Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Art Adventure: Piñata

I promised you something messy and fun. So let's make a Piñata.

Due to the many steps and the drying times, this project will be divided into two parts.

  • a balloon
  • strips of newspaper
  • flour
  • water
  • containers
  • paper clip (optional)

Piñatas are made with Papier-mâché (sometimes just spelled paper mache). There are tons of recipes out there, and you can even buy the glue pre-made, but that's silly because it's cheap and easy to do it yourself. Now, some will tell you to use glue or starch, but simple is best for two three reasons: 1. this recipe won't make your skin itch, 2. it dries hard,but you can still break it with a stick and that's an important quality in a piñata, 3. it's for sure, non-toxic. Nothing more disappointing than a piñata that won't break.

Take a handful of flour and place it in a container. Just eyeball it. Then add about an equal amount of water. Again, don't worry about measuring. Mix it up. It should be the consistency of thin potato soup.

Blow up your balloon, and tie it off.

Dip a strip of newspaper into the flour glue,

carefully pull the excess off with fingers,

then lay the strip on the balloon and smooth down.

Keep going until the balloon is covered.

But, leave a little uncovered near where the balloon is tied. This is where you will stuff the Piñata if you want to, so leave this as big as your items, but as small as possible.

Now, let this layer dry.

And, then you will go back and do it again. On the second layer, take a paper clip and open it into a triangle.

Hold it in place on the piñata, and use strips of the papier-mâché to adhere it. Note: make sure your placement allows the hole you left to be up, so the candy won't fall out. Ours is on the side, but the opening is still tilted up. You could place yours right near the opening.

On each layer, be sure to place strips through the triangle to make it very secure.

After each layer dries, you can test if it's hard enough by pushing on it, or even just knocking on it. Remember, if you want to use it and have kids break it open, don't do too many layers or it will be too hard to break.

When it is completely dry, we will pop the balloon and pull it out. And this is the basic building block for all piñatas, or really even all papier-mâché.

Next week, we will explore different decorating techniques, including add-ons.

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  1. Replies
    1. Glad to hear it! I really haven't met a kid yet who doesn't like this sort of project. :)


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