As far as party games go, there’s nothing more fun than gathering your guests and smashing a piñata, then watching as everyone dives to the ground to compete for the biggest haul of goodies. And sure, you could buy a piñata at the party store, but why would you do that when you could have even more fun making one?
Here’s a step-by-step guide for a DIY piñata. Ours is avocado-shaped . . . of course!
1. Organize your supplies.
You’ll need balloons, tissue paper, flour, and newspapers, as well as scissors and craft glue. If you want to make an avocado-shaped piñata, be sure to purchase a pack of 9″- to 12″-inch latex balloons (buy a package that has a few in case one pops) and green tissue paper.
2. Tear newspaper into strips.
You’ll need about a week’s worth of newspapers to cover your balloon. Tear the newspaper into strips that are about an inch across. Make sure you have these ready BEFORE you make your flour and water mix.
3. Gather the whole family and prepare to get dirty!
Crafting a homemade piñata really is fun for the whole family . . . if you do it right! Make sure everyone is dressed in clothes that can get dirty; you’ll inevitably have your flour paste drip and cake on your clothes (don’t worry; it will wash off).
If you have the option to do so, move all your supplies and your helpers outside. If you need to stay indoors, no worries! Just line a patch of your kitchen floor with some paper bags or extra newspaper so clean up will be faster once the papier-mâché work is done.
4. Make a paste for papier-mâché.
The amount of paste you’ll need to make will depend upon the size of your balloon, but the recipe couldn’t be easier: the ratio will always be one cup of flour to two cups of water. Mix with a whisk or spoon until the paste is smooth, without lumps, and the consistency of pancake batter.
Let the kids mix; there’s no way they can mess it up and they LOVE having a hand in the process.
When your paste is done, it will look like this:
6. Blow up your balloon.
Take a deep breath and get ready to inflate your balloon. If its shape doesn’t quite evoke an avocado, use masking tape to train the balloon into a better approximation.
7. Hang the balloon and prepare to get messy!
If you’re working outside, find a pole or tree branch from which you can hang your balloon; this will make covering the balloon with papier-mâché much easier. If you want to keep the balloon at eye- and hand-level for smaller kids to help out, place it atop a flower pot.
8. Papier-mâché the balloon.
Dip the newspaper strips into the paste and place them in a single layer on the balloon, with the strips running vertically from top to bottom. Then, you’ll want to cover the balloon with a second layer of newspaper strips. This time, the newsprint should encircle the balloon like a belt, with strips wrapped horizontally around the balloon.
9. Leave the balloon to dry.
You’ll want to leave the balloon to dry for two or three days; it shouldn’t feel damp to the touch at all.
10. Get ready to decorate!
Once the balloon is completely dry, it’s time to decorate! Use the tissue paper to create an avocado look. It’s as easy as wrapping the balloon in a couple layers of green tissue paper.
Want to go the extra mile? Make an Avocados from Mexico label to paste on your avo-piñata! This is another great part of the piñata-making process when kids can get involved.
11. Fill the piñata.
When your piñata looks party-ready, clip the knot of the balloon so that you create a hole into which you can pour candy and any other fillings (money and small party favors are good options). You may need to use scissors to make the hole slightly bigger.
12. Get this party started!
Now the only step left is to enjoy the fruit of your labors! Make sure the papier-mâché paste has been washed out of your hair, hang the piñata in a place where your guests will be able to hit it, find a stick that’s just right, and have at it!
Don’t forget to share your party and piñata photos with us! Use @AvocadosfromMexico or #AvocadosFromMexico.
And don’t forget the guacamole! Chef Pati Jinich teaches you how to choose avocados for the perfect party guac.