Pirate Pinata

Make this fun and easy pirate pinata using paper mache and a balloon. Great for a birthday or halloween party.

This is a fairly easy project that even kids can do.


Age: 8+

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Time scale: 4 out of 5

Paper Mache recipe here


  • Paper Mache paste
  • Newspaper
  • glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • medium size balloon
  • cotton, boo batts fiber fill or spider webbing
  • 16 inch square of material
  • 30 inches of string
  • Black yarn to tie on eye patch
  • poster board
  • small piece of cardboard or cereal box
  • tin foil
  • craft paint in flesh tone, pink and blue

Pirate Pinata Instructions

To make this pirate pinata, start by tearing newspaper into strips about 2 inches wide by 1 foot long. Oh, and you did find the paper mache directions, right?

Blow up the balloon... a balloon? Yeah, I know I said no balloon, but that is for some of my other craft projects. If you have never done paper mache before, this is a good place to start.

Set the balloon on a wide mouth jar or on a small bowl, so it will stay balanced when you start working on it. Now, add newspaper strips, dipped in paste, on the balloon. Work all the way around criss crossing the paper, until the balloon is completely covered. Smooth down the edges.

After one layer, cut out a round piece of cereal box board. Glue gun one end of the piece of string to it. Now put it on the wide end of the balloon and the newspaper strips over it. Do a total of three layers on the balloon. Let this dry.

During the drying process, turn the balloon after a while so that the bottom side has a chance to be more exposed to the air too. Depending on the humidity in your area will depend on the drying time. Expect to wait 4 hours or more, possibly overnight.

When it is completely dry, pop the balloon and cut a small circle leaving one side still attached. Fill the pirate pinata with the goodies. As well as candy, I usually add pencils, bouncy balls, stickers, rings etc.

Glue gun the opening closed. Do a couple more layers on entire balloon, and an extra layer or two around your cut seam. Dry again.

Now, this is where you will have to use a little of your own judgement. Some areas may seem a little thin still, so paper mache a bit more there. Sometimes, when you are putting the pieces on, it is hard to tell which spots have how many layers. (especially if you are getting help)

I have made pinata's for halloween party decorations that were too tough and they had to be beaten with a baseball bat. That was kind of hard on the contents inside.

When this is dry, you can work on the features you would like to add for the face of the pirate pinata. Cut a piece of poster board or cereal box board about 2 inches wide by 3 inches long and bend it into a curve. Glue gun this on to the pinata for the nose. Now shape with crumpled up tin foil. Paper mache over this with a couple layers. Don't get too concerned with perfection, remember this is one of the halloween party decorations that is going to be smashed to smitherines!

Now for the eye and some choices: googley eyes from the craft store,
polymer clay or paper mache eyes. For paper mache eye, crumple and roll tin foil into about an inch size ball. Paper mache a couple layers over these and let dry. When these are dry, paint the eye on to the ball. You only need one eye, because the other one has an eye patch over it.

Position of eye should be about halfway down the balloon. Cut slits in the pinata, a little smaller than the eyeball you have made. If you are using stick on eyes, skip this step. Add some hot glue and push halfway into hole. Be careful not to push it in too far. (It might end up being a prize in the pinata)

Using cereal box board, cut out an eyepatch; slit bottom, overlap slightly and glue. Paper mache 2 layers on this. When dry, paint black and attach string on each side.

Figure out where you want the eyebrows, moustache and goatee, and where the scarf will go around the head and pencil it in. Paint the pinata flesh colored but leave these areas unpainted. (glue sticks better on unpainted areas)

When the paint is dry, hot glue on the eyebrows etc. Tie the material on the top of the head for the bandana and glue this and a small piece of hair sticking out from the scarf. Put eye patch on and tie around head.

For the body, I printed up some skeleton pieces, traced them on to poster board and cut the pieces out. I hooked them together, and then glued this hanging from the bottom of the head.

Now, hang your pirate pinata from a hook, in the house or hang this halloween party decoration outside. Take a picture of your creation. Blind fold one person at a time, give them a stick and stand back. This halloween party decoration is about to become history.

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