Pinatas, the traditional Latin American, candy-filled party centrepieces, have become a staple of American birthday party activities. Children love whacking those cute, papier-mache creatures and furiously scrambling for the candy contents. Pinatas are actually very easy and inexpensive to make. Using cardboard boxes creates a useful shortcut to the traditional method of making a pinata because there is no need to build up layers of papier mache for strength and stability. The simple method of construction allows for a variety of shapes to be made using a few special techniques.
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Things you need
- Various-sized cardboard boxes
- Package of balloons
- Large roll of masking tape
- Paper towel rolls
- 4 large bottles of white glue
- Newspaper (many bundles)
- Bags of candy
- Crepe paper (various colours)
Use a large, rectangular box as the body of the animal. On the underside of the box, draw four 25 mm (1 inch) circles, one at each corner, where the legs will go. Place one more circle on top of the box where the neck and head of the animal will go.
Tape four paper towel rolls in the designated areas under the box, and tape one on top of the box. Tape another small, rectangular box on top of the single paper towel roll to make the head. Or inflate a balloon and attach it to the roll with tape
Mix four large bottles of regular white glue with 4 cups of water to make your own papier mache paste. (The ratio should be about 1 to 1, if you use high-quality glue. If you use cheaper glue, you might need to add more glue than water.)
Tear a bundle of newspaper into strips and dip them into the paste. Cover the entire structure with a layer of paste. Allow it to dry for one day.
Use the boxcutter to cut a hole in the top of the box. Fill the box about halfway with candy. Turn the animal over, and cut a 100 mm (4 inch) diameter circle in the bottom of the box and then seal the hole with about three layers of tape. This will allow the candy to fall out easily when the animal is hit.
Decorate the animal with the crepe paper to finish the pinata. You can make it look like a dog, a cat, a horse or any four-legged animal of your choice.
Inflate a balloon to its maximum capacity.
Mix the papier mache mix, tear a bundle of newspaper into shreds and dip into the mix. Cover the balloon with one layer of the paper dipped in the mix, and dry. You can place it in a bowl for stability while drying.
Add two more layers to the balloon structure, drying between each layer. The balloon will deflate on its own and does not need to be removed. Cut a hole in the top of the structure and fill it with candy.
Decorate the round pinata with the crepe paper. Round pinatas can be decorated as fruit, heads, animals or any round object.
Use boxes to make pinatas in the shape of things like cars, robots, buildings and computers.
To make a car or truck, find a long, rectangular box and a smaller, square box. Attach the smaller box to the top of the long box with tape, positioning it so that it looks like the top of a car.
To make a robot, find three squares boxes (one large, one medium-sized and one small), and tape them together with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top.
Cover your rectangular object with a layer of mache and allow it to dry. Fill it with candy in the same manner as the animal pinata, except cut the hole in the bottom box for pinatas made of multiple boxes, adding a tape-covered hole for easy release of the candy.
Decorate the pinata with the crepe paper to look like the object you have designed.
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