Making a 7 Pinata

The rough pinata from cardboard and tape
Jane said she wanted a pinata for her birthday party, so I started pricing them. They were like $30 unfilled. For something that was so temporary and destined for the trash I thought I would make my own instead. I'm not sure it saved money, if you consider that my time has monetary value (does it?), but it was a fun project and worked out OK. Originally Jane thought a mermaid or mermaid tail would be a good pinata shape, but I didn't like the idea of hitting something person-like (not to mention that shape would have been way too hard to make at home!).

Shawn had been in a fender bender (he wasn't at fault, and he and his car are fine now), so we got new car seats. So I had plenty of big cardboard lying around. I used my X-Acto knife (purchased in Minneapolis when I made Jane's slap bracelet Valentine cards) and cut out two 7 pieces, plus the same width pieces to make it 3-dimensional. I left a flap on the top to be able to put candy and treats in.

I initially used scotch tape to close everything together, and I added some packing tape for extra security (probably unnecessary because the pinata was very hard for the kids to break in the end).

Finished pinata - pennies for scale?
For decoration I used tissue paper -- cut into strips and then the edges cut to make fringe. I used "mermaid" colors of teal, pink and purple. Jane helped me decide on the placement. I used tape to put the tissue paper on in layers, although glue stick might have worked too. Crepe paper would have been another good alternative, since it's already in a strip. But tissue is what I had lying around! I used some shiny purple tissue paper for the flat parts on the bottom (bottom square and the underside of the bar) so bare cardboard wouldn't show and so I didn't need to have fringed paper all the way on the bottom. I did most of the project while watching TV.

I poked holes in the top to put rope through for a handle, and Shawn was able to hang it from a tree using some cotton rope we had from our sledding days.

I probably should have roughed up the bottom of the pinata a little bit to give it a chance of breaking. As it was each kid got a turn with the "bat," which was a wooden closet rod. The pinata was hanging a LITTLE too high for my tastes, but not as high as Shawn had it at first! He finished it off and in the end the top is what busted to another mom flipped it over while the kids scrambled for candy on the ground.

Parents joked I should have filled it with our leftover Halloween candy. If I'd been smart (and if my kids hadn't been sick!) I could have gotten candy and treats at rock bottom prices after Halloween. As it was I had some gummy bears (Halloween themed) that Jane picked out, some Hershey Kisses and Dum Dum suckers (also Jane's choice). I like the idea of non-candy treats too. I gave each kid a brown bag to put their loot in. We also gave away "mermaid swag" at the party, so the candy was just a bonus treat.

Jane seemed to like the pinata, and I think she appreciated the work I put into it. A 7 is an easy shape to make. I don't think I could make anything with curves. According to tutorials you need to get corrugated cardboard that will bend, and probably tracking that down would cost as much as a finished pinata! What I'm saying is I won't be making a 3 or an 8 for next year's parties!

The pinata as hanging decoration

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