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Let’s Celebrate Part 4: Personalized Piñata

Hey Everyone, I’m Megan, a regular guest blogger on Modern Day Moms. Every saturday for the next few weeks, I’ll give you the how-to for some of the party decorations that I’ve made over the years. Banners, invites, pi atas, garland and the whole how-to for throwing a polka dot themed double birthday celebration! Click here to see all birthday party posts.

Yup, I’m crazy. I made a pi ata for my kids’ birthday. But remember I was throwing a humongous Double Birthday Celebration for both kids so I was going all out! And I really wanted something that was for both of them. So sticking to my polka dot theme I made a circular shaped pi ata out of cardboard, decorated one side for my daughter, one side for my son and it only took me 3 hours and cost me $1 (minus the cost of the candy…)

Here’s the how-to:

Materials needed:

-cardboard box

-duct tape (or heavy duty masking tape will do)

-35″ piece of twine or heavy duty string

-Scissors, rotary blade or exacto knife

-tissue paper(got mine at the dollar store)

-decorations for each side (I used the polka dots I had made from a circle punch and strawberry shortcake stickers)




-circle stencil (I used a plate)

To start, find yourself something that is the same size as the circle you want your pi ata to be or use a circle stencil if you have one. I traced a platter that I had that has a diameter of 14″. Using a pen, trace 2 circles onto the cardboard box and cut out using scissors or an exacto knife.

Now it’s time to remember all that high school math. You need to figure out how long of a strip you need to cut so you can make it into a cylinder.

Circumference= d (d is the diameter of the circle)

Measure across the middle of the circle to find your diameter and multiply that by (3.14 remember?) and that number is the circumference. I added about 5 inches to that cause I’d rather be safe than sorry!

On your piece of cardboard, mark off a rectangle that is the circumference of your circle by the depth you want your pi ata to be. Mine was 49″ by 5″. Cut out the rectangle.

Now to assemble the pi ata. Lay one circle out on a table. Using an 8″ piece of duct tape, start laying it under the circle so it’s half on the circle and half off, creasing and folding the tape as you go so it lays flat. Take your rectangle now and start working it onto the duct tape. Keep adding pieces of duct tape until the entire rectangle is attached to one circle. Now place a small piece of duct tape half on the rectangle and half off and begin attaching the other circle as the top. Keep adding tape until you get almost all around the circle-you need to leave an opening for candy! At this point, you should have a cardboard cylinder with a small opening to insert candy.

Using a screwdriver, make a hole in the rectangular cardboard part of the pi ata. This will be for hanging. Take your piece of twine or string and fold it in half, and make two knots at the unfolded end. From inside the pi ata, lace the folded end through the hole. Pull folded end through until the knot stops at the other side of the hole. Use small pieces of duct tape to reinforce the hole on the outside.

Fill the pi ata with candy and then use your duct tape to seal it up. (Remember that the more tape you use, the harder it will be to break it open and the less tape you use, the easier it will break open)

Here’s the fun part — decorating it. I wanted to put a giant 1 on one side for my son and a giant 4 on my daughter’s side. I printed a large bold type number 1 and 4 onto green cardstock and glued one on each side of the pi ata. Then I got out all those circles from the last few projects (see previous birthday blog ideas here) and glued away. I used the blues, greens and white on my sons side and the pinks, greens and creams on my daughters. Plus she wanted strawberry shortcake and friends so we added a few of her stickers to it!

You could decorate it any way you want according to your theme. If it was a party for just one child, you could put their name and their age on one side and decorate the other with your theme. You could use scanned and printed photos, scrapbook paper, stickers, have your child paint it the sky’s the limit!

Almost done now, I promise. All we have left to do is the edge. Grab a pair of scissors, glue, a pencil with an eraser, a ruler and the tissue paper. Cut the tissue paper into 3″ squares. The easiest way to do this is to lay out three sheets of tissue paper and cut the paper into three inch strips, then cut each strip into 3″ squares. Once they are all cut, take a square and place it on the end of a pencil and twist it. Dip the end in glue and place it on the edge of the pi ata. Now repeat this a few hundred times and you’re done! Mine took me about an hour and a half.

Here’s another little polka dot idea. Decorate brown lunch bags with polka dots (one dot for every letter in each party guests name) so that the kids all have a little something to put all their candy in after they break the pi ata.

Stay tuned next week for the how-to on bean bag party favors and some little odds and ends from my kids birthday party!

Today’s post is brought to us by Megan. She lives in Northern California with her husband and their two little ones; Audrey and Owen. Up until a year ago, she was a pre-school teacher and has a degree in Early Childhood Education. Now a (lucky) full-time mom, she enjoys spending her days teaching the kids through play, cooking, yoga and creating. In her very spare time she is an artist and has her own line of little girls skirts. or In Between Dreams on facebook


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  • Happy Camper

    Nice Pinata! I will try to make one when I get a chance. Its practical instead of buying an expensive one. The kids will just destroy it. I’d rather spend for the goodies inside. :)

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