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How To Make An Easy Paper Maché Piñata

Learn how to make your own DIY piñata using simple ingredients from home. You will be shocked at how budget-friendly this craft can be.

collage of images including balloons, paper mache paste with girl hitting homemade pinata with a yellow bat.

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There is no better party activity than a piñata. We have convinced our son that a family party in our new playset with cupcakes would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday. What little kid doesn’t love hanging a piñata outside and finding all the customized treasures?

Why not just buy a piñata?

I had a few in my online shopping cart but decided to save $20+ and make my own DIY piñata. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a homemade paper maché piñata. The best part about this easy DIY project is that it is budget-friendly. You probably already have most supplies in your pantry.

children feet and candy after hitting a homemade piñata

Ways To 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

Design Your Piñata Before You Start

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. This will take more time if you are using something other than a balloon for your base.

Our Design

I asked my son what he wanted, and he actually said the easiest thing possible…An Easter egg piñata. This basic shape could be made with a balloon and easy DIY paper maché paste.

Other DIY piñata ideas

Unsure of the piñata you want to build? Our DIY friends make them all the time. We will be consulting this list of cool piñata ideas for our next birthday party.

flour, balloon, bowl, measuring cup filled with water on newspaper in kitchen.

Recommend Supplies For Paper Maché 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

Step 1: Add Water To Flour

Pour flour into the bowl and slowly add water.

measuring cup with water being poured into bowl with flour.

Step 2: Completely Mix Together

Stir or whisk until it is not chunky at all.

whisk in bowl with paper mache paste.

Step 3: Add A Pinch Of Salt

Adding salt helps preserve what you are making.

How To Make A Piñata From A Balloon

Step 1: Cut Strips Of Newspaper Or A Brown Bag

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.

hands holding orange scissors cutting brown paper bags into strips.

Step 2: Blow Up The Balloon

If using a balloon, blow it up to the desired size and place it 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.

balloon in bowl with mixing bowl and flour on countertop.

Step 3: Start To Add Paper Strips

Dip a 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.

hand placing newspaper strip in flour paper mache mix.

Step 4: Add Strips To The Balloon

Keep strips flat and place them on the balloon or base. Rubbing it to get flat.

newspaper strips with paper mache paste on a balloon on the kitchen counter.

Step 5: Continue Covering The Balloon

Overlap strips in different directions. You do not want the paper mache strips to all go the same way.

large balloon with paper mache paste and newspaper going different directions.

Step 6: Continue Adding Strips

Repeat this until you have about 3 layers.

blue streamer on paper mache balloon piñata.

Optional Step: Add Tissue Paper For Color

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.

blue homemade piñata in bowl with plate of paste and loose tissue paper on counter.

Step 7: Let Piñata Fully Dry

Your piñata base may take up to 24-48 hours to completely dry.

Optional Homemade Piñata Decorating Steps

Paint Dotters or Paint

Use paint dot makers to have little ones help you add decorations as we did after our homemade pinata dried.

pink, purple, silver paint dotters in front of balloon piñata.

Add Extra Colors Of Tissue Paper

Cut tissue paper in a fringe and glue it on to give it a more traditional pinata feel.

foam brush putting paper mache paste on top of pink tissue paper on homemade piñata.

Add Texture

Cut some squares of tissue paper, wrap them around the end of a pencil and dip them in glue. Add the tissue paper to the pinata. In the image below, we are making a simple textured tissue paper heart craft.

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.

hand holding square of tissue paper around pencil end and adding texture to heart shape.

How To Turn Balloon Into A Hanging Piñata 

Step 1: Pop Balloon

First, pop the balloon. I did cover the whole balloon except for the knot. 

Step 2: Cut Door

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.

hand holding exacto knife cutting into paper mache piñata.

Step 3: Fill With Prizes

Drop in the prizes and small toys. Make sure that your piñata is strong enough to support whatever you are putting in. We added suckers, small toys, airheads, and my favorite little spiky balls to ours.

hand placing red and yellow spiky ball toy inside color piñata.

Step 4: Add Hanging String

Punch or cut two small holes far enough away from the opening and add a string or ribbon.

purple ribbon going across inside of homemade piñata with toys and candy inside.

Step 5: Close The Lid

Flip the cut shape back on.

pink, green, blue tissue papered homemade piñata with open cut.

Step 6: Add Paper Maché and Paper Strips On The Seam

Make a small amount of homemade paper maché paste. Reapply flour paper mache on top of the cut seams.

paper mach newspaper on top of homemade piñata.

Step 7: Add Color To The Seam

Add colored tissue paper back on top using paper maché paste.

pink, purple and green wet tissue paper with flour mixture on it.

Step 8: Let Dry

Let the paper mache strips dry and get ready to have some fun!

Hang Your Homemade Piñata

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 the 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.

colorful piñata made from a balloon hanging outside.

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!

Tips and Tricks For Making A Piñata

  • Make sure that your homemade piñata structure is strong enough to hold what goodies you put in.
  • Use a bowl to help prop up balloons or round objects.
  • Find ways to add details with the whole family (like using paint dotters)

How-To FAQs

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.homemade blue piñata sitting on bowl with wet paper mache on it.

How many layers of paper maché do you need?

3 layers will make sure that your piñata is strong enough to hold the goodies you put inside. Make sure you criss-cross the strips when applying them to the balloon.

Can you make paper maché paste out of glue?

Classic paper maché consists of flour. However, we have had success mixing 1 part non-washable glue and 1 part water together for a flour alternative. Make your strips out of thinner paper or even paper towels for the best results.

What if the base of your piñata is not a balloon?

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.

Do you have to add paper maché paste on top of the seam?

When you add more paper maché you are making the piñata very strong. You could modify this step by only taping the lid shut. However, your piñata may easily break (which may be a good thing depending on the age trying to break it open).

Piñatas To 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. 

More Family-Friendly DIY Tutorials For Your Next Party

little girl in pink hat and gray coat swinging plastic bat at homemade piñata.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

I hope you enjoy making memories with your DIY paper maché piñata! We know our family did.

colorful homemade piñata made from a balloon hanging outside.

How To Make A Piñata With Paper Maché

Use these steps to create a DIY piñata from a balloon and paper maché for your next easy party activity.
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: DIY Piñata, How to make a piñata, paper maché
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Dry Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 5 minutes
Author: Erin
Cost: under $5

Equipment

Recommended Supplies

Instructions

How To Make Paper Maché Paste

  • 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).

How To Make A Piñata Out Of A Balloon

  • 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, blow it up to the desired size and place in a bowl.
  • 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. Rub them 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.
  • Let paper maché fully dry.

Adding Treats Inside The Piñata

  • Once the piñata is dry, cut open the top and place party treats inside.
  • Cut holes on side and string ribbon across before closing.
  • Re-paper maché the top after attaching a ribbon or string.
  • Decorate as needed and enjoy your DIY piñata.

Notes

  • Place a balloon in a bowl when trying to paper maché. 
  • This simple paper maché recipe can be used for all sorts of DIY art and easy craft projects.
  • Instead of using a balloon for your base, you could make a base out of cardboard or a box to create any shaped piñata.
  • Make sure to add three layers of paper maché to your balloon. This will make it strong enough to hold your weight items.
  • If young children are having a hard time cracking the piñata, cut a small slit to help them break the piñata apart.
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Lady Life Hack

Sunday 14th of June 2020

This is a great diy! Thanks for the steps. Piñatas are expensive so being able to make one is great!

Erin

Monday 15th of June 2020

Hi! Yes, we love being able to make things ourselves. A DIY pinata is a perfect solution for something you are just going to smash anyway!

Hannah

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

I used to make paper mache as a kid and this looks super fun to make!

Millie

Sunday 14th of June 2020

You have just given me a great idea! We are still on lockdown and I was thinking of what to do to celebrate when we are finally back to the new normal. I'll make a giant pinata!! It looks so simple and I'm sure it will be fun to do!

Erin

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Hi Hannah! Yes, my kids did enjoy getting pretty messy creating this DIY pinata. They had even more fun cracking the homemade pinata open!

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