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                  Make a Heart Piñata  
  Heart piñatas are simple to make, and they can easily be made to look very elaborate in the decorating.  Here's how to make one.  

1)  Blow up two long, thin balloons to equal lengths.
       Blowing up this kind of balloon gives me headaches, so I use a plastic balloon pump.  It helps to stretch them out a lot before you start blowing.

2)  Twist them in the middle as if you were going to make a balloon animal.
       The twist will form the bottom point of the heart.  Without it, your heart will have a round bottom instead of a point.

  3)  Bend one of the balloons into a heart shape. 
    Just bend the ends around so that they are side-by-side and aimed toward the point, and tape them together that way.
5)  Wrap the balloons with newspaper and tape the newspaper down with masking tape.

4)  Match up the twist in the second balloon with the point of the heart and tape the second balloon to the first one.

You have to support the sides of the heart piñata somehow or they will sag inward when you apply the papier mâché.  I lay down one layer of newspaper, then put down a mesh of masking tape across the side of the heart, and then lay down another layer of newspaper over the mesh.   Once the papier mâché is finished. you can cut a hole in the top of the piñata and tear out the newspaper layer with the masking tape mesh from the inside.

  Two balloons shaped and taped and ready for wrapping in newspaper.        
          Wrapped in newspaper.         Masking tape mesh.   This heart had no side support and sagged inward.  

6)  Attach the hook for hanging.
        The hook is critical to to the success of any piñata, because if the hook fails, your piñata is on the ground.

      For this kind of piñata, I would attach the hook like this:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 bottom view






Get a wire shirt hanger and cut it off at the shoulders using wire cutters.

Get a rectangular piece of cardboard.

Fold the cardboard into a rounded V-shape that fits over the top of the heart.

Poke the shirt hanger through the cardboard, and bend the wire arms to match the curve of the heart. If the arms stick out past the ends of cardboard piece, bend them around on top. If the wire arms don't stick out past the ends of the cardboard, then duct tape the arms to the underside of the cardboard.

Lay the bent cardboard with the wire hook over the top of the newspaper heart, make sure it fits properly, and tape it in place using masking tape.  Then start applying papier mâché over the whole thing.

Step 4 top view
Step 5

7) Layer on strips of newspaper dipped in flour/water mix.  Add one layer at a time, and let it dry completely between layers.  Add three or four layers for younger kids, or more for older kids.
       These long, thin balloons will often pop if the piñata is left in direct Texas sun to dry, so be careful about that.

8) Once the shell is firm enough, pop the ballons and remove them.
      I usually cut a door flap in the top so I can reach in and tear out any loose interior newspaper and also for filling the piñata.  Since the cardboard covers the top of this piñata, you'll need a sharp knife or razor blade to make that door.

If you think the piñata ended up too thick for the kids who will be whacking it, take a knife and stabs lots of holes in the piñata to weaken it. Remember that if you decorate the piñata with crepe paper, that will help pad the piñata and make it harder to break.

9)  Decorate!
       The piñata to the right was decorated using snipped crepe paper, with a number 3 cut out of felt and glued on.  The Barbie Heart at the top of the page looks like a much more elaborate piñata, but the difference is all in the decorating.  (Notice that the fluffed crepe paper completely hides the sagging sides from the earlier photo.)

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