Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY Transformer Rescue Bots Pinata

I am going to share my pinata making experience because I had never done this before and searched all over for references.

OK birthday boy requests Transformer Rescue Bots party theme which is to include a pinata (Optimus Prime from Wal-Mart is apparently unacceptable). So I set out to make it. Shouldn't be so hard, right? Searched around the house for stuff to use and decided to use a Coca-Cola 12pack box. Why? Because we seem to always have 1 around. Cut it apart using the side structures and started to fold and tape a general logo.
Once the general shape was done I taped a piece of heavy art paper to one side to bear the weight of the paper mache strips. Now time to get messy! I tore strips of newspaper and tossed them into a small container and mixed up some glue. I couldn't recall the goo recipe so I googled and found a super easy one. It was one part flour to 2 parts water; easy enough. My kiddo wanted to help once the mixing started (he likes to stir things). Then it was a matter of wetting the strips, running them through my fingers to remove excess goo and covering the pinata.

I covered the side walls first and let them dry overnight. This made the sides strong and able to support the weight of covering across the pinata. So covered side 1 allowed to dry added the string at the top. Covered with paper and covered side 2. OK so things are moving, slowly but moving.

Now this is where I share what worked and what didn't. the cardboard box didn't hold up well after getting so wet so it had lots of ripples. It did not maintain the crisp sharp lines I had envisioned. So I improvised. I used masking tape and covered the entire pinata to even out the ripples without adding more weight. Plus there was so much tape it would have been almost impenetrable.

Then I added a few more layers of paper mache. The tape worked perfectly! It dried really good for like two days before I cut the opening in the bottom for the pull strings and attempted to decorate it. My husband and I talked back and forth about decorating it, should we paint it, should we use shredded paper, crepe paper or tissue paper. He voted to paint it but I argued it wouldn't look like a real pinata then. So I opted to use shredded paper. That didn't go over very well so I pulled it all off and went in search of crepe paper. I purchased 1 each of black and green and 2 bottles of school glue.

I did a rough outline of where I wanted the colors and started cutting and gluing. Layer by layer the pinata took shape. Before I covered the bottom I cut 15 very long strands of ribbon taped them all together and laid them across the inside of the flap. This is how the kids would get it open. Then taped the strings to the inside flap leaving strings hanging on both sides. Added one piece of tape across the flap to hold it closed (AFTER FILLING) and covered the bottom with crepe paper.

At the party there was a dad that was gracious enough to hold the pinata for us. Each child grabbed a string and waited while we all counted 1, 2, 3 and all pulled together. The bottom fell open and out spilled the goodies. There were plenty of happy kiddos.

I invested a total of $5 in our pinata and put about 1 week of time into it. the final decorating took about 5hrs but that was with my pre-schooler home and "assisting" when he could. I realistically probably could have gotten it done in a couple of hours. Now that it's been used I can't bring myself to toss it out - it's proudly hanging in the playroom to show off mommy's hard work.

The final product! Let me know if you have any questions. This is my first DIY post about anything.

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