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Pirate Piñata

When my son turned 5, he requested a pirate theme for his birthday. Perhaps I’ll go into the other details of the party in a later post, but one of the components that I decided would be fun enough to keep ten 5-year-olds outside on a chilly November day was a piñata. The promise of candy and the chance to wack something triumphed over their chilly fingers and runny noses. Although I’m still finding gold coins in the backyard.

Submitted by: Jodi

Total Time Required: 3 or 4 days

Working Time Required: 2 – 3 hours

Project Costs: About $5 – $10 for materials + however much you want to spend for candies, “gold coins,” little toys, and anything else you want to put inside.

Materials and Tools Required: 

Most of the materials I already had lying around the house, but most can be bought at a dollar store or grocery store for a minimal amount of cash.

– 1 balloon (I already had this in my “birthday” box)

– newspaper

– blank paper

– all-purpose flour

– water

– salt

– a mixing bowl

– empty toilet paper rolls ( I have a LOT of these because of the aforementioned 5-year-old boy)

– a paint brush

– acrylic paints (I got mine for $1/small bottle at the local dollar store).

– markers

– tape

– hole punch

– fairly sturdy string

– a bandana

– construction paper


  • Mix together about 1 part water to 1 part flour (experiment with exact amounts to get a paste that is not too goopy, but not extremely runny). Mix it really well to get out all the lumps – I used egg beaters. Add salt to keep your papier mache from going mouldy.
  • Blow up a balloon.
  • Rip your newspaper into strips, as well as 3 or 4 sheets of blank paper.
  • This is the fun part! Dip the newspaper strips into the paste, running them through two fingers as you bring them out so they’re not overly soggy. Then begin to cover your balloon, doing about 4 layers, leaving space at the top for candy depositing. Leave overnight to dry.
  • The next day, tape the toilet paper rolls in appropriate areas for arms and legs then do 4 more layers of newspaper. Let dry.
  • Repeat until you’re happy with the thickness of your piñata. But don’t do it too thick or the kids will never be able to break it open!
  • Cover it in one or two layers of blank paper – just so the newsprint underneath doesn’t show through. Let dry overnight.Pinata
  • Paint your pirate accordingly, using markers for the more delicate features. Mine ended up being a scraggly, snarling Blackbeard, but pick your pirate with impunity.
  • IMAG0076
  • Cut out little hands and feet and tape to the ends of the toilet paper rolls.
  • Pop the balloon and punch out 4 holes with the hole punch, equally around the perimeter of the pirate’s head.
  • Tie a relatively strong string through the 4 holes and tie together at top, twisting them together to form a fairly thick cord to hang your piñata.
  • Toss in your treats and then cover the hole with a bandana, knotted on all 4 corners. You may want to tape or glue this to your piñata so it doesn’t fly off with the first hard hit.
  • Give the kids a baseball bat and let them go at it!
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