How To Make A Piñata With Paper Mâché, A Balloon, & More DIY

Make Your DIY Piñata Dreams Come True With These Tutorials

February 3, 2021 Updated May 29, 2021

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What’s more fun than a piñata? First, you get to enjoy a colorful decoration in the shape of one of your favorite characters or objects. Maybe a colorful unicorn, a cheerful rainbow, or one of the members of the Paw Patrol force. The possibilities are endless! But it doesn’t stop there. Attempting to open a piñata is one of the few occasions when it is socially acceptable to bash something with a stick until it breaks. While blindfolded. And then, when it finally does break, the result is candy — and not just a few pieces of candy. It’s a candy free-for-all with everyone on the floor scrambling to get the good stuff (and not end up stuck with the Smarties). So, hey, we understand the desire to learn how to make a piñata.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention that — like so many aspects of perceived “American” culture — piñatas have been reconsidered in recent years in light of whether they’re a type of cultural appropriation. That is a much larger discussion for another day, but for now, piñatas remain a popular tradition at children’s parties. It’s easy to see the broad appeal, right? 

But let’s say your kid decides that they want a piñata at their next birthday party, and you’re not overly enthusiastic about shelling out money for something bound to be destroyed by the end of the event. Well, you may be interested in a DIY option. With that said, here’s how to make a piñata at home in a few different ways, including with a balloon, paper mâché, and cardboard.

How to Make a Piñata with Cardboard

Real talk: Not every piñata on this list is going to look exactly like the kind you’d find in the store. One of the main reasons for that is that store-bought piñatas usually come in fun shapes and making one of those yourself requires some more advanced-level skills. But that doesn’t mean it’s off the table entirely. The key is encouraging your child to pick a shape that’s relatively simple — like a dinosaur. The video above walks you through all of the steps of creating the actual piñata but then leaves the decorating strategy up to you.

How to Make a Paper Mâché Piñata Using a Balloon

Chances are if you’ve made a homemade piñata before, it was using this classic method involving a balloon and paper mâché. And yes, the finished product does, in fact, look like a giant egg. If your kid happens to be enthusiastic about eggs (or it’s for a celebration of Easter and/or sources of protein), then you’re all set.

But even if they don’t love the idea of having an egg-shaped piñata, that’s when you have to remind them to use their imagination. For example, they could decorate the piñata to look like the face of one of their favorite characters. Or if you have a tween with a great sense of humor, you could paint the balloon piñata red or pink and then fill it with white-colored candy, so it’s like popping a pimple.

How to Make a Piñata Out of a Cereal Box

One of the quickest, easiest (and cheapest) ways to make a DIY piñata is by using a cereal box. Plus, as a bonus, you can let your kid pick their favorite cereal to have for breakfast the morning of their birthday, and then use that box for the piñata.

How to Make a Piñata Using Coloring Book Pages

Hate the mess of paper mâché? This DIY piñata not only comes together easily using a cereal box, but it also is decorated using coloring book pages of your child’s favorite character. You can even have them color it in themselves to make them feel even more included in the process.

How to Make a Piñata Cake

If the whole beating-the-crap-out-of-a beloved-childhood-character doesn’t appeal to you or your child, you can still get the wow-factor of a piñata without the violence — in the form of a piñatacake or even a cupcake. This video helps walk you through the process (which isn’t as hard as it sounds like it would be), TBH.

This way everyone gets the candy, but no one gets hurt. It’s a win-win!

Frosting

  • One cup of sugar
  • Two teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Six egg whites
  • Four sticks of unsalted butter
  • Five cups of sweetened shredded coconut

Filling

  • Blue, orange, yellow, purple, or pink food coloring
  • Two cups of small and soft candies

Cake

  • Twelve tablespoons of butter
  • Two and a half cups of all-purpose flour
  • One tablespoon of baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • One cup of whole milk
  • One tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  • Three large eggs 
  • One and a half cups of sugar

Materials for Making a Piñata With Paper Mâché

Going the DIY route for your kid’s birthday party is admirable, but it isn’t easy. It helps to know what supplies you’ll need, though. So, if you’re on piñata duty, below are few items you’ll want to buy before getting started.  

  • A large, round balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Paper mâché paste
  • Paint
  • Crepe paper
  • Tissue paper
  • String, yarn, or fishing line
  • Masking tape

What can I use for paper mâché instead of newspaper?

A stape ingredient to making piñatas is paper mâché. And although you can use a bunch of newspapers to get the job done, here are some alternatives:
  • Tissue paper
  • Toilet paper
  • Cardboard
  • Paper towels

Where is the piñata from originally?

Piñatas date back more than 700 years ago and originally from Asia. During celebrations in China, colorful figures were created and modeled after significant animals, like cows and oxen. These pieces were hung in the air and whacked with colorful sticks until seed would spill out.

During the 14th century, the custom made its way to Europe and was used to celebrate Lent. The first Sunday was called “Piñatas Sunday,” and Italians would call the figures pignatta, which means fragile pot. When piñatas became popular in Spain, they used them to celebrate the first Sunday of Lent during a party called “Dance of the Piñatas.”