Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crafty Time: Pinatas - Angry Birds

We celebrated my nephew's fifth birthday this weekend.  His mom was going to be out of town the week before the party, so I offered to help. My nephew wanted an Angry Birds party.  We explored different ideas and agreed that I would make a pinata. I remember saying these words, " Sure, I'll make a pinata.  It looks really easy. "   Easy.... HA HA HA... little did I know what I was in for!

I looked at a bunch of sites online and they all said about the same thing.   Start with a balloon, then make paper mache, cover balloon with paper mache, let dry, cover with more paper mache.... etc, decorate... and tada, you now have a wonderful pinata for your child's party.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, maybe it is easy, but not when everything goes wrong.  This post is not a "how to" post, this is a "what not to do" post.

Tips and Tricks for Pinata Making: What not to do

I bought this really cool ( and expensive) balloon at Michael's called a "Giant Balloon".  And it WAS giant... I had to use my air mattress pump just to blow it up.  However, when I blew it up, it had a tiny hole in it and since I only had one balloon and it cost a lot, I thought I could still use it.

Tip 1:  If you blow up your balloon and there is a hole in it,... don't tape the hole and expect it to hold.   

I did tape the hole, and while it held for the first layer, the second layer appeared to have been too much for it.  The below picture is what happened. :(  It went from a pretty big, cool looking balloon to a crumpled mess.

At this point I was starting to stress a little bit.  Each layer has to have 24 hours to dry and I had now wasted almost two days.  I rushed to the Dollar Tree and found punch balloons.  The package had 3 balloons and I thought that would be enough.

Tip 2:   Don't skimp on how many balloons you have. Better to have too many then too few.

We then blew up two... one for me and one for my little girl to play with.  A few minutes went by and BAM!, they both popped.

Tip 3:  Don't overfill your balloon. Even though you want a really big pinata, resist the urge to blow it bigger then they recommend.  

I still had one balloon left. I thought I'd be fine... Nope, that one had a hole in it too.  See Tip 2.
I quickly called my husband's little sister who was on her way over and asked her to pick up some more.  I blew one up,  put paper mache on it, and put it out to dry.

Tip 4:  Don't think it'll dry outside during the night... the cold air will only make it wet and soggy.

After that first night, I remembered to bring it in at bedtime.

Tip 5: Don't let it dry where the temperature  fluctuates a lot.  

I let it dry outside where it got really cold and it made the balloon shrink.   The picture below shows you the comparison of how much it shrunk.  The paper mache balloon WAS the size of the yellow balloon.
I did read this instruction on one of the sites I looked at and didn't pay much attention because it didn't seem to be that important.  Apparently, I was wrong.

With the way things had been going, I decided to make a back up plan.  Even though the balloon was happily drying ( before I knew it had shrunk), I decided that I would try making a different shape out of something other then a balloon.  I looked around my house for what I could use.  I found a green bean box, a tomato sauce box and a brownie box.  I taped them together with masking tape to make a  triangle.  I figured I could make it look like the yellow bird, if the balloon didn't work out.

We paper mached the yellow bird the next day.  I figured it didn't need as many layers of paper mache due to the fact it was already made out of cardboard.  Boy, was I glad that we did that.  It turned out great!

Since I already had started the shrunken balloon, I decided to finish it and we could always just use it as decoration.

I left a little hole with a flap  in the yellow bird so that we could put the candy in later.  I also wrapped it like a Christmas present with the twine sticking out the top and then paper mached over the twine.  This worked great for holding it.
The red bird, I left figuring out how to hang it until last and we had to cut a hole and duct tape it so that it would hang.  It worked, but wasn't quite as cool.

Tip 6:  Attach your string before you paper mache.  Do not wait until after it's all done to figure out how to hang it.  Or if you are going to use another method, at least attach it before you decorate it, so you can cover any cuts with your paint or tissue paper.

I painted them, and we then had two angry birds for the party.

Tip 7:  Paint the shape white until you can't see the newspaper anymore, then paint it the color you want it.  
Don't think you can paint it  just one or two coats of a light color, because you'll still be able to see the newspaper.  

We ended up using both of them for pinatas and the yellow bird turned out much better.  The red bird didn't even allow the entire line of kids to go through before it fell apart.

The yellow bird was definitely sturdy.  It allowed about 10 kids to each get about 3 turns of 3 hits each.  You could see it starting to crack as they hit it.  It wasn't too frustrating, but not too easy either.  Just right!

In the future, I would give myself about 2 weeks ahead of time to start it. That way if things went wrong, I wouldn't be stressed.

The other thing I would do differently was if I tried a round shape again, I would maybe just use a beach ball or cheap bouncy ball as my base shape.  Another tip I saw was to wrap a balloon in newspaper and tape it with masking tape to hold it's shape that way you aren't putting paper mache directly onto the balloon.  Not sure if that would work but it might be worth a shot.

Here are the websites I used to make my pinata:
Angry Bird Pinata by Simply Styled Home
Pinata Tutorial by Whimsy Love
Learn How to Make a Pinata by coolest kid birthday parties. com

In the end,  I sure learned a lot, and my nephew loved his pinata.  Despite everything that went wrong, it was a huge success after all!


  1. LOL, I love this post. I remember my mom making these for many of my parties as a kid and do not remember any complications happening. So sorry you had to learn so many at once but the end product looked cute!

    1. Thanks! That's cool that your mom made you them for your parties. I can appreciate how much work she must have put in. :)

  2. I'm so glad that I found you on Lil Luna! This post was awesome. Thanks for sharing what went wrong along the way too, that's helpful:)


    1. Thanks for your comment! I hope that I can help someone avoid the same mistakes :)


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