Why did my third layer of paper mache crack?

I used a punchball and hung it to work on. I had put on two layers with no drying in-between and dried. I put on a third layer after the two layers dryed and After the 3rd layer of paper mache dryed the ballon pushed through the paper mache and cracked the piñata. Please tell me what I did wrong. Thanks! Diane

Answer from Piñata Boy

This is a common occurrence when using large punch balls to make a piñata, although it normally happens on the first or second layer when the papier mâché is still very thin, and not as often on the third layer.  The splitting is due to the balloon expanding while the papier mâché is drying. If you place it outside in the sun to dry, for example, an increase of even just a few degrees can be enough to expand the balloon enough to split the papier mâché. I see this most often when using large punch balls, especially if I lay the papier mâché directly on the balloon. It doesn’t happen as often if the balloon is wrapped in dry newspaper first.

The solution is simply to add another layer of papier mâché over the split. When the balloon cools down and shrinks, the crack will come back together, and you can use masking tape to suture it closed, then cement it shut with another layer or two of papier mâché.

The best way to keep this from happening is to dry the piñata away from heat or sunlight. I sometimes put large punch ball piñatas in my garage with a fan blowing on them rather than set them outside in the sun, for this very reason. But it’s a recoverable problem, so you can repair it and keep going without having to start over.

Good luck!

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