How to Make a Traditional Mexican Pinata

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Pinatas share a place in birthday parties and other celebrations around the world, rising from beginnings as part of Aztec and Mayan religious rites and China’s New Year parties. Legend has it that the star-shaped design held seven points to represent the seven deadly sins, bright colors to symbolize temptation and candies to signify the rewards for avoiding sin. Today, you can build a pinata in any shape and color with a little paint and paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty cereal boxes or poster board

  • Clear tape

  • Flour

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Newspaper

  • White paper

  • Clay pot

  • Sponge brush

  • Twine

  • Tissue or crepe paper

  • Craft glue

  • Paint (optional)

Step 1

Cut the sides from the cereal box and roll them into cones, securing the edge with tape. Cut notches around the open end and fold them outward to make tabs.

Step 2

Mix one part flour and two parts water with a teaspoonful of salt to make the paste for your pinata. The salt helps prevent mold, but you can omit it, if you choose.

Tip

  • For a traditional paste, mix the juice of a lime and 1/2 cup flour to enough boiling water to make a paste consistency. For a stronger version, mix one part flour and five parts water and boil it for 3 minutes.

Step 3

Cut the newspaper and white paper into 1-inch-wide strips. Set the white strips aside.

Step 4

Fill the clay pot with candies and treats.

Step 5

Paint the clay pot with the paste mixture.

Step 6

Begin layering newspaper on the pot until the entire surface is covered. Allow the paste to dry for 24 hours. Refrigerate the unused paste for the next layers.

Step 7

Tape the cones onto the dried pot, using the tabs to attach them securely.

Step 8

Wind twine all around the pot to help secure the cones in place.

Step 9

Add a second layer of newspaper strips to the pot and onto the cones. Layer the strips on the pot and wrap them around the cones. Let this layer dry for 24 hours.

Step 10

Make a third layer, this time using the white paper strips. Let the layer dry again for 24 hours.

Step 11

While the paste is drying, cut 1-inch-wide strips of tissue or crepe paper. Make cuts along one edge, about 1/8 inch apart and about 3/4 inch deep. Pull the edge of the scissors across the fringe gently to curl it.

Step 12

Glue the fringe to the pinata with craft glue.

Step 13

Cut 10- to 12-inch tissue or crepe paper streamers. Glue clusters of the streamers to each cone point.

Tip

  • If you are concerned about possible injuries from the broken clay pot, substitute a balloon, leaving a small opening at the top of the pinata. When all of the layers are dried, pop the balloon and pull it through the opening before filling the cavity with candy and adding the paper fringe to the surface.

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