Growing up in Mexico it wasn’t unusual to see a piñata at any party. In fact, it was rather unusual not to see one, even at office parties or when kids were not the main guests to a party.
When we were dating, I gave my husband a small piñata for his birthday. I just went to a party supply store in Mexico and got one for about 5 dollars. Once we got married and I moved to Germany I found the piñata at the apartment! I guess he really liked it, he moved it across the Atlantic. We used it for his birthday party a few months later.
I didn’t think about piñatas again until his next birthday. This time we were in Bangkok and I was throwing a “Sombrero Party” for him. Everyone had to wear a sombrero and wear a little clay jar around their necks to make tequila shots. Of course I needed a piñata and I was lucky enough to find a Mexican lady who made traditional holiday piñatas.
Again, no more piñatas for a while; until Evan turned one. We were throwing a construction party for him and I could not find anything that would resemble a truck, a hard hat or even a tool. I was lucky enough to my dear friend Gloria from El Salvador come to the rescue. She taught me how to make a piñata from scratch and helped me make a hammer for the birthday party.
Making the piñata was easier than I thought it would be and all the kids enjoyed hitting it at the birthday party.
Now, Easter is coming and the Spanish Speaking Women Association is throwing an Easter party for the kids. I volunteered to make a piñata and I was able to make something that somewhat resembles an Easter egg. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my husband’s help. He made the frame and was patient enough to even help me put the piñata together after work.
I didn’t have much time to make it, so it’s certainly not perfect. It took about 6 hours total including making the frame, cutting the paper, and gluing it. I worked in two-hour intervals and I left it to dry over night every time I put a new layer.
If you want to venture into the world of piñata making, GO FOR IT! It’s not as hard as it seems. The tough part is making the frame, from then on it’s fun and you can even involve the kids in gluing the piñata together.
Here are a few simple steps to make a piñata:
You will need:
-Wire, wicker or anything you can use to build a frame.
-A lot of glue. I normally use about 1 liter per piñata
-Crepé or tissue paper. For a medium size piñata about 12-15 sheets.
1. Make a Frame. Be creative. It can be any shape and size you want. For the hammer we used thin wire. For the Easter egg we used wicker I got from the basket market in front of our apartment building. (Do what you can with what you’ve got!)
2. Cut newspaper strips and glue them into the frame. They should be about 2 inches wide and as long as you want. When making the first layer, make sure you fold the strip over the frame and back into the strip so it stays there. This is a bit hard because sometimes they may overlap, but just keep on gluing them until the whole frame is covered.
3. Continue to glue newspaper strips over the covered piñata. This is the easy part. Add a little bit of water to the glue so it’s runnier than usual and start covering the piñata by surrounding it with the stripes. I usually start from the bottom up. Add as many layers as you want. The more layers, the longer it will take to break. I usually put 3 layers since my kids are still young.
4. Cut strips of tissue or crepe paper. Use as many colors as you want. Again the strips are about 2 inches wide. Place the paper horizontally and cut small sections of the paper to make it resemble a fringe. The cuts should be about ¼ apart and should leave at least half an inch at the top. This takes a bit of time so relax, do it while watching Hart of Dixie or whatever keeps you entertained.
5. Glue the colored strips to the frame. Again start from the bottom up placing the new strip on top of the uncut area of the previous one. Make sure the fringes don’t stick to the piñata because once they dry it will be hard to loosen them without ripping the paper. Normally I hang the piñata towards the end so the paper stays “fluffy”. Don’t worry if you leave a hole, you can always come back and add a small section of paper on the part that is missing it.
6. Fill with candy. Once you are done gluing everything together, cut a 2×2 inch square on top of the piñata. Only cut three of the sides so you can put it back down. The hole will be barely noticeable. Make sure you put the candy in at least one day before the party just to make sure it will stand the weight.
7. Enjoy! If you can’t find a piñata stick, get a baseball bat and have fun breaking the piñata!