Well, fast forward 10 years and I decide to try another one. This time with Harrison for a school handicraft project. I figured he and I could work on it together, and he wanted a Death Star from Star Wars, so it was going to be loads of fun. (See instructions below.)
This sphere took a good six weeks to look like this.
We used this blogger's "How to Make a Death Star Piñata" as the basis of our plan. And Piñata Boy's description of how to make the hanging hook.
Despite the best laid plans of mice and men, our problems were many.
We hung the balloon in the garage to keep the paper mâché mess to a minimum. The neighbor kids got in on the action this way (which did not keep the mess to a minimum, but it was fun to watch them mess with goop). Harrison did not appreciate goop and did as little as possible with the paper mâché.
But since it was out near the elements and we had warm days and cold nights, the balloon would expand and contract. This messed with the newspaper covering and broke it in several places and gave us an oblong shape instead of the nice round shape of a Death Star.
I decided to bring it in the house and keep it in a bucket like the blogger lady showed, and it ended up bending into the rim of the bucket on one side and so had a hard crater-like dent the next morning.
After that I put in the nicely made (if I do say so myself) hanging hook before we decided that wasn't the best place to have it, so I took it back out and made a hole elsewhere for the hook.
There were many repairs to be made with the flour/water/newspaper mixture throughout all this process, but we finally had a finished product.
Then Harrison painted it. I let him do all of that himself over many days. He and I had also picked up from Walmart all the candy and toys to put inside.
And then big brother Jon took the lead on a sunny weekend (so that the majority of neighbor kids would be around to share in the spoils) to hang it up (with my exercise band, no less) and direct the kids in whacking it. It kind of happened so fast I didn't get many pictures or lay down rules or make sure the kids had a bandana tied around their eyes.
But the kids got to have a little "just because" piñata fun.
Harrison's Death Star Piñata
Strips of Newspaper (1/2 to 3/4 inch strips)
Basting Brush (optional)
Large Punch Balloon (preferably without the little knob at the bottom)
Cardboard, Duct Tape, Exacto Knife
Wire Hanger (and wire cutters or scissors)
Paint and/or Tissue Paper
Toys and Treats to go inside (not chocolate if you are doing the piñata outside on a warm day)
Bandana; Stick or PVC pipe or broom or whatever's handy for hitting with
String, Rope, Raffia or what-have-you to hang the piñata from a tree
1. Make a paste with the flour and water. I didn't do exact proportions for this; I just mixed in enough water till the consistency was like cake batter. Hang the balloon (put newspaper below to catch drips) and put one layer of pasty newspaper strips all over the balloon. Or you can put the balloon in a bucket or bowl and layer the top half. Once that dries, turn it over and layer the bottom half. Then the balloon won't turn into a tear-drop shape (the heaviness of the pasty strips will drag it down if it's hanging from a ceiling).
We sometimes used the pastry brush to brush on the gluey mix, but it was almost easier to dip the strips in the flour glue and then wipe off excess with fingers.
2. Do several layers waiting for each layer to dry before adding a new one. I believe we did at least three.
3. Make the Hanging Hook according to this guy. I did the heart-shaped one, only I curved it to follow the curve of the sphere.
4. Determine which part should be the top of the Death Star, make a hole and insert the Hook. Layer up the hole with pasty strips and let dry.
5. Determine where the Death Star's concave dish will be (Northern Hemisphere), find or make a circle about the size you want, and trace around the circle with a pencil. Use an Exacto Knife to cut out the circle, and save it.
6. Through the dish hole, fill the piñata with goodies (glitter pens, mini figures, notepads, mini flashlights, punch balloons, non-melting pre-wrapped candies, beads, stickers....).
7. Place the saved circle upside down so that it is concave and tape it down (our tape did not stick well, you might want to try duct tape or glue). Then add several layers of pasty newspaper strips all around the Death Star dish to make sure it is good and glued in and is not a weak spot (remember to let it dry between layers ~ see why it takes so long?).
8. Once all the paper mâché-ing is done and dry, you can then decorate it. The blog I read used silver tissue paper to cover the whole thing, then made lines using masking tape, and painted the gaps with silver glitter paint. Harrison used silver spray paint to cover the whole thing. Then he painted lines on with a darker gray paint and paint brush.
9. With all the hanging we did in the prepping of our piñata, we used a long strip of raffia that I found, the rubber band that came with the balloon, and our exercise band. All of it worked.
10. Kids should wear a bandana to cover their eyes when swinging at the piñata. An adult could also use a rope to pull the piñata out of reach as the children try to swing at it; makes the fun last a little longer. Younger kids should go before older kids. We had a piece of PVC pipe that we used for swinging. Maybe a short broom handle could work? A stick from your yard?