June 16, 2011

Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon Piñata {or decoration}

Ava wants a piñata for her upcoming, princess-themed, 4th birthday party, so we made a piñata together instead of purchasing one. I was already aware of the idea of making a paper mache piñata from a balloon, but I was struggling with how a balloon shape could be attractive for her "princessy" party. Then I realized that I should go with the shape and not fight it. So, folks, I introduce to you our pretty princess hot air balloon (because every princess should have a hot air balloon, right?)!

Now, this is technically a piñata, but honestly, I don't think I can bear to see it bashed to pieces. Maybe I can talk Ava into letting us suspend it from a corner in her room?... :)

Personally, I think this would make a great homeschool craft or summer craft for older children. It would be fun to let them each create and decorate their own. Suspend them from your ceiling for a couple of weeks (or until you get tired of looking at them). Then pour in the candy and use them as piñatas for some evening family entertainment, for a holiday celebration, or as an activity when company drops in.

Below are photos of all the steps we took to create our hot air balloon piñata. The process was not difficult at all, but it was time consuming. If you follow the steps below, be prepared to do this project in stages. The project stretched over 2 days for us.

click on the image to enlarge it
Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon {piñata or decoration}

- one regular balloon
- ribbon or string
- newspaper cut or torn into strips/squares/pieces
- paper mache paste (flour mixed with water)
- paintbrush for applying paper mache paste
- paintbrush for applying outer decorative layer of paint
- paint (we used acrylic)
- embellishments (optional)
- glue for attaching embellishments)
- scissors or utility knife for cuttingpiñata opening
- hole punch (optional) for attaching the basket
- safety pin or straight pin
- cardboard or other material for creating a basket/box

  1. Blow up a regular balloon. That was an easy step!
  2. Cut 2 long ribbons or string and tie the center of each to the base (tied-off part) of the balloon. This will create the four ribbons which will later be attached to the basket.
  3. Begin attaching the pieces of newspaper to the balloon, by brushing on the paper mache paste. You can also dip the piece into the paste, if you like a messier approach.
    o The bottom: First, take some time around the ribbons at the base of the balloon and paste strips between and around the ribbons, so they will be well supported.
    o The top: After you have worked there and understand what I'm talking about, cut 2 more long piece of ribbon/string and place them on the opposite (big) end of the balloon by crossing them like an "X" and using the paper mache paste to attach them to the balloon. Once again, spend some time and support the area with layers of newspaper strips and pieces. This area needs to be the strongest, because it will be supporting the weight of the balloon (and the candy).
    o Everywhere else: Continue covering the balloon with overlapping pieces of newspaper until you can no longer see the balloon anywhere. You will want to create a few layers, so the wall of the piñata will be strong. This step took some time because we worked for a while, let dry, worked for a while, let dry...
  4. Allow the piñata to dry/harden. (We just set it aside and let it dry overnight.)
  5. Decorate it! We only painted half of the balloon at a time, because it was too difficult to hold otherwise. To help it dry and not mess up the finish, hang it on a hanger from a doorway. This step will probably take 2 or 3 layers of paint to fully cover the newspaper.
    o To create our design, begin by painting the entire balloon one color (the lighter of the shades you have chosen). Next, use a pencil to lightly draw all of the vertical lines and then the arched horizontal lines. Now paint in every other "block" with your other paint color.
  6. Create the opening for pouring the candy inside by first sticking the balloon with a pin. You'll hear it pop inside the balloon. Now you are ready to cut a three-sided "door" near the top of the piñata.
  7. Embellish the piñata, if you wish. Ava glued pearl-like beads at the line intersections to give ours a more "princessy" look.
  8. Create the basket by reconstructing the corner of an empty food box or by finding something else from around your house. We put packaging tape around ours as a simple way to make it brown (we were tired of painting). Next, hole punch (or use scissors) to create holes near the top of the four edges. Thread the ribbons through, tie them off, and cut off any access.
  9. Fill it with candy, hang it, and bash it to pieces! Or decorate with it!



  1. WOW! This is way too cool. I'm so impressed... can't wait to see this in person! I don't think I could hit it either!

  2. Love this project so much!! I have it up on my blog! Thanks!!!! :)


  3. Thank you for sharing it on your blog, Jenny! I appreciate it! I love checking out your site and seeing all the different crafts and ideas!


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