Monday, December 20, 2010

Lions and tigers and bears oh my!! Bear pinata the easy way

Making pinatas is easier than it seems - it just takes a little time. It all starts with the materials - I collect cereal boxes, toilet paper and kitchen rolls and egg cartons for my pinatas and crafts.

You need to flatten all cardboard boxes and cut them in strips of about 2 inches wide and as long as you can. make as many strips as you can so you have all you need before you start with the main structure.

You will also need a stapler, Elmer's or white glue, newspapers, crepe paper (folds are easier than streamers but are more difficult to find), flour (yes regular white cooking flour) and a lot of time!!!!

A lot of the pinatas start by making a structure.. To make the initial structure, you simply take the strips of paper and start stapling them together to the shape you like.  For this one we are making a ball or a circular structure. This will work for all types of animal faces and bodies.

For a circular structure you start by taking one strip to create a circle of the diameter of the round ball you want to make. Measure the strip and make 8 strips of the same length. Make circle with all of them. Place two circle inside each other at at 90 degrees angle and staple then together. take another circle and place it inside the other 2 vertically also at a 90 degree angle and staple together. Keep adding circles until all 8 circles are together. Here are some pictures to give you the idea of how to staple them together. Make sure you leave holes in between the strips, if you put the strips too close together it will be very difficult to break the pinata!

Once you have your basic structure, it is time to make the details, like a nose and the ears.  I placed  a few strips in the lower part of the ball to resemble a nose and 2 small strips twisted as semi circles for the ears.

Once your structure is finished you need to make the "walls" of your pinata. For that you need to make some papier mache. Take lots of newspapers and cut little strips from it of about 1 inch wide and again as long as you can. In a bucket or big bowl, mix water, some white flour and white glue (optional) until you have a runny white liquid,  not too thick not too watery. I do not have exact measures (unfortunately I do a lot of things as we say in my country "al ojo" or just by looking at it) - Start with a ratio of  1cup of flower to 2 cups of water and go from there, adding more water to thin if needed.

Once you have the paper mache ready, put some of the newspaper strips on it so they get wet. Pick up one strip at a time and start placing them on top of the structure, covering the holes and shaping the pinata.You need to cover the whole structure, particularly the bottom so it is strong enough to hold on to the candy and toys, but not too hard so you can break it.  Do half of the pinata, let it dry f0r a day or so and then do the other half.

Once the papier mache is completely dry (leave 2 or 3 days after last side to be sure), you can start putting the colored crepe paper. I bought the rolls of crepe paper in Party City. They sell this massive roles of streamer crepe paper, the one that is sort of wrinkled that you can stretch with your hands.

You need to take it out of the roll, and with a pair of scissors you will cut little lines on the sides about 2/3 through - this is a very time consuming activity. I will sit and do a whole roll at a time and roll it again as it will be easier to cover the pinata if it is rolled up.

Take the paper and with white glue, start sticking the rolls gluing only the top of the strip of paper that does not have the cuttings. Start at the bottom of where a color is supposed to end and work upwards. You will need to glue the next layer of paper slightly on top of the one before so it looks nice. See below:

Once you are done, add details like nose and eyes with colored paper and you will be done! for the eyes and nose, you can use colored paper or you can paint them on. I like to use paper and cut the shapes and then glue then on the pinata.

I cut a heart shape nose foe this one as it is meant to be a girl. You can use your imagination and put as many details as you would like.

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