How to Make an Animal Pinata

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A piñata is a traditional decoration for a children's birthday party. Because most children have a favorite animal, making an animal piñata will suit almost any child. Most of the supplies you'll need are items you likely have around the house. Piñatas are messy to make and take a few days, but are easy enough for a child to do. This is an ideal project for a parent to do with the child leading up to her birthday. Then, the day of the party, the piñata can be filled with candy and the children can take turns trying to break it open.

Things You'll Need

  • one 18-inch round latex balloon
  • Two 5-inch round latex balloons
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil with an eraser
  • White Elmer's glue
  • Craft brush
  • Inflate all of the balloons and knot them.

  • Tape the two 5-inch balloons together side by side. Then tape the two 5-inch balloons to the front of the 18-inch balloon. Visualize the smaller balloons as the snout of the animal you are trying to make.

  • Make the papier-mache paste by mixing one part flour with two parts water. Stir the mixture completely before proceeding. The mixture should be soupy. Try to get rid of any clumps of flour in the mixture.

  • Cut or tear the newspaper into strips. You'll need enough newspaper to completely cover the balloons and overlapping the paper while you do it. Depending on how thick you make the layers, you may need to put on multiple layers of newspaper to make the piñata strong enough to hold the candy.

  • Put the newspaper strips, one at a time, into the paste and lay the strips flat onto the balloons. When you are covering the two smaller balloons, use the paper to make the snout look more like a part of the face, as opposed to something attached to the front of the face.

  • Let your animal piñata dry overnight. Meanwhile, cut all the tissue paper into 1-by-1-inch squares.

  • Cut an opening in the top of the piñata so you can fill it with candy when it is completed.

  • Draw your design onto the piñata as a guide so you know where to put the different colors of tissue paper. Remember to draw the eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers and any distinguishing features. For example, if you are making a tiger piñata, you'll want to draw on the stripes so you know to make those areas a different color than the rest.

  • Water down some of the white glue. Use the craft brush to paint a section of the piñata with the craft glue. Take one square of tissue paper and put it over the eraser end of the pencil. Then push the pencil eraser down on a glue covered section of the piñata. When you lift the pencil, the tissue paper will stick to the piñata with the corners of the paper sticking up.

  • Repeat steps 10 and 11 until the entire piñata is covered in tissue paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Draw your piñata on paper before you get started so you know exactly what you want to do to make it look like the animal you are going for. The three-balloon description above can be used for any type of cat, dog, mouse or even insect. If you want to make an elephant, instead of adding two small balloons to the front, add a pencil balloon to make the trunk.
  • Making a piñata is very messy and takes a couple days, including drying time.

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  • Photo Credit Oriental Trading Co.
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