Pinatas are a lot of fun at parties and they are an easy way to thank your guests for attending without doing individual treat bags. Unlike individual bags, it doesn't matter if guests cancel at the last minute or arrive unexpectedly, because the treats are simply divided among whoever is present.
Pinatas are also very versatile: you can make them any size and shape you want and the contents are easy to customize to your theme and preferences. You can fill them with your child's favorite candies, opt for healthier options such as fruit snacks and granola bars, or skip the food all together and use small toys, erasers, stickers, etc.
This tutorial is for a triceratops pinata, but you can definitely use the basic techniques to customize it to whatever animal you want. By adding or removing elements, changing the colors, and using your imagination a little, this could easily become a cow or elephant or dog pinata. And remember, the best part about a pinata is the smashing, so don't worry about trying to be perfect.
- BODY: cardboard box around 12"x10"x8" (30 cm x 25 cm x 20 cm)
- HEAD: cardboard box around 4" cubed (10 cm)
- FRILL, HORNS, TAIL: cardboard pieces
- LEGS: cardboard tube(s)
- white glue
- scissors, exacto knife
- acrylic paint, brush
- 3-4 sheets of tissue paper
1. Turn the large box upside down (opening to the bottom). Poke a hole in both sides near the top edge in the center of the edge. Thread approximately 6' (2 m) string through both holes and tie the ends together. This is how your pinata will hang. (I completely forgot to do this until the end and used a long stick to thread the string through the box.)
2. Turn the box over and fill it with treats. Glue the opening shut just enough that it will stay sealed but still be the weakest part of the box (so the treats will fall out). If you want the pinata to be a "pull-type", poke holes in these flaps and add long strings to them before closing the box. Turn the box upside down again, so that the opening you just sealed is now the bottom of the pinata.
3. Cut a piece of cardboard to make a frill approximately the same size as one end of the large box. I had a thick piece of cardboard that was already the right size and a cool shape. You can make yours as simple or elaborate as you want - basically a wavy-edged oval is the shape you're going for. Once you have it cut out, trace the small box onto the frill along the bottom edge and cut out the square.
4. Glue and tape the small box to one end of the large box.
5. Glue the frill to the large box, fitting it around the small box.
6. On a piece of cardboard, measure and mark out six triangles that are 6" (15 cm) long and 2" (5 cm) wide.
Draw a diamond on cardboard approximately 3" (7.5 cm) high by 2" (5 cm) wide.
Cut out all the pieces.
The diamond is the nose horn. Glue/tape it in place with half on the small box and the other half sticking up.
Two large triangles are the eyebrow horns.
Four large triangles are the tail. Glue/tape them together.
7. Cut narrow slots into the frill above the small box for the two large horn triangles to slip in. Glue them in place.
8. Glue/tape the tail to the opposite end.
9. Cut the cardboard tube(s) into four pieces around 4" (10 cm) long.
Glue/tape to the bottom of the large box.
10. Stand the pinata on the legs (tubes).
Allow all the glue to dry thoroughly.
Paint the entire pinata whatever color(s) you want. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
11. Cut the tissue paper into long strips that are 2" (5 cm) wide. Snip along one side of the strips approximately 1" (2.5 cm) deep and 3/4" (2 cm) apart. (I used binder clips to hold my strips together and snipped lots at once.)
12. Starting at the bottom of the pinata, glue the uncut side of the strips to the pinata, overlapping as you go.
13. Work your way around the pinata, gluing on strips from bottom to top. You can use different colors for different parts or leave some parts bare. (I left the legs bare for now so that it's easier to store the pinata until I need it, but I might cover them later.) For the frill, start at the outside edge and work your way in. DONE.