We couldn’t have been more excited that my son picked a Star Wars theme for his 5th birthday party! It was a huge hit and the adults had just as much, if not more, fun as the kids! I found a lot of great ideas online. I feel bad for parents before me who had to be creative all on their own! One idea was a Death Star pinata. Now, for those who want an easy way out, most sites suggested purchasing a soccer ball pinata and painting it. I was all about doing that … until I couldn’t find a soccer ball pinata. I looked everywhere. Target, WalMart, Party City and Toys R Us all had pinatas. They all had the SAME pinatas. Seriously, what’s the point of having different stores to shop in, if they are all going to carry the same merchandise?!? Eventually, I realized that Target does carry one but it is only available online. Being more cheap than I am lazy, I knew I wasn’t going to pay extra for shipping etc. And I was already up in arms about the lack of variety available in stores, which is a recipe for me getting the motivation to do my own thing.
After researching a bit and discovering just how easy and cheap and accessible everything I would need was, I realized there was no reason for me not to make my own (especially if I was going to have to doctor it up anyway)!
So, here’s how I made my Death Star pinata.
1. I purchased 3 punch balls/$1 at The Dollar Tree. These work the best because they are perfectly round and are larger than the average balloon.
2. Blow up balloon to desired size. Set it in a plastic bowl to keep it from rolling away as you work.
3. Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of flour. It is NOT the other way around, as advertised on eHow and a few other popular sites, which you will quickly discover when you have dough instead of a liquid-y mixture. No trouble, though. Just add water and mix with a whisk if it’s too think.
4. Tear newspaper into 2-3 inch wide strips. I tore the paper from top to bottom then ripped them in half so they’d be easier to work with. You might have to hunt to find newspaper. I had one neighbor of about a dozen that I asked, who actually get the paper anymore! So, you might need to plan ahead on that one if you don’t get the paper yourself.
5. Dip a paper strip in the flour mixture and lay it on the balloon, smooth it with your fingers. Warning: This is where it gets messy! The good news is that even if you get it on your clothes or on your kitchen counter or floor, it washes right out with water.
6. Layer the newspaper strips to cover your balloon. You’ll have to leave space at the top and bottom for the balloon nipples (is that what they are called?) It’s hard to discern the layers, so it might be a good idea to alternate the b/w newspaper and colorful flyer papers. Some sites say to let layers dry in between. I did about 2-3 layers, then let it dry over night.
7. After drying the initial layers, pop the balloon.
8. For the Death Star, the indentation is a must! I used a knife to cut out a circle. Then I inverted it and put it back in place, taped it and covered it with newspaper.
9. Then, wrap a twine or fishing line (even better) around the balloon (with extra at the top to hang it or attach it to something). Tape it down to hold it in place, then layer newspaper over it to cover.
10. Cover the hole at the bottom securely. I put a piece of tagboard there to cover it, then layered a lot of newspaper, to withstand the weight of the candy. I also trimmed the hole at the top to make it a little bigger, about 2 x 2 inches. I formed a handle with the newspaper at the top as well but it didn’t hold so I wouldn’t bother with that again probably.
11. Allow the pinata to dry completely, at least another 24 hours. I know it seems delicate but we had a dozen kids hitting it and it took a tenacious 4th grader to finally break it open (with my husband’s help).
12. Decorate! I painted the entire thing gray by mixing black and white craft paint. I also happened to have a pearl finish Ceramcoat paint that I added to the mixture for a slightly metallic-looking finish. I used a sponge brush, which worked well on the rough surface. This is a great opportunity for kids to help! For the black accents, I used a wide black permanent marker. Painting straight lines that look nice on a smooth canvas is impossible enough!
PS I bought a narrow, red plastic bat … somewhere … for 75 cents. I put duct tape and black electrical tape on the handle to mimic a light saber. I was tempted to use a light saber but glad I didn’t. I think the toy would have broken before the pinata! We had to go into round two, as seen in the video.
Video taken by a friend at the party:
Charlie’s Death Star Pinata, Round II