Make your own piñata using simple ingredients from home
So we are “safe at home” right now and my son’s birthday was coming up. We have convinced him that a family party in our new playset with cupcakes would be the perfect way to celebrate. But he also really wanted a piñata.
I had a few in my online shopping cart but decided why not save the $20 and make my own DIY piñata. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a homemade paper maché piñata.
What should our own DIY piñata be of?
I asked my son what he wanted, and he actually said the easiest thing possible…
An Easter egg piñata.
Now how could I not try to make this simple structure my son ASKED for? I mean he could have picked any shaped piñata he wanted.
But somehow he helped me out by picking the most basic shape that could be made with a balloon and easy steps.
Pin for Later!
Ways you can make a simple piñata
- out of a cereal box
- use a paper bag as the base
- use an old cardboard box
- traditional paper maché paste and crepe paper
- mini piñatas out of cardboard tubes
- create a base like large numbers out of bendable cardboard strips
Decide on desired shape and materials
Once you have decided on your piñata design you need to construct your base before making your paper mache paste.
For our simple Easter egg piñata that meant blowing up the balloon and prepping our workspace. We were sure that we would be able to have our own piñata resemble an egg that we could smash.
If you are using a box as a base, you would want to open parts of it and then retape it together with masking tape. This will make it easier for your children to smash.
Other DIY piñata ideas
We will probably need different ways to make piñatas because our kids had so much fun with this simple design. The next birthday party will probably need one of these cool DIY piñatas.
Supplies needed for paper mache piñata recipe
I.5 parts water
1 part flour
Tablespoon of salt
Newspaper or old brown paper bags
Colored Tissue Paper or paint (optional)
Balloons (this pack of balloons has also been a hit for extra games around our house)
You can use cardboard or a different base than a balloon
How to make homemade paper maché paste
1. Pour flour into the bowl and slowly add water.
2. Stir or whisk until it is not chunky at all.
3. Add salt (this helps preserve what you are making)
How to make a pinata out of a balloon
1. You will want to precut your newspaper or old paper brown bags into strips of paper about 1 inch wide. This can vary depending on your project.
2. If using a balloon, bowl up to desired size and place in a bowl. This will help you have a stand to work on. If you are creating a cardboard base, then you would just get that ready.
3. Dip a whole strip of newspaper into flour mixture. Pull it out while keeping it flat. This allows the edge of the bowl to take some of the excess paper mache off. You can also use your fingers to take extra goop off.
4. Keep strips flat and place them on the balloon or base. Rubbing it to get flat.
5. Overlap strips in different ways. You do not want the paper mache strips to all go the same way.
6. Repeat this until you have about 3 layers.
7. If you want to add a base color to your homemade pinata, then you can also carefully add tissue paper on top of the newspaper. You can try to do it while it is wet or revisit and add color after it dries.
8. Your pinata base may take up to 24-48 hours to completely dry.
How long does it take paper maché to dry?
Honestly, don’t be shocked if it takes over 24 hours for your balloon piñata to dry. By now 48 hours it should be completely dry no matter what environment you are drying it in.
Make sure to rotate the piñata or else you will have a wet spot. We kept ours in a bowl and just rotated it. If it is a sunny day you can also speed up the dry time by placing your balloon outside.
Optional Homemade Pinata Steps
- Use paint dot makers to have little ones help you add decorations as we did after our homemade pinata dried.
- Cut tissue paper in a fringe and glue it on to give it a more traditional pinata feel.
- Cut some square of tissue paper, wrap around the end of a pencil and dip in glue and add to the pinata. This will give that fluffy texture. I think I will probably try this the next time I need to make a pinata, but it probably would be pretty time-consuming.
How to turn paper mache balloon into a hanging piñata
So here is where I knew it would get tricky.
1. First, pop the balloon. I did cover the whole balloon except for the knot.
2. Cut out a shape on the top big enough for you to drop your prizes into. Use an Exacto knife to cut a square flap out of the top. Do not cut the whole shape. Cut 3 sides so that the top of the pinata will flip open.
3. Drop in the prizes and small toys. Make sure that your pinata is strong enough to support whatever you are putting in.
4. Add your favorite things. We added suckers, small toys, airheads, and my favorite little spiky balls to ours.
5. Punch or cut two small holes far enough away from the opening and add a string or ribbon.
6. Flip the cut shape back on.
7. Make a small amount of homemade paper maché paste.
8. Reapply flour paper mache on top of the cut seams.
9. Add colored tissue paper back on top.
Let the paper mache strips dry and get ready to have some fun!
Tips and tricks for making a piñata
- Make sure that your homemade pinata structure is strong enough to hold what you have created.
- Use a bowl to help prop up balloons or round objects.
- Find ways to add details with the whole family (like using paint dotters)
Hang your homemade pinata somewhere fun
We decided to hang ours near our new treehouse and rock wall. Surprisingly, ours held up for quite a few swings. I was surprised at how strong 3 layers of paper mache were. My kids loved that they knew we had made it ourselves and couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
They also really thought it was a mystery about how things got inside. While they helped with the paper mache part, they didn’t get to see me put the toys and candy inside. They were happily surprised by this homemade piñata!
Piñatas you can buy
Now, if after you read this, you decide you just want to spend the money and get a pinata, here are a few that I did consider buying.
Paw Patrol Pinata Kit-Because who doesn’t love those pups!
Race Car Pinata– Seemed to be the cheapest with the highest rating.
Llama Pinata-I really would have had to think about getting if this was for my daughter
If you loved this family-friendly DIY tutorial and want more DIY party ideas
- Pour flour into a bowl and slowly add water.
- Stir or whisk until it is not chunky at all.
- Add salt (this helps preserve what you are making).
- You will want to precut your newspaper into strips of paper about 1 inch wide. This can vary depending on your project.
- If using a balloon, bowl up to the desired size and place in a bowl. This will help you have a stand to work on. If you are creating a cardboard base, then you would just get that ready.
- Dip the whole strip of newspaper into the flour mixture. Pull it out while keeping it flat. This allows the edge of the bowl to take some of the excess paper mache off. You can also use your fingers to take extra goop off.
- Keep strips flat and place them on the balloon or base. Rubbing it to get flat.
- Overlap strips in different ways. You do not want the paper mache strips to all go the same way. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
- Optional: You can use tissue paper to add color, paint the paper maché or use a variety of ways to finish your paper maché piñata.
- Once the piñata is dry, cut open the top and place party treats inside.
- Re-paper maché the top after attaching a ribbon or string.
- Decorate as needed and enjoy your DIY piñata.
You can use this simple paper mache recipe for all sorts of DIY art and easy craft projects. Also, you could try to make a different base out of cardboard to create any shaped pinata.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Naler 200 Sheets Assorted Colors Art Tissue Paper for DIY Crafts Decorative Tissue Paper Flower Pom Pom, 20 Colors, 8"X11"
120 Assorted Color Balloons 12 Inches 12 Kinds of Rainbow Party Latex Balloons, Latex Balloons for Party Decoration, Birthday Party Supplies or Arch Decoration
Do A Dot Art! Markers 5-Pack Shimmer Washable Paint Markers, The Original Dot Marker