MCL Volunteer Project: Piñata Pigs

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Get Messy and Creative with Piñata Making!

Our Museum Career Ladder (MCL) is a volunteer and employment readiness program offering opportunities for teenagers to engage in fun and meaningful work at the Thinkery to prepare themselves for future endeavors.

This post was authored by one of our fantastic MCL volunteers, Brenda Sanchez.

Taking inspiration from the Thinkery exhibit “En Mi Familia,” I decided to put my arts and crafts skills to work this week by making piñatas.  Thankfully, I had some background knowledge due to my very crafty  mom being an expert piñata maker. Although the project was messy and time consuming, but still very fun! I hope my piñata process will inspire you to take a swing at it as well!

pinata1 First, I gathered the materials: recycled egg cartons; an inflated balloon; scissors; newspaper; water mixed with flour; and lots of colored tissue paper. Feel free to explore other materials.You never know what could be put to good use; it all depends on what your creativity inspires you to make!

Once I had my materials, I thought about what sort of piñata I wanted to make. I had drafted ideas before hand, but it wasn’t until I was ready to work that I decided to make a pig. Why a flying pig? Well, because they’re adorable—and they’re the Thinkery’s mascot! The sombrero and poncho in my finished piñata is meant to represent the Mexican culture of piñata making itself, as well as the “En Mi Familia” exhibit that inspired me to make the piñata in the first place.
To make the pig shape, I slowly covered an inflated balloon with layers of paper mâché. Preparing paper mâché is quite simple:  mix up one part flour to four parts hot water. I used cut-out egg carton cups for the legs and nose and, for the wings, I simply sketched the shapes on a magazine cover,cut them out, and wrapped them in paper mâché. Many layers of paper will be necessary to fully cover the piñata and ensure it’s sturdy.

After the shape of the piñata was complete  and dried (I let mine dry over night), the piggy was ready to be covered in tissue paper. I started with the body and then moved on to the smaller details. This is the part where your piñata really starts to come to life!  pinata5 pinata4

 

 

I worked on the sombrero and poncho separately to devote enough attention to detail.  The sombrero was also made out of egg cartons and covered with colored tissue paper. The poncho was simply tissue paper with many layers of even more tissue paper! My hands and clothes were covered with wet flour and pieces of tissue paper by the time I was done! Be prepared to get messy with this one!.

A piñata can take several days to make, with variations due to size and detail. Mine took a little over a week. However, don’t let the long process discourage you! For me, making the piñata was a stress reliever before high school finals!

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