How to Make a Thomas Train Pinata

candy image by Eldin Muratovic from

Things You'll Need

  • Large shoebox, approximately 12 inches by 7 inches by 5 inches.
  • Roll of foil or plastic food wrap
  • Empty paper towel roll
  • Piles of newspaper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Crepe paper streamers in light blue, red, yellow, black
  • Construction paper in black, white, red and yellow.
  • Crayons
  • String
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Individually wrapped candies, 1 1/2 pounds
  • Glue

Make a hit with your youngster and his friends by making a pinata in the shape of Thomas, the train. It's a great showpiece for kids from three to six. Create his blue body; trim it with black, red and yellow; and fill it with candy. This project will take a few days because the secret of a good pinata is layers of paper mache. You want something sturdy enough to take a few hits before breaking to add to the excitement.

Prepare a work space for drops of paste. Since this project will run over a few days, make sure you choose a space that can be dedicated to it, i.e., you don't want to have move everything at the end of each work period.

Cover a shoebox with foil or plastic wrap on five of the six sides. Place the uncovered side (either the top or bottom of the shoebox) on the work space.

Rip a section of newspaper into strips one inch wide and two inches long.

Make a paste of two parts water to one part flour and mix well. Don't worry that it's lumpy; it's supposed to be that way.

Put a strip of newspaper into the paste and make sure it's covered on both sides. Place the newspaper on the covered shoebox and smooth it on so there are no bubbles or wrinkles.

Take a second strip of newspaper, get it covered with paste, and put it on the covered shoebox, overlapping the first piece of newspaper. Continue this process until you've completely covered the shoebox in a layer of paste-coated newspaper. When you get to the bottom edge, stop the layering right at the edge, Don't let any of the paper cover anything but the shoebox. Let it dry a few hours or overnight.

Repeat steps five and six until you have four or five layers of paper mache.

Turn over the shoebox and remove it and the foil, leaving just the paper mache shell. Wrap a paper towel roll in foil and place it on one end of the upended shell, to serve as the smoke stack. Look at pictures of Thomas to see just where to set it.

Rip inch-wide and 9-inch long strips of newsprint. Cover with paste and stretch across opening of the shell to make up its final side. Work around the "smokestack."

When dry, add another layer until you have three or four layers. Be sure you wait until each layer is completely dry before adding the next one.

Glue on the blue crepe paper to cover Thomas. Overlap each row and you'll add more depth to your pinata.

Make a hole in each side of the engine and thread a yard of string through the train and out the other side. Bring the two ends together and tie a strong knot, strong enough to hold while the pinata filled with candy is battered a few times.

Remove the smokestack. Stuff the pinata with alternate handfuls of candies and little strips of crepe paper. The crepe paper strips will prevent the candy from dropping out all in one spot.

Cut a two-inch tube off the paper towel roll. Cover it with black paper and tape it into the hole as a smokestack.

Cut out a white circle for Thomas' face. Color on his facial features and glue the face onto the front of the pinata.

Cut strips of red, yellow and black trim and glue to the pinata, following the pattern you see in your Thomas the Train reference.

Cut out black circles for Thomas' wheels and glue them to the pinata.


  • Don't worry about achieving perfection. This project takes a bit of time, but it will be bashed to pieces in minutes.



About the Author

Jenny Landis-Steward has written reports for child welfare research for over 14 years. She has a master's degree in clinical psychology. She was the editor of two social service agency publications for seven years. Her economic thesis was an analysis of employment trends.

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