Tuesday 8 March 2016

How to make a minion pinata

Today I bring you my pride and amazement that I made a minion pinata for Sylvia's birthday party.  I wont tell you it was easy.  For a while I thought it was.  Papier mache was not so hard but working out the lollies and doing the fringing too some time.  But it is not that difficult and it is heaps of fun.

Of course if I had known that we would have had all the upheaval of a death overseas I might never have started it but I am glad I did it and Sylvia just loved it at her party.  So it was worth every night spent saying up late gluing on fringes in front of old re-runs of Sex and the City.

Here is my step by step lowdown for anyone who feels brave enough to attempt making a pinata and wants my two cents.  I did quite a bit of online research but the main sites I used were WikiHow for the basics and then Raising Whasians and Le Coin de Mel who made Minion pinatas.

The Shape

I followed Le Coin de Mel and tied two balloons together and wrapped some paper (a paper bag) around them to make a long round shape.  I found this quite challenging.  It need quite a bit of sticky tape.  It was easier if the balloons were the same size.  It was hard to get the paper nice and smooth.  Even at the end the pinata was not quite smooth around the middle but it wasn't so obvious with the fringe.

WikiHow showed how to pop the balloon and take it out once the papier mache was started.  It was a bit more challenging with the two balloons.  I think I poked a skewer in to pop the second balloon and then I used the long long handled tongs to pull out the two balloons which of course slid to the very bottom of the balloon.  (This was when I put the lollies in.)
The Papier Mache

Like Mel I made my own papier machez paste.  I mixed 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups water and about 2 tbsp salt.  I used this for the first one and perhaps made another batch but I did leave it covered in the kitchen between layers of papier mache over a few days and it was fine.  The salt stops it souring too much and preserves it.  It is quite different from the glue I remember using as a kid and is quite thick.

The sites said to either dip strips of newspaper in or to run your two fingers down either side of the paper strip to squeeze off excess paste.  I started this way but found if paste was on both sides it was really messy to do papier mache and if I tried to squeeze it off the paste it broke the paper.  So I found I just used my hands to slather on just enough paste.  Perhaps a brush would help but when you are that messy hands will do.  It was quite relaxing doing it and a nice task to do with a friend (thahks Kerin).

I did 4 layers of papier mache over a few days.  They need to dry completely between layers.  I started by hanging it from the clothes line which I think helped it dry quickly but later I found much easier to dry on a wire rack that I use for cooling cakes out of the oven.  A dish rack might also do the trick

The Lollies

After two layers of papier mache I was convinced to put the lollies in.  (If you are American I mean candy and if you are British I mean sweeties.)  I used a sharp knife to cut a hole big enough to put some lollies in.  The was the moment I took the balloons out of the shape.

I had found some minion chocolate coins and then bought yellow lollies.  Bananas, sherbets, pineapple liquorice and crunchies.  First dilemma was that I then found they should be wrapped.  Luckily Kerin was about and helped me wrap the bananas and liquorice in clingfilm.  She had a great production line going that I wish I could explain.

Next dilemma was finding the balance between a generous shower of lollies from the pinata and not loading up the kids with too many lollies.  Once the lollies were in and we had papered over the hole was that it seemed really heavy.  And that meant too many lollies for the kids, even if it didn't fall off the clothes line before being poked with a stick.  While Sylvia slept I cut another hole and tipped out some lollies.  In the end there were about 700g of lollies for 6 kids.  On the day there was some collateral damage from pounding the pinata so that seemed about right. 

The String 

Once my lolly worries were over, I worried about having the pinata strung up so it held securely.  It might have been easier to weave some string inside it when I was doing the lollies in but I missed the moment.  Instead I had a big plastic needle I could use to poke string in a little hole made with a skewer.  Getting the plastic needle to come out again was challenging.  I ended up sticky taping the needle to the skewer and finally getting it through.  Next time I think I will make holes when I add lollies.  I made three places the string came out so it was hang properly.

The Fringe

The part that took me the longest was sticking the fringe on.  It was far more fiddly and time consuming than the papier mache.  At times even tedious and best done in front of the tv.  Fortunately I had a head start because I asked my nieces to help cut the fringes when they were at an earlier birthday lunch.

I regret I have lost the link to the person who advised on gluing the fringe.  One good piece of advice is the add a dribble of water to white gloopy glue so it brushes on easier and goes further.  It also kept wet if I left it overnight.  To cut the fringes, we folded over pieces of tissue paper, cut into strips (about 5-7cm wide) and then cut fringing on each strip.

Once ready to glue, it was a matter of brushing a line where the top of the strip (without the fringes) would go.  I found that it was easier to do one side, let it dry and turn over the do the other side.  This way, the pinata would not press down the fringes into the glue while drying.  The top and the bottom were hardest but I liked the crazy minion hair (a mullet!) at the top and trying to neaten up fringes was scissors was just asking for trouble!

The Face and Details
I used the same Minion printables as Mel.  It did not have a long enough black eye strip so I made my own out of black paper.  We also coloured in a mouth.  Sylvia was very pleased she drew and coloured in the mouth.  And for the blue bottom I printed a  Gru 'G'.  Party hat is optional!

The Party

At the party, we hung the minion pinata on the clothes line and had the kids line up with a small stick that was a wardrobe rail we had hanging about.  It seemed to take ages to break it and then the poor minion lay on the ground and got whacked a bit before we just tipped the lollies out.  The kids loved it.

I kept the sweet food to a minimum and only put a few toys in the party bags.  We did the pinata last and gave each kid their party bag to fill up with lollies from the pinata and take home.  It was fun to see them sitting on the floor before they left with their lollies spread out comparing what they got.  I was pleased there was a bit of sharing and swapping among the kids to make sure everyone got a reasonable amount.

So the pinata was a great success.  I think Sylvia might want one every year but I am not sue I am up to that.  However I saw someone saying it is a lot of work that gets smashed to bits.  I disagree, it is lots of work for lots of fun.  And at the end, we didn't have to find somewhere for it to live in the house.

More about the minion party.


  1. I thank the stars that I don't have to make a Pinata and a Minion on for that, but I totally praise your fantastic creation here - love finds a way - and Sylvia was happy - yes, she may want one every year, maybe not a Minion though ay...

    1. Thanks Shaheen - I can't see Sylvia getting a minion pinata every year - as I made it I wondered at what age do kids grow out of wanting pinatas and hoped it was not far away :-)

  2. You are truly amazing, Johanna!!! I can't believe your patience and tenacity!!! Kudos to YOU!!!

    Your Minion Piñata (or should I say Sylvia's) looks terrific! I have always wanted to try at leasting making one but just haven't be able to bring myself to do it. GREAT job, Johanna! I'm sure Sylvia was thrilled!!! (I sure wish I had one of thos crocheted Minion hats left, I would have sent one your way:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - it is fun to make a pinata once and worth it to please sylvia but not a regular pasttime - wish you had a crocheted minion hat for sylvia too but she has a fun minion hat at the moment so she is fine!

    2. I have made pinatas for my kids in the past, going to try this one tho for my nephew.

  3. Wow - this and the cake are both amazing. What a great effort and I am sure Sylvia was thrilled.

    1. Thanks Kari - I think the pinata was one of the highlights - kids and lollies go so well together :-)

  4. Wow that is totally awesome!

  5. Oh my goodness! You are truly fabulous. I can't believe you made this for your daughter. I will admit, I lack in some craft talents and would try to track one down that I could buy. Although, now that I have this handy, dandy tutorial, maybe I could try my hand at making one =)

  6. Hi! Three days ago I saw your blog about the minion that you made. My friend is turning 18 and we have always threw him a surprise party every year sense sophomore year. The funny tradition that we do is that we have a childish theme. For our senior year we decided it would be fun to do a minion theme. And there was a lot of party supplies for minions right now because of the new movie. Anyways the only thing we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on was a piñata. My friends and I decided to make one during study hall in the art room. Was just planning on using paint and cardboard. Until our art teacher said we should make one with actual paper mache. That’s when we found your blog. We tried our best lol! Not as good as yours but I think we managed for only have 30 mins for three days. I would love to send you a picture of ours to you. I’m not sure if you have a email I could send it to? If not totally okay. Thanks so much for showing a couple of high schoolers how to make a fun piñata. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Brooke - so glad this was helpful - yes please send a picture of your pinata - my email is towards the end of my about me page - https://gggiraffe.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html - it seems so long ago we made it but it was great fun and a lot of work. Still need to see the new Minion movie but love seeing minions everywhere.


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