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DIY Smiley Graduation Pinata

Kick your graduation party festivities up a notch with your very own smiley face graduation pinata! Luckily, having your backyard as a party space will help in a number of ways! For one thing, you can take advantage of the grassy landscape and play games like hide-and-seek or duck-duck-goose without dealing with furniture. For another, you, the great party planner, can do some DIY party crafting under a sunny sky.

Instead of purchasing a generic piñata at your local party store, make one yourself. This crafty graduation party idea is easier to make than you might think and so long as you begin your work a couple of days or so before the party, you can make it in stages while the kids play around outside.

It took us a total of 2 days to make this piñata – mostly it was time spent waiting for layers to dry completely.

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Plastic Spoon
  • Large Bowl
  • Medium Bowl
  • Balloon
  • Newspaper, torn into 2 inch strips
  • While paper, torn into 2 inch strips
  • Package of individual personalized Class of 2013 ;M&M packets
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush (We used a sponge for the base and a thinner one for the face)
  • Ribbon
  • Grad Cap
  • Screw Hook
  • Stick



Step 1: Get prepped.

Blow up a balloon to the desired size of your piñata. Be aware – the more air you add to the balloon, the thinner the lining becomes, the more likely it is to pop under pressure. Make sure you have a nice size, but don’t overfill.

Shred your newspaper strips and prepare your paper mache mixture in your larger bowl. We used the general rule of thumb for mixing – equal parts water and flour, and mixed it in 1 cup increments. Stir until you have a mix that falls evenly, but isn’t overly thin.

Since we made our piñata outdoors we were fine with making a mess on the table, but if you’re doing this indoors, be sure to cover your workspace well. Also, wear old clothes! If crafting outside, make sure your area is covered in shade. Our first piñata popped when it was in the sun for too long.

Step 2: Layer!

Before you begin applying your strips of paper to it, rest your balloon in a bowl so you can cover it more easily.

You’ll want to dip your 2-inch strips of newspaper into your flour/water mixture, then carefully squeegee off the excess between your pointer and middle fingers. Apply to the balloon.

Go around the entire balloon in this manner, but leave a circle at the bottom where your knot is free from paper. This will be where you pop the balloon once your layers set to fill your piñata.

Allow the first layer to dry and then repeat.

Step 3: Fill.

Once your third layer is completely dry, pop the balloon. Fill your piñata base with your candy. We used individual packets of personalize graduation M&Ms to make it easy for the kids to pick up their goodies.

Step 4: Finish layering.

Cover the opening of your piñata with a layer of newspaper strips. Allow to dry.

Next, cover your entire piñata, including the thinner candy hole, with your white paper. Use the same dipping and applying technique used for the newspaper layers.

Allow to dry completely.

Step 5: Paint and design.

>We made our piñata a yellow smiling grad, but you can turn yours into whatever you’d like. Add limbs or points for a star by attaching cardstock shapes and covering mache-like. Once you have your desired shape covered in white and it has dried, paint it.

We recommend ensuring your thinner candy opening faces up!

For this piñata craft, we found a sponge brush worked best for applying the first few layers. To add detail a regular paint brush was fine.

Once your paint is dry you can embellish – for example, we glued a grad cap with a ribbon attached to it to our smiley face piñata.

Step 6: Add a hook and hang.

Carefully screw a hook into your piñata, then string a ribbon to it. Hang wherever you desire.

Step 7: Have some fun! Let the kids take turns swinging at it to release the hidden candies.


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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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