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How to make a pinata

Pinatas are paradise for kids because they get to do one of their favorite things: hit stuff with other stuff. And on top of that, they get rewarded with candy at the end -- what could be better? Of course, if you want to have the fun of a pinata at your child's party but don't have the outdoor or indoor space required for safe hanging and stick flailing, pull pinatas are a good alternative.

You can buy all sorts of fun and colorful pinatas at party supply stores, and if your child has his heart set on Spongebob or her heart set on Dora, you are much better off purchasing a commercial pinata than trying to replicate an animated character with a homemade pinata.

But if you think your child would be more than happy with a brightly colored round pinata, it's not that hard to learn how to make a pinata. Instead of one big shared pinata, you can even make enough small pinatas so that each party guest gets to thwack their very own.

DIY Paper Mache Candy Pinatas

The first step in making a pinata from paper mache is to blow up a few party balloons -- it takes only one balloon to make a pinata, but even if you are making one large pinata instead of several personal-sized ones, it's good to have extra balloons on hand in case it bursts and your hands are already a sticky paper-mache mess. Blow up the balloon so that it is full, but be careful not to over-inflate it.

Next, mix the paper mache paste. There are many different kinds of paper mache paste, but the simplest is just to mix two parts water with one part regular white glue.

One at a time, submerge strips of newspaper, cut or torn to about 1 inch in width, into the paste and lay them across the surface of the balloon, both horizontally and vertically. Leave a space around the balloon knot that is large enough for you to slip the candy through later. Hang to dry overnight.

Repeat this process at least three or four times to ensure your pinata will have some stamina. During the application of the second layer, wrap a string around the bottom of the pinata with the ends coming out at the top so that you will be able to hang the pinata. Secure the string by laying the paper mache strips right on top of it.

Once the completed pinata has been left to dry -- for 48 hours just to be safe -- you can paint it, pop the balloon with a pin and add the candy.

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