Learn how to make a traditional Mexican pinata. Learn the steps you need to follow to create your own homemade pinata and play pinata games.
Traditional Mexican Pinatas, or piñatas in Spanish, are thought to have originated from the Aztecs and Mayans in Mexico. Now, the Mexican tradition of making pinatas has spread worldwide, appearing in birthday parties and celebrations around the world. Traditionally, the pinata is filled with candy and hung from a string. Blindfolded children then take turns trying to hit the homemade pinata with a bat until it breaks, after which they scramble to collect the treats. Want to make a pinata? Follow these step by step instructions to make a homemade Mexican pinata. Enjoy!
How to make a pinata
A traditional Mexican pinata is basically a colorful container filled with candy and sometimes toys. If you decide to make a homemade pinata, you can create any design or shape that you would like. Making a pinata is actually quite easy and it is a fun craft to do with your children. Be creative!
- Newspaper, torn into strips
- White paper or paper towels, torn into strips
- Flour and water to make paper mache paste
- Vegetable oil
- Tissue paper and crepe paper
First, you should prepare your work space for this messy project. Cover the table with old newspaper or plastic.
Prepare Paper Mache Paste
Prepare the paper mache paste in a large bowl. Paper mache paste is usually made with one part flour to two parts water until you create a glue-like consistency. Another option is to mix one part flour to five parts water and boil for 3 minutes, this will create a stronger paste. Cool before using. Remove lumps. Add a spoonful of salt to help prevent mold.
Prepare Pinata Base with Balloons
Blow up your balloon or balloons, which will serve as the hollow structure inside your pinata. If you are using more than one balloon, you will need to glue them together into the desired shape before starting. Spray balloon with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking to the newspaper when you pop it. Place balloon in a bowl to help keep it stable while you are working with it.
Dip newspaper strips in the paper mache mixture and adhere to balloon in diagonal and vertical overlapping layers. Continue until balloon is completely covered by the first layer, remembering to leave a small opening in the top so that you can remove the balloon and fill the pinata later. The first layer must dry completely before continuing, let stand 24 hours. Refrigerate left over paper mache paste.
For the second layer, repeat the same process, only this time angling newspaper strips horizontally. Let dry.
For the third layer, repeat the same process with white paper rather than newspaper. The white paper makes the outside layer of the pinata easier to decorate. Let dry.
Pop the balloon (or balloons) and remove them from the opening at the top of the pinata.
Decorate your pinata with paint, crepe paper, tissue paper, or anything else you can imagine. Be creative! For a final touch, hang streamers from the pinata.
String and fill Pinata
Once your decoration has dried, it is time to fill and string your pinata. Make 3 or 4 holes around the top opening and thread with strong string. Secure with strong tape if necessary. Tie to a larger string for hanging. Fill the pinata with candy, toys, or other treats.
How to Play the Pinata Game
Hang your pinata in a safe place, preferably outdoors. Caution and adult supervision is advised to keep children a safe distance from the bat swinger. This is especially important when the pinata breaks, as the blinded player may still be swinging as the other children rush to collect the candy. Place a blanket or sheet underneath where the treats will fall.
Line the players up to take turns swinging a bat or stick at the pinata. Blind fold the player and spin him/her a couple of times before each attempt. Allow 2 to 3 swings per player.
When the pinata breaks, each child should collect a portion of the treats. Maintain a reserve bag of candy in case some do not get their fare share.