Tropical Fish Piñata

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Tropical Fish Piñata

When your kids are finished making this pretty little fish, they may not have the heart to demolish their handiwork! Never fear. Just pour the candy and treats from her mouth.

What you'll need

  • 1 round balloon
  • 4-cup glass measuring cup or similar sized bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper, torn into strips
  • Craft paint: pink, white, black
  • Paintbrush
  • Crepe paper streamers: light green, yellow, orange and dark pink
  • Large round sponge applicator
  • Mini round sponge applicator
  • White craft glue
  • Thin cardboard (such as cereal box)
  • Scissors
  • 48" yarn
  • Pencil with an eraser
  • Pattern

For smaller children, instead of using a pencil, they can simply wad the crepe paper squares in their fingers and stick them directly to the glue. This project requires a lot of drying time, so be sure to plan accordingly. If you can't bring yourself to break this pretty piñata, pour the candies and treats out through the mouth at party time, then hang the fish in your child's room or playroom as a decoration.

How to make it

  1. Blow up the balloon and use the measuring cup as your stand.  

  2. Mix together 1 part flour and 2 parts water to make the papier-mâché paste. Start with 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water, and mix more when needed. Use a whisk to combine, making sure there are no lumps.  

  3. Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste, squeeze off excess by running the wet strip between two fingers like a squeegee. Lay the wet strip across the balloon and smooth with your fingers. Continue this process, crisscrossing the strips as you go, until the entire balloon is covered, with the exception of the tied end of the balloon.

  4. Leave about a 1 ½" perimeter around the balloon knot for the fish's mouth. Allow the paper to dry for 6 hours or so, before moving on to the next step.  

  5. Fold the thin cardboard in half and then, using the patterns, line up the indicated edges up against the fold and trace and cut out the tail and the two fins. You should now have two joined pieces for each pattern piece. Fold the cardboard where the dotted lines on the patterns indicate.  

  6. Place the larger fin (dorsal fin) on the top side of the balloon. The rounded edge should be facing toward the mouth end and the straight end of the fin should be toward the back of the fish.

  7. Cover the fin and the folded pieces with a couple layers of newspaper. Repeat this process (minus the yarn step) for the bottom fin (pelvic fin) and the tail. Cover the fish with a second coat of newspaper strips and let dry overnight.

  8. Paint the entire surface of the fish (with the exception of the tail and fins) with pink paint.  

  9. Cut orange streamers into squares. Coat one side of the tail with white glue. Twist the squares around the eraser end of a pencil, and then push the paper-covered eraser into the glue on the tail. Continue this until the entire tail is covered. Repeat this process for the fins as well, turn fish over and do the other sides.

  10. Use the round sponge applicator dipped in white paint to add spots to the fish. These will just be guides for you to add crepe paper squares to the spots. Also use the applicator to add both eyes, dabbing the applicator in a wider circle to make the eye larger than the spots. Using green, pink and yellow crepe paper, cover the spots using the method in step 9.  

  11. Use the round applicator dipped in black paint to add the pupil to the eye. When that is dry, use a mini round applicator to add a black dot in the pupil. This is optional, but you can cut two simple eyelids from dark pink crepe paper and glue them to the eyes, then add eyelashes with a black marker.  

  12. For the mouth, you will need 18 feet of dark pink crepe paper. Fold in half, then in half again, and again until you have a 12" long folded piece.

  13. Hold one end of the crepe paper and begin twisting, continue twisting until you reach the other end.

  14. Pop the balloon and remove it from the fish's mouth. Pipe some craft glue around the outside of the mouth and glue the twisted crepe paper around the mouth opening. You can secure the "lips" in place with "chip clips" until the glue has dried.

  15. To add the string to hang the piñata from, fold the yarn in half to create a loop. Tie the two open ends into a knot. Use a pen to poke a hole through the top of the fish, in front of the dorsal fin. Insert the knotted end of the yarn into the hole and cover the hole generously with instant grab glue. Let dry completely.  

  16. Insert candy and lightweight toys and trinkets into the fish's mouth.

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