How to Hang a Pinata
Formed into shapes with cardboard or paper mache and covered with colorful tissue paper, piñatas are literally a hit at children’s parties. Children love to swing a wood stick and break open the decoration filled with small toys, candy, gum and assorted party favors. Before you hang the piñata, choose a location that will not only keep it at the proper height for the kids, but that also provides enough room to swing the stick safely and allow the guests to run in simultaneously to retrieve the falling treats.
Fill the piñata with candy, toys and party favors through the opening located on the top or back of the figure. Punch or cut through the tissue paper with scissors to access the opening often marked with a sticker.
Push the end of a 10-foot piece of rope through the loop attached to the top of the piñata and tie a double knot to ensure the rope will hold the weight of the filled piñata.
Select a location such as a low-hanging tree branch, a basketball hoop or a beam in a patio overhang that can accommodate the rope. Ensure the spot is wide open, giving the kids space to swing the bat or wood stick without hitting anything but the piñata.
Throw the rope over the branch, hoop or beam so the piñata is hanging on one side and the loose end of the rope is hanging on the other. Pull the rope so the piñata is out of the children’s reach and tie the loose end to the tree or a pole to until it’s time to play the game.
Untie the end of the rope, lower the piñata to the desired height and have an adult hold the end of the rope when it’s time to play the piñata game. As the blindfolded child swings the bat or stick to hit the piñata, either keep the rope steady or pull it up and down to turn the piñata into a moving target.
- Candy, toys and party favors
- 10-foot rope
- Tree branch, basketball hoop or patio beam
- Bat or wood stick
Continue the safety precautions with the hanging piñata by having an adult supervise the activity, particularly if you’ve blindfolded the child swinging the stick. Before the game begins, instruct the guests to wait to rush in for the candy until the adult removes the blindfold and stick from the guest hitting the piñata.
When choosing the treats to fill the piñata, opt for items like hard candy, stickers, bead necklaces, plastic figurines, gum or pencils. If the piñata will be hanging in the park or backyard during the party, goodies like chocolates may melt as the piñata sits in direct sunlight.
If you couldn’t fill the party piñata with enough candy to accommodate all of your party guests, wait until a child breaks open the piñata. At that moment, toss handfuls of candy and treats onto the ground where the kids are scurrying to retrieve the goodies.
Best way to hang pinata indoors
What an amazing site you have! This is some of the best information I’ve come across. I’m wondering if you might have some insight on our dilemma.
My daughter is having an indoor party but the venue has absolutely nothing to hang a piñata from. Can you recommend a way to hang / dangle it? It’s a large open space. Right now I’m considering attaching it to an extension pole and holding the pole using a ladder for support. I’m just concerned about how tough it may be to hold steady. Plus I want the height to work well. The kids are only kindergarteners though. Any thoughts you may have would be greatly appreciated. I’m hoping to avoid a pinata “fail” like I’ve seen at some other parties. Thanks in advance!!
Answer from Piñata Boy
There’s not one best answer to this and sometimes there’s not even a good answer, but what you have in mind is what I would recommend.
Sometimes an indoor venue will have a spot such as an open stairwell that even if it’s a tight space, it can still work. Sometimes you can find a couple of high-up spots to anchor a long PVC pipe, and hang the piñata from that. Sometimes you can even put an eye bolt into a ceiling or cross beam. But when all you’ve got is an ordinary room with an 8-10 foot ceiling and there’s nothing else to work with, the best option is to hang the piñata on the end of a pole of some kind and have someone hold it. Hopefully more than one someone, because a piñata on the end of a pole gets pretty heavy pretty fast. Propping the pole up on a ladder is a good idea to help reduce the load, but then the ladder might be uncomfortably close to the kids and the piñata. Like I said, there’s not always a good answer.
The more adults you have available in a case like this the better, and the fact that your players are so young also helps. The kids will have fun even if the situation isn’t optimal, and that’s the important thing.
Adding the hanging hook — Piñata Boy
(click photos to see enlarged)
The hook is one of the most important parts of the whole piñata-making process. The hook has to support the weight of the filled piñata and it must also be able to withstand a direct hit from the stick. A lot of online piñata-making instructions tell you to punch two holes in the top of your piñata and run a piece of string through the holes, but I don’t recommend that. It might work for a lightweight piñata that isn’t hit very hard, but on a larger piñata the string will tear through the papier mâché and your piñata will crash to the ground.
The basic idea behind making an effective hanging hook is to spread out the hanging force over a wide area. I do this by attaching the hanging hook to a cardboard shield. I make my hanging hooks out of wire shirt hangers and corrugated cardboard.
Two important things to note:
1) Always twist your hanging hook into a closed loop. Never use an open hook (like an upside-down J), because piñatas get bounced around a lot and it’s easy for a J-hook to come off the rope.
2) When I’m installing a hanging hook on the inside of a large piñata, I don’t cut a hole where the hook will go because that weakens the papier mâché right where the hook will be supporting the weight of the piñata. Instead I cut a hole somewhere on the side, install the hook through there, and then close it up again.
Here are two examples of installing hanging hooks into piñatas:
The hanging hook goes in the center of the top of the heart, so I went ahead and installed the hook after wrapping the balloons in newspaper but before doing the first layer of papier mâché.
Get a wire shirt hanger and cut it off at the shoulders.
Get a piece of cardboard. Since the hook has to fit along the top of the heart, I used a long, thin piece of cardboard.
Bend the cardboard into the shape of the top of the heart, then stick the shirt hanger through the cardboard from underneath.
Using pliers, fold the tips of the hanger over the top of the cardboard. This bend holds the hanger and cardboard together. (Sometimes I duct tape them together as well.)
Tape the hook in place. I forgot to bend the hook into a closed loop earlier, so I did it here.
In this case the piñata has an irregular shape, so I didn’t know where to put the hanging hook until the papier mâché work was finished. I wanted the piñata to hang tilting slightly forward. To find the correct spot for the hanging point, I stuck a thin screwdriver into the piñata where I thought the hook should go and lifted it up. Through trial and error I found the spot where the hook should go in order for the piñata to hang the way I wanted it to. (Remember when you do this that the weight of the candy might change the center of gravity of the piñata.) Once I knew where the hook should go, I cut an opening in the side of the piñata and installed the hook from the inside.
Again I started with a shirt hanger cut off at the shoulders and a piece of cardboard. It really doesn’t matter what shape the cardboard is, as long as it fits inside the piñata where you need it to go.
I poked the hanger through the cardboard and used pliers to bend the extra length around to the top of the cardboard.
I cut an X in the piñata using a knife, then folded the flaps back to create an opening. On a lightweight piñata you can cut your opening where the hook will go, but this spider is too big for that.
I inserted the hook through the opening and poked it out through the tiny hanging hole that I had made earlier with the screwdriver. I usually use hot glue or duct tape to hold the cardboard in place against the inside of the piñata. I did that here, but I didn’t take a picture of it.
Lifting the piñata by the hanging hook ensures that it hangs the way I want it to.
I used pliers to curl the straight shirt hanger into a closed loop, then folded the flaps back down.
I put a couple pieces of masking tape over the cuts to keep them closed. This is now a weak point in the piñata. You can leave it that way and decorate right over the masking tape to create a major weak spot, or put down another layer or two of papier mâché to toughen it up a bit before decorating. Even if I want a weak spot there I usually put down one layer of papier mâché just to make sure it stays closed.
For another example of installing a hanging hook, click over to the Make a Stegosaurus page.
Don’t forget that in the end, all your hard work hangs by that hook. Don’t take it lightly. Always close off the loop, and make sure the papier mâché surrounding the hook is strong enough to bear the weight of the loaded piñata. If you’re making a thin-walled piñata for young children, make the top of the piñata thicker than the rest. The kids won’t be hitting it on the top and you don’t want the hook to tear through.
Working with papier mâché
How To Make A Pinata
After having searched around for days for the perfect party piñata both online and at every party store in Singapore, I finally decided to get a bit creative and make a DIY piñata for my son’s monster themed Birthday party.
Making a piñata is not hard, but since this was my first time, it was not easy, nor was it quick and simple. Making a piñata takes a lot of time and effort. But trust me it was worth it in the end! Here is a step-by-step on how to make your own piñata at home out of a large balloon and newspapers.
Things You Will Need:
- A Large Sized Balloon
- Newspaper Strips
- Paper-Mâché Glue
- Paint Brush
- Masking tape
- Cutting blade (optional)
Step 1: Make the Paper-Mâché Glue (click here for the recipe). Put the glue in the fridge to cool down.
Step 2: Blow up the balloon and tie the end. Note: The balloon I used was 170 cm/66 in when fully blown up. I purchased it from Toys R’ US.
Step 3: Using the paint brush apply a layer of paste on the balloon.
Step 4: Keep applying the glue on the newspaper strip by strip and attach it to the piñata.
Step 5: When the piñata is fully covered flip it over and do it again. Apply at least 4-6 layers.
Step 6: Let it dry overnight. If you are satisfied, then you can move on to Step 7. If you want your piñata to more sturdy, re-do steps 4-5. Note: I let my piñata dry for 2 nights and then did another 4-5 layers of paper mâché.
How To Make A Teapot Pinata
A teapot pinata, is one of the easier pinatas to make, and believe me with six children’s parties a year, to plan for, I know. The pinata above is for a strawberry tea party birthday we have coming up. Since I was making it anyway, I thought I’d share the steps with you, too.
1. Start by covering a balloon in glue coated strips of newspaper. The glue should be watered down — about 2 parts water, one part glue. Keep the newspaper strips fairly small, usually about 6 inches long, and 1 to 2 inches wide. I like to place the balloon on a plastic cup while I’m working on it, with newspaper underneath, to catch the glue drips. Once the balloon is covered, except for a small spot at the top, so you’ll be able to put candy in later, it will need to sit overnight to dry.
2. Place on a second coat of paper strips. If the pinata is for a large party, and will be holding a lot of candy, you might want to repeat this step two, or three times, adding extra strips around the top, where the strings for tying will be laced through.
Use a different color of paper each time, such as regular newspaper for the first coat, colored funny papers, for the second coat, and so on. That allows you to see easily, if you’ve missed covering any spots. Each layer will need another night to dry, so plan ahead, and start early.
I like my final coat of paper to be in white, because newspaper print sometimes shows through the decoration, otherwise.
3. Form the spout of the pinata, with a piece of with paper, rolled, and taped into a cone. Hold it up to the pinata, to get an idea of the length you’d like…
…and then trim it…
…and tape it on. I usually use masking tape, but just about any tape you have handy will do.
4. Tape on the teapot handle — again, just a rolled up piece of paper.
5. Remove the balloon. Pinch of a spot near the top, so you can open a hole in the balloon, to let the air out gently.
Then, hold onto it, as it deflates, pulling away from the sides of the pinata, and remove it.
6. Cover the pinata with a base color. I like to paint on a layer of watered down glue, with an old paintbrush, and then press on small squares of crepe paper, but I have used tissue paper, or even pretty napkins — I have never tried painting a pinata, but I know some people do. I usually cover half the pinata, let it dry, and then cover the other side.
7. Once the color coat is dry, fill the pinata with candy.
8. Punch, or poke two small holes on either side of the of the top hole, about an inch down, and lace a piece of sturdy ribbon, yarn, string, or twine through. You want it long enough for hanging the pinata, down to where the children can reach it with a stick. In this case, it’s better to error in favor of length. You can always trim the string later if it’s too long, but adding to the length would be very difficult.
9. Cover the hole, by gluing on a few more pieces of crepe paper.
10. Add the final decorations. In this case, to make it a strawberry teapot, I glued on construction paper «seeds», rolled up a length of crepe paper, to wrap around, and glue on the «lid», and glued on some tissue paper leaves, with a ball of tissue paper in the middle for the stem/handle.
And, the pinata is ready to hang. One thing to keep in mind while decorating a pinata, is not to worry about making it too beautiful, or perfect. It’s really only meant as a candy container, and no matter how much the birthday child loves it, they’ll happily bash it to pieces, in a matter of seconds.
It’s great to be a homeschooler.
How to Make a Pinata : 5 Steps (with Pictures)
First of all we need to make some «glue» that will use for making our pinata
To make one kg of glue you need 3/4 cup of starch, 1/2 cup of sugar and about 800 mL of water
What you are going to do is to boil half of the water (be careful with your little assistant if you have, do not let he/she unattended or near the hot water we don’t want to turn a nice activity in a tragedy)
Dissolve the corn starch and the sugar in the remaining cold water (is very easy to dissolve it in cold water and your assistant can help here, and please do not try to do it in hot water because the starch become very viscous in contact with hot water and will be impossible to dissolve it)
Add your starch/sugar solution to the hot water, keep warming and stir gentle with a spoon.
After a few minutes of stirring you will notice that the solution turns viscous. When it has a consistency like the one in the photo is ready.
Let it cool. If you done it well, it should look like the photo when is cool (cooling process will take some hours, so be patience and do not try to use it hot, it simply doesn’t work)
I recomend you not make too many because it spoils quickly (starch, water and sugar not are only a good glue, also they are a good media for mold and other microorganisms to grow), if you need more, then make more.
As the project could take two or three days to be ready you can keep your glue in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. If you want, you can add sodium benzoate as preservative (1g/kg) and keep it at room temperature
This is important: If you keep your glue on refrigeration and, when you try to use it, you find it looking like a gelatin with a lot of water sorrounding it, don`t worry, just let it harm at room temperature, then break the gel and mix it again (squezze it with your hands its the best way to do it). In despite of the change of texture it still works and you can use it.
Last but not the least: This glue is also enviroment friendly: is natural, non toxic and, is totally biodegradable.