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Piñatas add great excitement to
any party. But instead of settling
for a store-bought design (often
made of child-proof cardboard), consider
making your own custom piñata. Piñata-making is part art and part engineering,
so it’s fun for the whole brain. Best of
all, the decorating process hides all
This example shows the construction of a spider piñata, but the same
techniques can be used to create any
sort of piñata you choose. The materials
are inexpensive, and the process is
challenging, fun, and easy. So take
a whack at making your own piñata,
and it won’t be long before everyone
else is taking a whack at it, too!
Brian Anderson has been making custom piñatas in Austin,
Texas, since 1995. He is also the author of the book series The
Adventures of Commander Zack Proton (Simon & Schuster).
1. SHAPE THE SPIDER’S BODY
The spider’s abdomen is made from a 12"
party balloon. The front section of its body (the
prosoma) is flat and nearly round on the sides.
This shape is made by bending 2 long balloons
into spirals and taping them together (Figure A).
2. WRAP THE BODY SECTIONS
Wrap the balloons in a layer of newspaper,
and tape it all down using masking tape. Cut off any
excess newspaper to help smooth out the shapes.
3. MAKE THE PAPIER-MÂCHÉ PASTE
Using the mixing bowl and whisk, mix up
equal amounts of flour and water (for example,
1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water) to form a paste.
4. PAPIER-MÂCHÉ THE BODY SECTIONS
Tear newspaper into 1"-wide strips, and dip
them one at a time into the paste. Squeegee off
excess paste by running the strips between 2 fingers,
then lay the strips onto the newspaper-wrapped
balloons. Once a balloon is covered in a layer of
strips, let it dry, then apply 2 or 3 more layers of
papier-mâché, allowing each one to dry in between.
5. ATTACH THE BODY SECTIONS
Attach the 2 body sections of the spider
with masking tape (Figure B), then lay a couple of
layers of papier-mâché strips across the joint to