Our house is gearing up for a kid’s birthday party! This is actually our first kids birthday party. We will be celebrating my oldest daughter’s 5th birthday. She is still very into “princess” stuff, like most other girls her age. But this will be a co-ed party, so I have tried to emphasize a “castle” theme – there won’t be a lot of pink, frilly, princess decor that the boys will be turned off by. She really wants to have a piñata at her party. I looked around and there are some real cute castle piñatas that you can buy pre-made at the stores. Most of them are pink and some even have the Disney princesses on them. Can you imagine the boys busting these girly piñatas apart (maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea!)? So instead, I decided to make and decorate our own. Funny thing is that I haven’t done paper-mache since I was in kindergarten….so why not get my kids involved for a craft project?!
Here is what we made and how did it!
I remember making a piñata in school by placing strips of newspaper in glue and placing them over a large balloon. Once the paper set to dry the balloon could be popped and the paper would hold its shape. How was I actually going to accomplish making a piñata in the shape of a castle? It took a little fuss, but I enjoy taking on crazy projects like this and my kids are perplexed watching me accomplish the hard parts and they love getting involved with the easier or messy tasks.
I was pondering about building a structure using recycled boxes and cardboard. Once it was taped in place I could paper-mache over it – mmm….more pondering!
First I sketched out a design. I didn’t want to completely wing it when designing this structure because I envisioned turrets, towers, battlements, a drawbridge! Ha! After all, I am just designing a piñata. Here are the steps that I took:
- To create the structure, tape two similar sized cereal boxes together.
- The cylinder shaped turrets were created by rolling two pieces of thin cardboard from a fridge case of Coke. Tape the cylinder shapes to the front corners of the cereal box.
- Account for leaving an opening in the top of the piñata to fill it with goodies. The top of a tissue box works out perfect. To finish it off, a small cylinder tower was taped on top of the tissue box opening. NOTE: Do not tape this piece on yet. See #10.
- Wrap the cereal boxes and turret structure with plastic wrap. This allows the box structure to pull out easy once the paper mache has dried.
- Paper mache recipe: 1 part flour to 1 part water. I worked with 1 C of flour and 1 C water at a time, but needed to make 4 or 5 batches of paste to complete the project.
- Cut 1 inch strips of newspapers.
- Soak each strip of paper in the paper mache paste until it is wet, remove the excess paste before pasting it to the structure or it will be too wet. Turn the box structure upside down and place strips of paper on. NOTE: 1 layer of paper made a very solid structure, I would not apply multiple layers because the kids will not be able to break it.
- I let this structure dry in place overnight. NOTE: The structure does not need to be perfect. Any imperfections will be covered up when decorating.
- The next day, carefully remove the boxes and plastic wrap.
- Tape the top tissue box structure to the dried paper mache.
- Make one batch of paper mache paste. Place newspaper strips over the top of the tissue box, leave the cylinder shaped tower open (this is where the candy and goodies will be placed). These pieces of cardboard do not need to be removed.
Time to decorate!
Glue a sheet of tissue paper to the bottom.
Cut crepe paper streamers the length of the circumference of the castle. Each strip should be cut to make a fringe.
Decorate with card stock (to create the battlements, drawbridge, windows, etc.)