5 Steps: How to Make Your Own Piñata

Fiestas are complete when you have a piñata! I’m from Mexico, and I grew up going to fiestas or other holiday celebrations where there was a piñata. During a birthday celebration just after everybody sings happy birthday, we all gather to hit the piñata and break it. Traditionally it’s filled with candy, but you can fill it up with just about anything that can survive going flying to the ground after the piñata is broken.

Antonio’s piñata for his second birthday party. The theme was summer!

My family and I live in Chicago. I try to teach my kids about my culture in our everyday lives. When I host their birthday parties I like to make piñatas for them and their friends. Piñatas are part of our Mexican culture and heritage, and you can make a piñata about anything your little ones like, and what your creativity tells you!

Get creative if you don’t have a piñata stick at hand. Here we’re using my father in law’s cane and baton

I have made piñatas shaped like numbers mostly, but these instructions can help you do whatever it’s in your mind or theme of your celebration! I usually save the cardboard trays of LaCroix when a birthday is approaching. Most of the rest of the materials I get them from the Dollar Tree!

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 or more cardboard trays or (I usually save the ones where the LaCroix comes)
Glue stick
Duct tape
Sharp scissors
Crepe paper streamers in color of your choice

If you want to papier-mâché your piñata you’ll need:
White glue diluted 50% with water
Newspaper

NOTE: the traditional way to make papier-mâché in Mexico is done with a flour mix. Mix flour and warm water until you create a runny paste. Here you can find a tutorial.

The cardboard trays where cans come are really good for making an easy piñata. The height of the box turns into the depth of our piñata.

1. Use drawing pins to hold a piece of paper on the cardboard box. Trace the number or whichever shape or object you want your piñata to be.

2. Cut out the design. Use the same mold, but flip it, and hold it in place on the new box using drawing pins. Trace and cut out, or skip the tracing and start cutting. Leave as many flaps as you can from the sides of the tray, as they would help you connect the two pieces together.

3. Use duct tape to put it together. I usually skip the papier-mâché technique when I know it’s just little ones hitting the piñata. As kids get older, you do need to do it. Otherwise the piñata will get broken so quickly and not everyone would get a turn.

NOTE: don’t forget to leave an opening big enough to fill the piñata!

4. Once your piñata is ready to decorate, fringe like cut the crepe paper streamers almost all the way to the top. Leave a 1/4 inch withouth cutting, as this would be the section where you glue it to the piñata.

5. Start from the bottom. Use a glue stick to paste the paper, and repeat as many times as necessary following the pattern you’re trying to accomplish. When I do numbers, I usually stick to one color. However, the latest piñata I made had a pastel rainbow pattern.

I usually loop a few of zip ties to the top of the piñata which will help hang it for the kids to hit it.

I added more zip ties on this one after securing the cardboard with several layers of duct tape

If you want to do papier-mâché, you need to glue strips or pieces of newspaper using the flour mix or glue mix. Make sure to add glue on top of the paper as well. Let it dry and add another layer.

You can go as far as you want when making a piñata! Let your imagination, theme, and time guide you!

Michelle | con limón, please

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For birthday party inspo, visit my friend Nicole Rose’s post Video Game Truck Birthday Party!

Also, here are some of my ideas to make a birthday party special. You can make your own cake pops, a punch piñata, and even Mexican fiesta inspired goodie bags!

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