I was recently asked to create a piñata to be on display at the High Museum of Art here in Atlanta, GA. Their current exhibit features the art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and this weekend they are throwing a Culture Shock event packed with activities relating to the Mexican culture of which Frida & Diego experienced. The piazza will be adorned with piñatas made by makers from all over the area, and I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! I decided to make one that pays an homage to the traditional mexican piñata, with tissue & crepe paper flowers and the pompoms that often line sombreros and so much more in Mexican craft. See how I did it!
First off, I'd like to say that I cheated a bit. This piñata was not to be filled, and purely for display at the event. Therefore, I avoided the paper-mache bit and decided to use an object I already had for the form. Paper-mache would have been so fun, but I just didn't have that kind of time on my hands -- so I'll have to do a paper-mache tutorial for you soon to make up for it! Does it still count as a piñata? I say yes -- you can still smash it, so it's good!
I found a small cooler with a missing lid around the studio, and decided to go from there. I got out the tissue & crepe paper and got to work on making tons of little flowers, a popular style of flower-making in Mexico. My favorite might have been the crepe paper flowers. I haven't worked with crepe paper in a long time, but just got in an order of beautiful Italian crepe paper (now sold in the shop!) that I was dying to get my hands on.
First, I punched a hole in the top to add my hanging rope, happy I did so, because this is an easy step to forget! With all the flowers I was planning on adding, I knew it would be easier to start with my rope than wedge it in there later.
For the tissue paper flowers, I stuck thin silver floral wired through each one before completing it (after folding it accordion style but before stapling it). This gave me a small stem I could use to stick the flowers into the foam form. They're thin so I wasn't able to stick it all the way through the form, but it was just enough so I could hot glue and push the flower against the foam so I had some reinforcement.
Before adding flowers, however, I cut long strips of tissue paper and cut slits in it, to give it a traditional look. I limited this part to two colors so it didn't detract from the flowers I was planning on adding. I glued them on in rows with regular Elmer's School Glue, my favorite paste for these kinds of projects (no bubbles and I love the pointed end). I covered the entire form in the tissue paper before proceeding, and allowed any "oops" spots to act as base points for my floral additions.
I proceeded to cover the entire top with my flowers, and cascaded them down the sides in a few spots so it is interesting to look at from all sides. Hot glue helped make it go by quickly (after I stuck them in with wire first) but gave me the security I wanted since it'll be on display for the public and the public can do some damage to craft projects! For a finishing touch, I added pompom trimming I got at M&J Trimmings in NY a few months ago; it happened to match perfectly and reminds me of sombreros so I had to go with it!
To close in the bottom, I wove paper strips with fun colors, glued this weave to the bottom, and trimmed to fit. I like that I can remove this if I want to make this piñata fully functional one day, and the paper glued to the styrofoam really easily.
I love how it turned out! A sweet little cake of a piñata full of Mexican traditions, and required very few materials. It took forever to make the flowers, which is why I'm happy I cut down on time by using a form I already had. Have you ever made a piñata? How did you do it? Share in the comments below!