How to Make an Elephant Pinata

By Tom Ryan

Things Needed

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 cups water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Balloon
  • Old newspaper
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Cardboard sheets
  • Four toilet paper tubes
  • Masking tape
  • Box cutter
  • Assorted small candies
Homemade pinatas save you money at the party supply store.

If you don't want to buy a pinata at the party supply store, take some time to make your own. Building your own pinata, no matter the shape, is a project that anyone in the family can complete. An elephant-shaped pinata, for example, requires more work than an abstract shape. But when you and your party guests beat the papier mache pachyderm until it showers you with candy, you will see that it was worth the extra effort.

Mix your flour and water together in a bowl to make papier mache paste. Rip up your newspaper into one-inch strips and inflate your balloon.

Dip your strips one at a time into the paste, covering both sides. When a strip is covered in paste, press it flat against the balloon. Leave a small hole uncovered so that you can put candy in later. Wait for the balloon to dry, then repeat, giving it two layers of newspaper strips. After the second layer dries, pop the balloon.

Cover the ends of your old toilet paper tubes with masking tape. Tape them to the underside of the hardened balloon shape to make stubby elephant legs. Papier mache the legs in the same way you did the balloon.

Cut out elephant ear shapes from your cardboard sheets. Tape them to the front of the balloon and papier mache them -- the papier mache not only makes them match the rest of the elephant, but also keeps them attached.

Roll up a few sheets of newspaper into a thin tube and bend it in one or two places. Wrap it in masking tape so that it keeps its shape -- this is the elephant's trunk. Tape it to the front of the balloon between the ears and papier mache it.

Paint the elephant after it is completely dry. Though grey is a realistic elephant color, you may paint it more festive, bright colors in the pinata tradition.

Fill the body of the pinata with assorted small candies. Cover the hole with masking tape and paint it to match the rest of the pinata.

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.