balloons, cardboard and/or items to create pinata form
newspaper (we used almost an entire Wednesday paper)
black construction paper
To start out, we made the papier mache paste. I used this recipe found on About.com. It uses 1 part flour to 5 parts water, and cooks it (like gravy) for extra strength. (I also added a tablespoon of salt to prevent mold, just in case.) (We ended up using a double batch, i.e. 2 c. flour and 10 c. water! It sounds like a lot, but we used up every single drop.)
Thanks to Jadon's eager dumping, the flour clumped up, so our paste was pretty lumpy. And then it was boiling hot, so we had to stick it in the fridge to cool it down enough to use...which did not happen very quickly! (Should have made it the day before!)
In hindsight, I'm not sure that I would have bothered with the cooking. I'm not sure that we needed the extra strength (I added extra layers to be safe, and the pinata ended up never breaking, ha!). And the inconvenience of the hot paste wasn't worth it.
But while we were waiting for it to cool, we built our form. Usually you would use balloons so that you can pop them when the pinata is closed up and dry. But since our construction cone would be open anyway, I scavenged around the house for items that would help me shape it.
In case you're wondering, the top and bottom are two parts of Jadon's portable potty seat. Ha! They worked perfectly. Then I wrapped the form with newspaper, and whala! There is the cone shape.
Since the paste mixture took so long to cool, we then got ahead of cutting up strips of newspaper. I think that was Jadon's favorite part.
The paste was still hot, but Jadon and I were both getting impatient, so we forged ahead. Usually you would dip the strips into the paste and drip as much excess off as possible. Jadon didn't think that was nearly as fun, though, as globbing it on.
Let's just say, it's a good thing I added the optional salt, because our little cone was soaked by the end!
During nap time, I took the opportunity to add a few more (drier) layers, and then on a whim, made a big giant layer with complete newspaper pages to smooth it all out.
Then, I decided to get ahead and put on the base of the cone (a giant square of cardboard cut from a spare box).
Everything was looking good until I realized...oh shoot! I didn't use balloons...I have to take the form out before sealing it up with the base.
So, I peeled off the base again, and then decided to fortify the top with extra layers, since that's where the rope would be going through and it would be getting a lot of stress. (In hindsight, I should have added even more, because that's the only part that ended up ripping in the whole pinata.)
Then I added a few more vertical strips since it was still looking a little lopsided and saggy. (I'm pretty sure pinata making is more of a trial and error art form rather than an exact science!) Then I brought it outside into the sunshine to help it dry (which ended up taking almost 2 days!) (That's not usual...but considering how much paste Jadon used, I wasn't surprised!)
A couple days later, we were finally ready to take the form out, and add the base for real.
The next day, after that dried, was Jadon's other favorite part: painting it orange. (Actually, he painted it a lot of colors, and then I came back during naptime to cover it all up with more orange :))
After the paint was dry, we glued black construction paper onto the bottom. (Now that I think of it, it probably would have been just as easy, and just as nice, to just paint it black.)
And there it is, our semi-concave masterpiece: