Like many of you, I enjoy crafting with my kids, even more so when the craft is something we can use to decorate our home. The craft then becomes a reminder of fun time spent together, while also adding more character and beauty to our home.
The tiny piñatas, which I'm calling my Mexican-inspired take on the Martha Stewart tissue pom-pom flowers, nicely complement a lantern I bought at Chinatown recently and add a nice pop of color to what is perhaps the blandest corner of my home office.
At this point, I should come clean and confess that this project, which is really quite simple, took us several months to complete. We created the newspaper shell soon after going to the piñata-making workshop in February 2010, decorated the piñata in May 2010 and then I let the piñata sit in my office unhung for a whole year! In a burst of inspiration, I hung them up yesterday. My poor kids didn't remember the little balls were piñatas and instead called them "balloons," but were thrilled that I finally hung up their creations.
Here's how you can make your own tiny piñata:
Step 1: Blow up a balloon. Make a homemade paste using about 1/2 cup of flour mixed with about a cup of water.
Step 2: Using a small, thick paintbrush, begin gluing torn strips of paper onto the balloon.
Step 3: Cover the balloon completely except for a small hole at the top that will help you hang it or that you can use to fill up the piñata later. To make sure you've pasted enough newspaper to the balloon, hold the balloon up to the light to make sure you can't see the balloon. The more layers, the stronger the piñata will be.
Step 4: Wait two days or so for the piñata to dry completely. If you are planning to use this for an actual piñata that will be smashed open by kids, you will want to repeat the process of adding more newspaper strips to make it stronger. Otherwise, pop the balloon while holding a piece of it so you can pull it out through the hole.
Step 5: Begin decorating the newspaper ball with tissue paper or any other decor of your choosing. We used tissue paper we had cut up using a circle punch, but the traditional method is to use strips of tissue as I showed you in this post.
You may wish to add more tissue paper to completely cover the newspaper, though my kids were satisfied with doing just one layer. Here are the finished piñatas, hanging in back of my desk in my home office. (Please disregard the messy desk.)
The most time-consuming part is waiting for the newspaper to dry after you've glued it on, but as you can see, the project is simple enough for kids as young as two and four years old, which is how old my kids were when they made these piñatas. It really made me so happy to do this project with my kids since I remember making my own piñatas as a girl though not for Cinco de Mayo. It may surprise you to know that, for all the hype in the United States every May 5, most people in Mexico don't celebrate the holiday at all. You can read a story about this phenomenon that the Christian Science Monitor published today here.
Nevertheless, I think making piñatas is a great project for kids any time of the year, either for a party or for decoration. The piñata can be as simple as a tiny ball like the one we made or as elaborate as your imagination wants it to be.