The 2.2kg piñata I made using paper-mache, with a 24-inch latex ballon as my base.
(I am embarrassed. It's been a while since I updated the blog, but it's been CRAZY since we returned from our Krabi, Thailand getaway. However, Kai turned five yesterday and I want to put up all posts related to his birthday ASAP so he could read it when his older and remember just how crazy he had been about Angry Birds.)
Kai with his Angry Birds army in the Melaka hotel room.
What started this whole "I want an Angry Birds' birthday cake" craze was this video Kai saw on YouTube. It was about a father in UK who made a playable birthday cake for, coincidentally, his 5yo son too. That was a few months back, say around March. Then when we went on a family road trip to Melaka/Genting, Malaysia in April, we played Angry Birds with him in the hotel rooms using pillows and Angry Birds plush toys^. (More on that, hopefully later!)
Then Terence put the final nail in the coffin by telling Kai: "No problem, your mummy can make an Angry Birds birthday cake for you." And that was how the whole family started on our Angry Birds birthday journey.
Kai and Terence with the 24-inch balloon on the night started making the piñata.
Other than the birthday cake, the other birthday accessory that will make the Angry Birds theme, I thought, would naturally be the piñata. After all, the birds are round and I can easily make it with a ballon and paper-mache. I got my design inspiration from another blogger. I then went to some balloon stores in neighborhood malls but I couldn't find a latex ballon that is bigger than the usual 11/12-inch balloons. I finally found them at Party With Us, and I bought a 24-inch latex balloon. (If anyone is interested is making an even bigger piñata, they have a 3-feet balloon. Now that's HUGE!)
The ballon is prepped, workspace cleaned and covered, with the glue made. I am ready to begin!
As I could only work on the piñata for only a few hours a day at night, I gave myself one week to complete the piñata. I made the glue using flour and water (one part flour, five parts water), which gave a really nice smooth paste. If you are going to attempt this, it's essential to lay out the newspaper on your workspace before you start. It can get really messy if you intend to get your children to help!
"Eeee YAH!!!" said Kai, who added that an empty balloon with eight layers of paper was too heavy for him.
Most DIY paper mache piñata sites will tell you to use three to four layers of paper for your piñata. But we didn't want the piñata to break after just a few hits by the birthday boy. I had about 11 children at the party, and everyone should be able to have a go at the piñata. Some sites suggest 10-12 layers for a piñata built for teenagers and Terence urged me to do more than four. So under duress, I made eight. (Was it too much, you ask. Read on.) The final layer was made with white A4 paper. I could use white crepe paper for a smoother finish but I couldn't find white crepe paper! The shops have crepe paper in every possible color except white.
Outline of the bird's eyebrows, eyes, and stomach in pencil.
After spending about four nights plastering the balloon, I dedicated a weekend afternoon on painting the balloon. This was the part where Kai participated. :-) First, I drew on the face.
We used normal poster color by Pentel.
Then we painted the stomach.
Then red. Note the intense look of concentration on Kai's face! He was so serious about getting it right that he ended up making lots of funny faces without knowing. As the bird was very big, there was a lot of 'ground' to cover and Kai gave up painting after a while. I finished up the body, and started on the finer details.
The eyebrows and the eyes.
Then I made the beak using yellow cardboard paper. I then released the air from the balloon (we wanted to reuse the big balloon as a toy for the boys), and pulled it out of the piñata.
The next step which was really fun for Kai to do was to put the sweets, streamers, and shiny confetti into his piñata. I bought about 14-16 packets of sweets, which we all threw into the hole. Kai was quite excited; he wanted to see how they all looked like inside the balloon.
I put him more streamers in for him after he went to bed. The bird looked pretty funky with colorful curls.
Hitting the nail in the head. The bird's head.
This is the step which I think can be improved. To secure the ropes to the piñata, I made a hole with a nail so I could put the rope through. I made four holes and tied two knots at the end of (four strands) of rope. There are other ways of securing the role to the piñata, which I may use in the future. That is if I ever have to make a piñata again.
So this marks the end of our piñata-making journey. Many times, during the piñata-making process, Terence asked me not to spend so much time over an object that the children were going to whack to pieces. In reply, I'd like to borrow something from Brian (aka Piñata Boy), who loves making piñatas for his children:
I'm not just building piñatas, I am building memories. All these piñatas have become an indelible part of my kids' childhoods, and that will last a lifetime.