Why Paper Mache Cracks on a Pinata

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Conceal cracks in a pinata by covering it with decorations.
Conceal cracks in a pinata by covering it with decorations. (Image: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Pinatas are made to be cracked open before they sprinkle down candy and treats on everyone below. However, if you've made your own paper mache pinata, you don't want the creation cracking before the party begins. Paper mache will crack for a variety of reasons. Know the causes, as well as how to avoid them, to can keep your pinata intact until the sticks start swinging.

Sun

Too much sunlight can cause cracking in any paper mache creation, including pinatas. While a little heat from the sun can help in hardening the glue, the sunlight is also known to dry out the moisture too quickly, which can lead to cracking. Also, the heat from the sun can expand the air inside the pinata, causing it to put pressure on the fragile paper mache shape and lead to cracking. Keep your pinata inside or in a shady area to prevent more damage.

Temperature Fluctuation

Fluctuating temperatures are another culprit of cracking paper mache pinatas. If the pinata is subjected to both hot and cold temperatures throughout the day, the materials that make its shape will be constantly expanding and contracting. This will eventually break down the elasticity of the paper mache and cause cracking. To preserve your pinata, keep it away from central heating and air conditioners in the room. If you've just created a paper mache pinata, let it air-dry naturally.

Shrinking Glue

Like many other substances, glue will shrink as it hardens from a liquid to a solid -- including when it's used to make a paper mache pinata. While you can't prevent the natural process of the glue shrinking, you can prevent the project from cracking by ensuring you use enough paper to cover the pinata during construction. Build the structure with a few layers of glue-soaked paper so that there won't be any cracks when the glue shrinks.

Solutions

Even if your paper mache pinata has cracked, there are a few steps you can take to cover the problem area. To start, cover the pinata with gesso. This gypsum plaster can cover up any cracks in the paper without adding much bulk. Simply sand around the cracked area and apply a layer or two of the plaster on top. You can also conceal cracks in a pinata by adding decorations on top of them. Many pinata are traditionally covered with streamers and crepe paper. Add some flair to your pinata while covering its imperfections by gluing some of these papers all around the shape.

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