Beanie turned four on Tuesday. By 8 a.m., straight after blowing the candles on her bowl of birthday porridge, she had already decided it was the best birthday ever! That set the tone for the day. It was a very happy day indeed. At playgroup, all the children sang “Happy Birthday” to her. Lunch in the park was followed by pre-school, where she was given a book and a card. After school, we went to the park again with friends (and sweets). Hubby came home earlier than usual and she opened our little presents with excitement. We had dinner in front of Despicable Me, much to her delight. More cake and she went to bed. What a brilliant day for my little girl!
Her birthday party with friends is on Saturday. The kids started talking about having a piñata last week and for some crazy reason, I said maybe we could try and make a papier-mâché one. I know, I know, I can hear you shout at your screen: “Stop there, Mel, don’t even get started; you will regret it!”
It was one of those times when I opened my mouth before I gave myself the chance to think. What on earth crossed my mind when I said that? I have no idea. My last experience of wet newspaper pieces and floury water was when I was about eight. I remember it well: my papier-mâché fruit bowl took ages to make and never dried. That was almost as unsuccessful as my attempts at pottery (a story for another day!).
I had never made a piñata. It is comforting to stick to what you know rather than take risks, but at the end of the day, we had nothing to lose. It could be an enjoyable activity, and if it looked awful, we would just bash it at home. I had a look online, but could not find a tutorial that looked straightforward enough and did not require spending money.
I do have other things to do and even though I wanted to please the children, there was no way I would spend hours and hours making a papier-mâché Minion that would get destroyed in less than ten minutes. It was also going to be a free piñata!
On Thursday, Crevette (6 years 1 month) and Beanie (4 years) blew a couple of balloons we had at home.
I used a short piece ribbon to keep them together.
I then taped together four pieces of card (lengthwise) to make a tube shape around the two balloons. Easy enough!
On Saturday afternoon, Beanie and I got the papier-mâché mixture (1 cup flour and 1 ½ cup water) ready. My little lady loved it! She is keen on messy play, squidgy stuff and generally getting dirty.
After ripping a couple of old newspapers into rough squares, we placed our Minion shape in a large bowl.
We then started dipping the pieces in our mixture and sticking them all over what would hopefully become a piñata. Crevette gave up after a couple of minutes, telling me he did not like getting dirty. The look I gave him made it very clear I was not myself a fan of sticky flour mixture all over myself, my clothes and my hair! A lot of muttering followed…
It was really wet as I put on at least two layers to save time, so we used a hairdryer to take some of the moisture off before leaving it to dry.
I turned the piñata around in the bowl on Sunday to start covering the other side. Another two layers were added (on my own) that morning (tut, tut, tut).
Once it was completely dry, I burst the balloons with a needle, cut an opening in the bottom so I could put my hand through it and add a piece of ribbon at the top (for hanging later).
We filled our shell with torn pieces of blue and yellow tissue paper as well as sweets, used masking tape to close the piñata and added a couple of layers of papier-mâché.
The kids used their dad’s paintbrushes to paint it yellow after school on Monday.
It did not look promising I have to say and you could still see the newspaper underneath. I added a couple of layers of yellow paint on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Once we had a base for our minion, I asked Beanie what kind of minion she wanted, and she requested a one-eyed minion. We went for Carl.
What you need next:
Printables for goggles (I made ours bigger) and ‘G’ can be found here.
Card in these colours: black, blue, yellow
2 black buttons
Black thread (I only had brown)
On Wednesday, after cutting round the eye, I cut a couple of strips of black card to make sure it went round the head. It is a good idea not to stick it yet (I made that mistake), but place it to know where the overalls should go.
I quickly traced the outline of overalls and painted them blue.
I then added the eye, traced the mouth, stuck the buttons, ‘G’ badge, hair, arms and legs – 4 x 4cm strips of the width of the yellow card: 4 cm strips – accordion, then black hands (3 fingers), black shoes. Attach your piñata to a broomstick and have fun!
My honest opinion: if you are really into experimenting, arts and crafts as well as messy play, by all means go for it! If not, buy a ready-made piñata!
Here is a visual summary: