Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Party! (part 2 - Piñata Tutorial)

Nora had expressed interest in having a piñata for her birthday party. I had been thinking for a while that making a piñata would be sort of fun. We had made Finn a paper mache' hot air balloon a year earlier, so I thought, how much harder could a rainbow shaped piñata be? hahahaha....

Well, to anyone else thinking of attempting to do this project with their child, I have a little advice:

1. This is a project for those who love to make their own stuff, or those who have more time than money.  If this is not you, I highly recommend buying a rainbow piñata instead.

2. If your child is under 6, you will likely be making 90% of the piñata by yourself.  My daughter is anti-gooey hands, too young to properly cut with scissors, and barely able to fold paper.  Not sure why I thought this would be a good project for her.

3. Give your self plenty of time. Piñatas need a lot of time to dry in their various stages. We started ours about 3 weeks before the party and this worked well. We were (read: I was) able to work on it on and off in spare time, which made it more fun.

4. Consider less paper, more paint. Folding, cutting, and gluing the paper was the most time consuming part of the project. Especially for young children, painting would be an easier way to get them to more actively participate and they will be just as pleased with the result.

That being said, here's the steps for the Rainbow Piñata for Nora's Rainbow Unicorn birthday party!

Blow up twist "animal" balloons and tape together in a bowed shape. I would recommend a tape like blue painters tape. I think it would work better than the scotch tape I used. I'd recommend 5 balloons.

To maintain the bowed shape, attach pipe cleaners at each end of the rainbow and twist them together at your preferred distance.

Paper-mâché your rainbow, taking care to fully wrap the rainbow. I used a water/flour mixture, but you can use whatever adhesive you prefer.

Find a nice spot where the piñata can dry for a few days. I'd recommend putting paper or plastic down, as it will drip, and covering the spot on the wall it will lean against.

Once the paper mache is FULLY dry inside and out, you can pop the balloons and shake out any excess crud from the inside.

Attach a hanger. I used curling ribbon attached with duct tape and that was strong enough.

I used 2 methods for the paper. Both used strips, but one I fan folded and the other I just folded in on itself. I found the second worked much better. I folded the strips of tissue paper about 5 times, at around an inch and a half wide. I then cut lots of little slits into the paper. After the strip is attached and fully dried, you can fan out the little slits to make the piñata appear fuller. There were also areas where I needed to add small sections of various colors to fully cover the paper mâché. I tired of this process and used large strips of blue to cover the bottom of our rainbow.

Once the covering is fully dry, flip your rainbow upside down and add candy, small toys, fruit snacks, whatever you want.

Cover the ends with duct tape. Flip upside down several times and test that they are sealed.

Finally, I hot glued cotton balls onto the bottom of our rainbow.

Sad to see all that time and energy whacked at and destroyed by a stick, but the kids LOVED it. Plus, we were lucky enough that about 2/3 of the rainbow was not wrecked. I closed off the end and used it as a decoration in Nora's room.

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