Smashing Pumpkins

Woof! Woof! Who let the dog-days out?

Cure your mid-summer agita and ennui with a fun-for-the-whole-family craft that’s as cool to create as it is to destroy.

From Cherie Aarts-Coley, mom and owner of Poloppo.com, a company that places your kids’ artwork on a variety of cool t-shirts (all while helping to nourish and encourage their artist souls), here is this week’s creativity for kids tip:

Make Your Own Pinata

My daughter turned 6 recently and decided she wanted a jungle-themed birthday party. Although we’d never made a piñata before we’d had a lot of experience doing paper mâché so we figured it wouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re not particularly fussy about the outcome (and six-year-olds seldom are!), it’s actually not that difficult, but it can be time-consuming. However, time-consuming can be a good thing when you’ve got hours to spend with your little ones. We worked on the jaguar piñata for around half an hour each day for almost two weeks, and what a beauty it was! Too bad it got bashed up within a matter of minutes. Here are some instructions for two kinds of piñata – a balloon-based piñata (easier) and a wire structure piñata (more challenging).

Balloon-based piñata

Materials:

• balloon

• packaging tape

• large mixing bowl

• cone-shaped party hats, or cardboard toilet rolls and other tubes

• newspaper

• cellulose wallpaper paste (from hardware store)

• Elmer’s white glue

• paint

• crêpe paper

Instructions:

1. Blow up and tie the balloon.

2. Tape cardboard cones or tubes onto the balloon to make an interesting design.

3. Lay out some newspaper to set up your work area.

4. Follow the instructions on the packet of wallpaper paste to mix half the quantity (you can repeat this if you need more). Basically you’re mixing the paste with water. Add a dollop of Elmer’s white glue.

5. Meanwhile, get the kids to tear up strips of newspaper.

6. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and apply them to the balloon shape.

7. Keep going until the whole thing is covered. Allow it to dry and then repeat the process so that it has at least two layers.

8. Paint the piñata a solid color then you can either glue crêpe paper onto it or paint it with any kind of fun pattern.

9. To make a pinata stick find a wood baton about 18 inches long and decorate it with crepe paper or construction paper taped on with clear packaging tape.

Wire frame piñata

Materials:

• wire (you can use clothing hangers if you have strong hands or buy bendable 3mm wire from your local hardware)

• packaging tape

• large mixing bowl

• pieces of cardboard, toilet rolls and other cardboard tubes

• newspaper

• cellulose wallpaper paste (from hardware store)

• Elmer’s white glue

• paint

• crêpe paper

Instructions:

1. Think of some kind of creature or shape you’d like to make into a piñata.

2. Use the wire to create a rough “skeleton” for the shape. You can bend it into shape with your hands or pliers and tape the wire together where necessary.

2. Tape pieces of cardboard onto the wire structure. Use cardboard tubes for things like arms and tails if it’s a creature.

3. Lay out some newspaper to set up your work area.

4. Follow the instructions on the packet of wallpaper paste to mix half the quantity (you can repeat this if you need more). Basically you’re mixing the paste with water. Add a dollop of Elmer’s white glue.

5. Meanwhile, get the kids to tear up strips of newspaper.

6. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and apply them to the wire frame shape.

7. Keep going until the whole thing is covered. Allow it to dry and then repeat the process so that it has at least two layers.

8. Paint the piñata a solid color then you can either glue crêpe paper onto it or paint it to look like the creature or object you’re designing.

9. To make a pinata stick find a wood baton about 18 inches long and decorate it with crepe paper or construction paper taped on with clear packaging tape.

For more from Cherie, go to www.poloppo.com.

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