I’m a grown woman.
You’d think that putting some flour and water on a balloon to dry into a mould to make a Pinata for my daughters birthday party would be easy considering there are about a 1000 DIY blog tutorials on this subject.
However, if there’s a pattern you may have noticed on my blog it’s this.
A) The first attempt at any DIY project / baking / craft I do will usually be a candidate for CraftFail.
B) I’ll tell you about it while figuring out how to do it again successfully and make you feel like “Oh Thank God it’s not just me.” I know you’re out there. I feel your pain.
So first – The story of Pinata # 1.
I used the following:
– flour mixed with water
– newspaper strips
– punch balloon (aka a bigger balloon)
According to the popular myths out there in DIY Pinata-ing, you’re supposed to do the following.
Mix your flour and water into a thin paste. Dip your newspaper strips into it and layer over your blown up balloon. Do approx 1 layer. Let dry for 1-2 days (people say it dries faster – they lie). Do next layer. Repeat for approx 5 – 6 layers.
So that’s what we did. I even got the future birthday girl to help.
Hung it up. Looked like the Death Star in my dungeon of a basement. Let dry for 1-2 days.
Then I went to do layer # 2 and even after 2 days layer #1 was still taking an eternity to fully dry.
Then the balloon popped.
And then it imploded while layer # 2 was being layered. I threw it into the basement.
The end of Pinata # 1.
It occurred to me at that point in time that every single time I’d have to do another layer, I’d have to drag out the flour + water + Pampers Box, make a giant volcanic eruption of a mess in my kitchen, clean up the giant mess, then hope to God it dried before the balloon popped and caused the paper mache part to implode again – should it be deceivingly improperly dry while I was trying to yet another layer. That could take up to 5 days if not a week of layering.
I’m sorry, what?
Seriously I love crafts, but I’m willing to bet every Elementary School teacher out there has approx 1 hour (if not 45 minutes) to get their students to do this type of paper mache project in Art class until the following week. They’re not going to drag out water + flour and Mr. Clean every single week for 5 weeks. They know there is a better way for this. My Grade 3 self was looking at me rolling her eyes right now.
Surely there had to be an easier way.
I came across an tutorial from Elisa Kleven. It basically suggested doing all your layers at once and then letting it dry for a week.
My kind of Pinata making.
In which case, learn from my mistakes.
Here’s what I did differently with Pinata # 2.
– I added school glue (approx 1 tbs) into the flour and water mix (which I made into a thinner consistency).
– I applied the flour and water mix directly onto the blown up balloon and subsequent newspaper layers.
– I did all 5 layers at once in different patterns, criss cross, vertical, horizontal. You get the idea.
**You do not have to wait for one layer to dry before you add the next. Do all your layers at once** (this was 5-6 layers)
– I did not hang it to dry to avoid straining the balloon and potentially causing it to pop earlier than it should. I sat it on a bowl in the box and I rotated it after a day to avoid it getting the bowl dent mark.
– And I got a thicker better punch balloon.
PS – Give yourself at LEAST 2 weeks before your party to do this. I’m serious. Depending on where you live (i.e. a humid climate vs the frozen arctic) your drying time may be vastly different from another persons that you read about online. This way you can ensure that it is completely dry. The actual decorating part doesn’t take long. Or find a fan and stick it in front of it to speed up your dry time.
Then I put it in the basement and I walked away for a week.
Yes a week.
I let it dry, dry, dry.
It also had a massive hole in the bottom from the balloon tip, so I duct taped it shut.
Then I chose the side of the Pinata mould that I wanted to be the top part and cut open with a bread knife the opening for the candy. I pulled out the balloon.
Yes now it looks like Jabba the Hut.
This is the part where I am supposed to show you the healthy treats and sugar free organic candy that I put into the Pinata for the kids.
So after I filled it with candy, I got my twine to create the hanging part and punctured 2 holes on opposites sides of the opening.
Sorry for the weird shot but it may help you get a better idea of how to twist it through. I doubled up the twine.
Once that’s done and all your treats are inside, duct tape the hole shut.
Because this is a Rainbow Pinata I needed to mark out my spaces for each colour. I was using 9 colours because apparently my 6 colour rainbow wasn’t enough once I saw Azure Blue tissue paper.
So I took a measuring tape and marked across the Pinata, 9 divided by the height of the Pinata (23″) and marked each colors as such every 2.5″ (R – red, B – blue, P – purple, etc.)
Got of all my tissue paper, one sheet in every colour that I needed and piled them on top each other.
Folded them over. Then cut them into strips. I found this way easier than doing each colour on its own because you can get all your strips cut up quicker.
I rounded the ends of my strips to look like petals as I liked the look of Pinatas with the round ends.
Using a glue stick (I went through 3 glue sticks doing this) I applied the glue directly onto the Pinata and started at the bottom with my lowest rainbow order colour. If you apply the glue to the tissue paper instead, you risk tearing it.
The top and bottom portions will only required “petals” from the strips vs whole strips to go around.
I found a spot to hang the Pinata because it made decorating WAY easier, as I could spin it and see it from all directions to ensure that the tissue paper strips were applied evenly all around.
Doing strips is also much faster than applying individual petals all over it. This is especially helpful if your Pinata is huge.
I moved onto my first strip level.
I apologize for some of these photos. My flash was not cooperating and of course the sun disappeared by the time I got to this point.
I did 3 layers of each strip within the marked “blocks” for each colour.
If you do this, try to scatter your layers so that 2 petals aren’t on top of each other, but rather create a fish scale pattern.
And when it was done, it looked like this:
Yeah after the first one didn’t survive, I can’t believe I made this either.
I had a near miss with it in the following weeks, when the rolling racks in the basement where I hung it off of after it was done (to avoid squishing the tissue paper), fell over.
I saw it on the floor and went “Oh hell no”.
Now I am thinking “Ok maybe 4 layers would have been enough”. (*cough* adult will have to break it first *cough*)
So my Grade 3 art class self can now look at it and be proud. She is however looking at me wondering because it only took 2 weeks and 2 kitchen cleanups of a mini volcano eruption to make, if I am going to cry when it gets smashed into pieces because it looks all happy and cheerful now.