:
I now, I now: the football balon looks a little bit weird because the shreds are very big for the size of my example pinata, also I hadn't black crepe paper so I had to stick paper pentagons on the pinata and, it lost a little bit its shape. The explanation for the big shreds is that my niece cut it so you can't ask a little girl to cut it nice and thin; however she did a nice job and I'm proud of it.

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    24 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 2

    Simple question about the glue; When it drys, does it become transparent or stay whitish?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    it is halfway white and transparent some times it go transparent sometimes it stays white.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Please don't use the flour caused a lot of tears when several kids got it in their eyes. And keep an extra bowl of candy for the little ones who weren't fast enough. As for using clay pots...that is an old tradition that no one uses anymore...too many sharp shards.


    9 years ago on Step 3

    I make the "star" almost every year, but I use a mix of plain flour and water until it looks like library paste. So, far I've have had no problems with it but then I have never used it overnite. Also, I use recycled shirt buttons to tie a wire/string/twine to the pinata in order to hang it from the backyard swingset. The buttons add a little extra strength so the wire won't rip through the paper. Also, for safety sakes, we use a whiffle bat...the kids can get wild. Thank you for your instructable, it brought back so many lovely memories!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    REAL piñatas are made from a clay round pots with handles to put the rope around the handles. Is fun to see the pieces of clay falling on the heads of the kids and the pot breaks really nice so there's no need to shake the piñata to get the candies out. OOH, don't forget to put white flour so when the piñata breaks the kids will get a surprice;) PS. A fast way to make a piñata is to get a box and make a Sponge Bob Piñata. Do not reinforce the bottom so the candies can fall without too much effort from the kids.

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    cool im trying the flour thing sounds good cut wouldnt the clay hurt when they fall on the kids heads


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That's would be even more funny;) But I don't think the clay pieces are going to be big or heavy enough to cause any injury.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm. Why is there sugar in your paste? I've made pinatas and other paper mache things using paste made from just flour (or starch) and water, and I'm wondering what I'm missing.

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Well this is my mom recipe, and I always do it like that, so I do not know if is difference from the one made with only flour. I think sugar makes it more sticky and consistent


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Westfw: In chemical terms, I would suppose it would be that the starch molecule is a polymer of the common sacarose (sugar) molecule. When you cook the starch it becomes denaturalized and unravels and the sugar might allow it to fill holes in the latticework formed between molecules. Besides, we all know that high-sugar solutions (like Coca-Cola) become quite sticky as they dry, and honeys are barely more than sugar and water. Syribia: Yo también soy mexicano.

    psychic wombat

    12 years ago on Step 3

    Wonder if you could use a stuffed animal wrapped with saran wrap or a trash bag, instead of a balloon?You know, giver it a teddy bear shape or something?

    1 reply
    Nachomanpsychic wombat

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    The balloon is used because it has its own shape, inner pressure and because it's easy to remove once your base is dry. Now, for more complex shapes you start making limb-shaped tubes (the technique is the same), then you attach them to your base. Believe me, this basic technique can grow a lot: I once saw a life-sized pit bull piñata.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    haha kiteman sorry but a piñata was used in Mexico before and in your birthday party later xD haha so is kinda fair to be written by someone form there :P hehe i made one with balloons and some cardboard with Sulley's body i won a lil contest with it xD


    11 years ago on Introduction

    ¡Muy bien hecho, quiero la manera es todo velloso yo generalmente los hago fuera de enrolló papel pero suyo es mejor!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, why do people keep doing this to me? I've got the text to my own pinata instructable sitting in my unpublished folder... all I was waiting for was time to actually do it and take photos...

    Syribia, would you like to see the text to see if I got it right?

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I have been out of my house for the past 2 months, plenty of time to get instructables and random projects done. I know what you mean, i have about 300 pictures of projects that i have done, and write-ups that need pictures. but knowing me i will either forget about them until others post them, or 'wait' until i get the other part done.