Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ninja Turtles!

My grandson just turned 4 and his party is this weekend.  The theme he wanted this year was Ninja turtles, so my daughter wanted me to make a Ninja Turtle pinata.  I've become the official pinata maker in the family (not by my choice) because it turns out I have a knack for it. 
To make this one, or any other pinata that you can think of, you'll need a 9 inch balloon or larger, some news paper, some string, masking tape, maybe some crepe paper, makers or other items to decorate it, and of course-candy/toys to fill it!  The best paper mache is this simple recipe that I found years ago:

Mix together a 1/2 cup of flour and 2 cups of cold water in a bowl.  

In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When it boils pour in the flour and water that you have mixed in the bowl.  Bring this whole thing to a boil again.  

Once it boils again, remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Let it cool.  As it cools it will thicken up.  When it's cool enough not to burn you, then it's ready to use. 

Rip a bunch of news papers into one inch strips, and start making your first layer.  Dip a strip of newspaper into the paper mache, and wipe of any excess with the side of your bowl, or run it between your fingers.  Then just start placing the stips on your balloon.  Placing them in various directions rather than just putting them on in a straight row, will make the pinata stronger.

Once you've covered the balloon  completely, let it dry for 24 hours before putting on the next layer.

When you complete the second layer, again let it dry for 24 hours.  After the second layer is dry, I like the add the string that the pinata will hang from.  With this pinata, I decided that the mouth of the balloon (where it's tied) will be the top of the Ninja Turtle's head, so I tied the string so it would hang that way.

Add some masking tape (or any tape that you have available) to a couple of places so that the string stays where you want it to.  

Once the string is taped down, tie a loop at the top of the pinata where it will hang.  

Pick up the pinata, and hold up up on your finger to double check that it will hang the way you want it to.  If it looks lopsided or off, adjust the strings until it looks the way you want it to. Once you have it just right, it's time to secure it with more layers of paper mache.

Apply a layer over the whole pinata, covering up the string.  Let the dry for 24 hours, apply another layer, and let that dry.  As you can see, a big part of making a pinata is waiting for it to dry!
We bought some green and blue crepe paper at the dollar store to decorate it. Since the dollar store didn't have any orange crepe paper to make Michelangelo  we had to settle for Leonardo. ( He has the blue bandanna)

First I put a put a couple of layers of green on .  To do this I used an old paint brush.  I dipped the brush into the paper mache, painting it onto the surface, and stuck the crepe paper on top of the place that I had just painted.  I then used the brush to smooth this down, like I've seen people do on craft shows when they are applying gold leaf.  I suspect  applying crepe paper is similar to that, because when it is wet it's really fragile and flimsy.

After the first layer of green dried, I added another layer because I could still see the newsprint through it.
I did the same with the blue to make his bandanna   I drew  some Ninja Turtle eyes and mouth with markers on printer paper.  I attached these the same way I did with the crepe paper.

*Edit (Thanks Reddit)-I leave a small hole in the top where the mouth of the balloon was, to put the candy in. 

Here is the finished Leonardo.  I wondered it he looked too scary, but my 21 year old son, who was a fan of the turtle himself when he was younger told me he looked just like the movie.  

**I'll add more pictures of the candy we fill it with, and after it gets broken at the party this weekend.


  1. I love it! I made a Power Rangers Samurai piñata for my son's 3rd birthday last year and this year his chosen theme is TMNT! I just love how your piñata came out and I can't wait to make Donnie!

  2. Very cool!! Can't wait to make one for my son. He's going to be 7 and he was begging me for a pinata this year. I made a lego brick one 2 years ago but last year we did Ninjago and skipped it. How strong was this? Did it break really easy or did it take a while? I would assume the thicker the paper mache the harder to break but not sure.