Last year was the first time I made a Piñata for my son’s birthday and this year when his birthday rolled around again in October the first thing he asked for was “one of those things you bang and all the sweets fall out”. A more formal definition is: a papier-mâché or other type of container that is decorated, filled with toys and/or sweets and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration. Piñatas are most commonly associated with Mexico.
Of course he wanted to help make it with me. So we got crafty and created our own Jolly Roger Piñata to go along with the pirate theme.
Here are instructions on how to make a Pinata:
1. Collect materials – scissors, a big balloon (helium quality), string, paintbrush and paint, newspaper and advertising cut in strips (about 2cm wide), flour and water for papier mache glue, sweets!
2. Make your flour and water papier mache glue. Boil 5 cups of water in a saucepan. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of sieved flour with a cup of cold water. Mix to a smooth consistency. When lump free, add the mixture to the water in the saucepan. Gently boil, stirring constantly for two or three minutes until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool before using – otherwise your balloon will pop (I know from experience!) This will make a runny glue. If you prefer a very thick glue (or if you are in a hurry for it to dry) use this 1 whole cup of flour to three cups of water instead.
3. Blow up the balloon and layer the newspaper over the balloon using the glue and paintbrush. Smear it with fingers if necessary to get it smooth. Don’t add too much glue as you need each layer to dry out properly. Use 3 layers in total – use newsprint for the first layer, then use advertising for the second layer and then newsprint again this way it’s easy to tell how many layers you have done and if you have missed a spot! Remember to leave a hole at the top big enough to add sweets into and also attach string between 2 of the layers (to hang it up) using sticky tape (NB it will only stick when the paper is dry.)
4. Leave to dry and then paint and decorate in your choice of paint colours – we did a Jolly Roger this year but last year was a multi-coloured Picasso-esque masterpiece by my son!
5. Fill with sweets and hang in a tree or similar for the kids to gather around and take turns beating until all your handiwork is smashed on the ground and there is a free for all sweet grab…..
images: Kathryn Rossiter