Making an ecofriendly piñata from waste materials is so cheap and easy to do! This tutorial will show how to make a piñata from recycled and reclaimed materials that may otherwise have gone in the bin. This one was Shopkins inspired, but the process will work for any theme.
I was inspired to give this a go as my daughter desperately wanted a Shopkins party and I really didn't want to turn being ecofriendly into to being ECOBORING for her. She is a little mini eco warrior but, like any kid, wants to enjoy being a kid and with that comes a certain level of consumerism I guess. Shopkins, if you haven't heard of them yet, are tiny little plastic figurines and their motto is 'Once you shop, you cant stop'....*cringe*. This is the opposite of our beliefs, and what we have taught her, but I understand the obsession and I do admit, despite being annoying they are pretty cute toys.
All that aside, no matter what theme she chose, there needed to be a piñata. There is just something about bashing the crap out of a box to get lollies that kids get a load of fun out of.
So, I was determined to make this party minimal waste, avoid buying branded party ware of any kind (especially Shopkins!) but still make it a fun day on our currently limited budget. I am somewhat challenged when it comes to making 'pretty' things, possibly because my idea of acceptable is maybe at a lower standard than other people's, combined with the fact that although I would love to be perfect, I try to go with the motto of 'near enough is good enough'. This pinata is not an actual Shopkins character, but you could probably do one of the square or rectangle characters fairly easily.
The technique I used could be applied to any number of themes or shapes depending on the party you are planning, and these instructions will equip you with the basic knowledge to get started and apply your own ideas and creativity. No doubt, a better craftsperson could make a better piñata than I did, but for anyone without a clue, who thinks they can't do this....well, you got this! So enough about my boring story and onto the making......
What you need
Empty Cereal Box (or something similar)
Crepe paper/streamers or paper of your choosing
2 small spare rectangles of cardboard
Get an ordinary cereal box (or something similar).
You want to cut two sides, and open the top and bottom so that once cut it looks like the picture below
Reassemble the box, but inside out (see pictures below). This is important, as you don't want the writing and pictures on the box to show through the decorative paper later. If you wanted to avoid sticky tape all together, you could sew the sides together with string.
I didn't use a lot of tape on mine as this was a party for 6 year olds and I did want it to eventually break!
Cover the base of your box with the paper or colour you have chosen with some glue. I just used some very old clumpy clag glue with a damaged brush as it was the only glue I could find in the house and this did a good enough job. If you wanted to make your own glue, you could probably do that too but don't waste your money on craft glue as it just isn't necessary. (I started out using way too much glue, so use less than in the picture below)
It looks really bad in the photo, but the glue is still wet at this stage, and you really wont be seeing much of the bottom. Once dried, it looked great.
If you don't have crepe paper, use what you have on hand. For example, used wrapping paper, junk mail, old magasines, kids art work that endlessly comes home from school each week.
Get your crepe paper or streamers, or whatever paper/material you plan to use.
I was given damaged crepe paper a while ago, and I bought a pack of paper streamers from the op shop for 50cents and only needed a very small quantity.
Cut strips of paper, around 2 inches wide, and then roll together so you can then make a bunch of small cuts at a time - this makes this fringe.
These are the type of paper streamers I used as I wanted to have multiple colours.
Get to glueing! Now you unroll the fringed strips, cut to roughly suit the length around the box and apply glue directly to the box. Attach the fringe and you have now completed the hardest stuff and your first row.
As you can see, I did a rough job of it and didn't really have perfectly straight lines, this didn't matter at all, to my relief. At the time, I just needed to get it done in time for the party, while wrangling kids, pets and general life chaos. One tip though, wrap the paper around an upright box, rather than lying the box on the table. If you do lay it down, you might find you need to plump out the fringe as it can all start to stick together.
Just keep glueing.....Once I had completed the green section, around 3/4 of the box, I took a break. This gave it time to dry, as the next stage I began using more delicate and smaller streamer paper and I didn't want to stick all the fringes together.
(It looks as though I may have been having some wine, but I really wasn't
As you can see, only the bottom half of the strip shows, so if you are using junk mail or old magasines to create the piñata, make sure the desired colour forms the fringe.
Next, I added coloured layers using the same methods above
Add any final decorations once the fringe is complete. I printed, cut out and blue tacked a Shopkins face (in hindsight, I should have glued it, but the glue had mysteriously gone missing)
Also, as this was a pretty flimsy box, I used 2 rectangles of cardboard from our recycle bin and glued this to the internal front and back so that the string wouldn't rip through the box as soon as it was hit. I then used a kitchen skewer to poke two holes in the front, and another two in the back to thread the string through.
I was so happy it actually looked like a piñata that I forgot to finish off by covering the top in more paper, so if you wanted a more professional finish then maybe do this.
Now just add the lollies or loot, and hang it up
We also managed to do zero waste lollies by laying down a clean tablecloth (so they don't fall on the ground when they fall out) and choosing unpackaged sweets from a bulkfood shop nearby. These are just reusable Ziploc bags below and meant we also didn't have all those individually plastic wrapped items too. I had planned to use chocolate too, but then thought the risk of one of these getting lost and eaten by the new puppy wasn't worth it.
This got the tick of approval from the kids and they got about 30 turns out of it, each kid hitting it 3-4 times using a plastic baseball bat. Due to the blue tack, one of the eyes fell off midway, and the kids got even more excited trying to knock off the other eye.....someone even yelled out 'wipe that silly grin off its face' (ok, that was me...but don't Shopkins deserve it for their highly effective marketing ploys?!)
A few lollies flew out along the way too, and when it started getting a bit too ragged, I suggested the kids tear it apart, which they did with surprising ferocity!
Overall, this cost 50 cents, gave our recycling a second life, used up damaged materials and clumpy glue, and met all the required criteria for the party. Also, the entire piñata was recyclable.
Total Success and it was pretty easy, so I would definitely do this again!
If you're looking for some ecofriendly or zero waste fun for your party, you might want to try making some ecofriendly slime, no-cook playdough or earth friendly glitter.
Do you have any extra pointers for me?
If you try it, I would to hear how it went and how you tailored it to your party theme!