…are met with cupcakes raining down (protected in plastic containers)!
What About the Smashed Frosting?
I suggest leaving the frosting off of the cupcakes in the piñata. Set up a frosting station as part of your party and let kids (or adults) frost their own cupcakes after the cupcake piñata is broken. If you prefer to frost ahead of time, opt for a hard frosting or a glaze rather than a swirl – that way the frosting is less likely to get damaged.
Can’t I Just Buy a Cupcake Piñata?
You can certainly buy a cupcake piñata (check out this one on Amazon – so cute!). However, doing this craft with my son was what made the whole thing special. As if playing together weren’t reward enough, Tinker Lab, one of my favorite parenting blogs, recently shared a post about how sensory activities – like playing with paper – play a central role in infant and child brain activity.
Is a Homemade Cupcake Piñata Expensive?
The homemade cupcake piñata is made of paper mache – a craft where paper is shredded, dipped in glue (in my case flour and water), and molded to create a shape. The molds are removed and you are left with a hard form made only of layers of paper.
I bought almost all of the tools for making the homemade cupcake piñata at a dollar store: a bucket, two bowls, tissue paper, and pom poms. I happened to have a large roll of brown craft paper that I used for the wrapper – but you could make the wrapper using paper bags. I don’t subscribe to a newspaper, so I picked up a bunch of free periodicals at the grocery store (thank you, Sauce Magazine).
How To Make a Homemade Cupcake Piñata
Time: Start this project four days before you’ll need your piñata. Don’t worry, there is just a little bit of work to do each day.
- A bucket (for the wrapper)
- A bowl with a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the top of the bucket (for the frosting)
- A smaller bowl (this will be for the cherry)
- Plastic wrap
- Twine (to hang the piñata)
- A small piece of cardboard or card stock (to secure the string)
- 24 unfrosted (or glazed) mini cupcakes in small plastic containers
- Duct tape
- Elmer’s glue
- Tissue paper (whatever colors you want)
- Pompoms (for the sprinkles)
- Brown craft paper or paper bags (for the wrapper)
Paper Mache Instructions:
- In a bowl or any container you like (I used a bread tin), mix one part flour and two parts water. This creates the paste that makes the newspaper stick and harden. It doesn’t matter how much you make, you can always make more as you go along.
- Cover the outside of the bucket and two bowls with plastic wrap. Be thorough. The plastic wrap makes it easier to remove the paper mache from the buckets and bowls once it has dried. I missed a spot on the bucket and had to cut the bucket up in order to remove it.
- Rip newspaper into strips (the size doesn’t really matter).
- Dip a strip into the “glue”.
- Run your fingers along the wet paper to remove any excess liquid.
- Press the paper onto the plastic wrapped bucket.
- Continue dipping paper and pressing it onto the bucket until the entire bucket is covered. Slightly overlap the strips to make the form stronger.
- Repeat with both bowls and set out to dry overnight.
- Your piñata will need three layers of paper mache in order to be thick enough for lots of batting before it breaks. So, once layer one is dry, repeat the process again for layer two and then again for layer three.
|I highly recommend working outside. Paper mache can get messy.|
|Remember, kids, the paper mache goes on the outside|
of the bucket, not in the bucket.
|Even if you don’t want to make a piñata, you can still try your hand at paper mache.|
I love the way the bowl came out. Making and painting a bowl would be a great project.
- Once the paper mache is dry, carefully remove it from the bucket and bowls.
- To add the twine, use the tip of a scissor to poke a small hole in the middle of each bowl.
- Place a small piece of cardboard or card stock in the larger bowl and cut a small hole in its center.
- Run the twine through the small bowl, through the large bowl, and through the cardboard. Wrap the twine around the cardboard and tie it in a tight knot. The cardboard helps to ensure that the knot will stay in place.
- Fill the paper mache bucket with cupcakes in plastic containers.
- Duct tape the paper bowl to the paper mache bucket. This is the weakest point of the piñata. As you saw in the photo at the beginning of this post, it is where my piñata broke when it was whacked. I recommend using a LOT of duct tape. Alternately, you could take the time to paper mache the two parts together.
- Duct tape the small paper mache bowl to the large paper mache bowl.
You’ll notice in my decorating photos below that my parts were not yet duct taped together. This was a big mistake and made things much harder for me. Use the photos for decorating guidance, but definitely be sure to duct tape first.
- Cut a circle of brown paper and glue it to the bottom of the bucket.
- Accordion fold two sheets of brown paper – each should be able to wrap halfway around the bucket with a little extra paper so the ends can overlap without pulling the pieces taut.
- Duct tape the ends of one the sheets onto your cupcake. Overlap the second sheet onto the first and glue it in place.
- Crumple tissue paper and glue it onto the bowls to create the frosting and cherry.
- Glue on pom pom sprinkles.
Hanging and Breaking the Piñata:
Tie the piñata to a branch and you are ready to go!
If you’ve got big kids, you’ll probably want to blindfold them before letting them smack the cupcake. I allowed my little one to try his best with full vision. He had a blast, but he ended up needing a little bit of help.
|I love the cupcake mid-air in this photo!|
If you make a cupcake piñata, I’d love to see pictures and hear stories! Enjoy!