Okay, you’ve sent the invitations, you’ve ordered the cake, you’ve got the finger foods happening – what else is there? Oh, you forgot the pinata? Wow, there goes the party! Unless… If you could just figure out how to make one yourself. You say you have cardboard? Tape? You’re well on your way, then. Whether the birthday person is turning 5 or 55 you can easily make a number pinata to celebrate. They’re much easier to make than you would think, and once it’s done, no one will know that you’re not the big spender rather than a simple crafter.
Start by laying the cardboard on a flat surface. You’ll need to draw the letters you need onto the cardboard. You can use stencils or draw them freehand but they’ll need to be rather large. If the age of the birthday person is a two digit number draw each number separately. Draw two of each number. They should be the same size and basically identical. It’s easiest, if drawing freehand, to draw one number then trace around it to draw the second one. This way, the numbers will align when you go to assemble the pinata.
Take special care to draw and cut the numbers as accurately as possible. The numbers can be block or even balloon numbers but you generally want to keep it simple and not get really fancy with the numbers. It’s much easier to cut and decorate simplistic forms of numbers. In addition to the cardboard numbers you will need a really long, wide cardboard piece for each letter. This piece will create the band that holds the two sides of the number together. If you don’t have one solid piece of cardboard you can tape two or more pieces together. You can decide on exactly how wide you want the pinata to be by the width you cut the cardboard. Although this figure can vary three to five inches is a good width. Cut it to the chosen width and cut it long enough to easily go around the number. You can later trim the cardboard so it’s better to have it much longer than needed than it is to come up short. If you do come up short, though, simply tape yet another piece onto the band.
Assembling can begin by simply starting to tape the band to one of the numbers. Tape the band all the way around the perimeter of the number. When you get to the end trim it and tape the two ends together. Fill the open area with candy and small toys then position the second number on the band. Tape the band around the perimeter of this number and don’t forget to add the hanger. Locate a middle spot on the number, tape a folded piece of ribbon or twine to that area, then continue taping the number and the band.
You should be aware that certain tapes will work better than others. Scotch tape, for example, is not ideal for holding the pinata pieces together. However, duct tape can be bulky and even too sticky. The best tape is a paper-type tape that looks like paper on one side but is sticky on the other. Use the tape in a manner where half of the length is on the band and half of the length is on the number. Don’t overdo it on the tape, though; the object is to just hold it together until it takes a couple of hits from the bat, at which point the tape tears away from the cardboard and allows the candy to spill.
Decorate the pinata by tearing pieces of tissue paper off and gluing them to the outside of the pinata. Make the band a different color than the front and back of the pinata or make it all the same color. Make borders around the numbers, if you want, then fill each section in with a different color. There are lots of different designs you can do. It’s helpful to draw the pattern on the cardboard so you can see where to place the tissue pieces.
If you’re making a double-digit number you’ll assemble both numbers as stated above. Then, before decorating the pinata, you’ll glue or tape the two numbers together when you scoot the two numbers together it could form a number that isn’t easy to glue together, like a “33”. The tips of the second “3” aren’t very large so the glued area will be small. One hit from the bat and the two numbers could separate leaving only one number hanging and the other one on the ground. Instead, tape these numbers together by using a piece of tape right across the center. If you want, you can first apply a little glue to the tips of the second “3”, then tape it as well, to get the best hold possible.
Your homemade pinata will literally be the hit of the party! And, oh, the fun you had making it! From now on, of course, you’ll never even consider buying another pinata. You’re probably kicking yourself in the pants, too, just thinking of all the money you’ve spent on pinatas in the past! Never again, though, because now you know just how easy it is to make a pinata yourself!