Piñatas: Days Two, Three, and Four

Alright, after a break, and many alcoholic drinks, I was ready to finish my piñatas. The next step, decorating the piñatas, was actually much more enjoyable and easier than the papier måché, for one simple reason; I had my helper back! My daughter, who was grossed out by the papier måché and pretty much abandoned me early on, was totally into helping with the next step. And thank goodness, because it was a fairly time intensive step. Quick reminder, I was using this video as a point of reference when making our piñatas.

We laid down newspaper on her floor, and got to work. We mixed white school glue with just a little bit of water until the glue was thin enough to paint with. Since we broke up this part instead of doing it all at once, I tended to pour way more glue than I needed for each session. A little glue goes a long way. I now have an old Tupperware container I need to throw away because there’s no way I’m getting the unused glue out of it. We took turns, one of us cutting the streamers and one of us gluing them on.

Just like in the video, we folded the streamer into 3 inch strips to give it a little more weight. We made them smaller with each new circle we made, as it was easier to work with. Cutting streamers was no joke. The day we finished decorating them, I was convinced I had early arthritis.

We started with my daughter’s piñata, with me cutting strips and her gluing them on. Before we started decorating, we made sure to use a box cutter to cut a whole so we could later put candy inside. We didn’t have any issues with her’s, but when I cut a hole in my piñata and the balloon popped, all of the party hats I had lovingly and carefully attached just so with papier måché, sunk into my piñata. I get extra mom points for not cursing at it while my daughter was next to me. I read the comments on the original video and found this was a pretty common occurrence. I reattached them with glue and tape until they seemed firmly in place. Here’s hoping they don’t fall off when I fill the piñata.

We finished the first side and then left it to dry. Maybe because we were so new at the process, but just one side took over an hour to complete with two people working on it. Even so, my daughter and I were having fun, and maybe halfway through we were seriously considering making more piñatas to sell at local farmer’s markets. Maybe we could, if she’s willing to help with the papier måché.

After decorating each side, it was time to cover up the area between the party hats. This was basically the same process as the main sides, only in reverse (you will go under your original layer) and with more shoving. When that was done, we cut long (twelve inches) strips of streamers and stapled them onto the ends of the party hats. And that was it! Totally easy. 😉

And while they’re not perfect, I’m pretty pleased with how they came out. They look good enough to shake a stick at, at least. My daughter is proud too. She was getting a little gloomy towards the end of making them, knowing that soon all of our hard work will be destroyed by those we love, but I’m hoping she’ll perk up once the candy is in there. After all, we did spring for the mix that included Blow Pops.

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Finished piñata and my husband’s arm

Now, in case you are wondering why we made two piñatas, let me tell you. My daughter’s piñata will be filled with candy (including Blow Pops) and will be for the kids at the party to take a whack at. The piñata I was in charge of will be for the adults. It will have yummy Godiva chocolates in it, and….. IMG_2623

Happy birthday to me!

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Piñatas: Day One

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks so I decided to have a big party to celebrate. A couple weeks ago I was talking about it with my mom and brother and we all came up with some fun party ideas. After opening the second jug of margaritas, we had some pretty good ideas. My brother suggested a bouncy house, I thought piñatas would be fun, and my mom suggested we have alcohol.

I decided it would be even more fun to make the piñatas myself. I blame the margaritas. Here’s the thing with me and crafting, I always go in with more confidence than I probably should. I research online, watch a ten minute video, and convince myself that it’ll be easy, fun, and done within a day. I am almost always wrong.

But I found this video here, figured it would be a fun and easy project my eight year old daughter could help me with, and I set out to make piñatas.

First step; gathering supplies. I went to Party City to get some more streamers, party hats, and balloons. Word of advice; when buying Mylar balloons that you don’t want inflated with helium, be prepared to explain it at least three times. Another tip; buy a darker color balloon. I got white and it became a little difficult to see where I needed to add more papier-mâché because of the light color.

Second step; get everything ready. I cut up strips of newspaper (about eight inches long, one to two inches wide), prepared my flour mixture (I used two cups flour, two and a half cups water and one tablespoon salt), blew up the balloons (I didn’t have a balloon pump so I used a straw), and taped on the party hats. So far, easy peasy.

Third step; watch your world dissolve into chaos when you attempt papier-mâché for the first time in thirty years. Ok, I made several mistakes during this step. One, I tried doing it inside. I’m still cleaning up the mess. Two, I was banking on my daughter helping AND ENJOYING this step. This was not the case. As soon as her hands touched the paste mixture she started complaining how gross it was. Three, after completing the first side, I attempted to put the piñata in progress in a jar, the way she does in the video. This did not work at all for me. The piñata started to sink into the jar, wrinkling the part we had already completed. I ended up having my daughter just hold the piñata while I covered the other side. Given her feelings on how gross the papier-mâché was, this did not go well for either of us.

Step four; let the first layer dry. I had been planning on letting it dry in the jar, but that wasn’t going to work. And I definitely wasn’t going to have my daughter hold it the whole time (it can take up to six hours for each layer to dry), I was at a loss and super frustrated. Piñatas were proving to be much harder than all the diys I had found online. I felt lied to. Luckily my husband saved the day by making make shift drying racks out of old wire garden fencing. After the fact, I’m thinking over turned tomato cages would also work.

Step five; repeat steps three and four two or three more times. Whoever said you needed to let the layers dry for six hours, obviously wasn’t making piñatas in 100 degree New Mexican heat. Mine was dry and hard after an hour in the sun. However, the heat also caused the balloon to expand and my papier-mâché to crack. So we let them dry in the shade from then on.

The other layers were easier. I did them outside and I did them by myself. By the third layer on the second piñata however, I had lost all my shade. It was one in the afternoon and 103. I was dripping sweat. It was running into my eyes which stung so I kept alternating which eye I had open. It was not enjoyable. By the end of day one, I hated piñatas.