Unicorn Pinata

The birthday princess will love this unicorn pinata!

Make this amazing SMASHTERPIECE! 


Age: 12 and up

Difficulty: Medium

Time scale: 4 out of 5


  • Paper mâché paste
  • Newspaper strips
  • printer paper or scrap paper 8.5x10 inches
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rag
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic container
  • Paint brushes
  • Glue gun/glue sticks
  • 24 inches Pastel colored garland
  • 36 inch piece of Heavy string or yarn
  • Craft paint:

            Medium Brown

            Dark Brown




            Light and medium purple

  • Wrapped candies and goodies for inside

How to Make a Unicorn Pinata

Crumple 2 sheets of newspaper (thick) into a 6x7 inch ball that is flattened slightly on two sides. Add more newspaper, if you need to enlarge this.


Now, crumple a piece of newspaper to measure about 3.5 x 4 inches, also slightly flattened.

The larger piece is the head and the smaller, the muzzle.

Use hot glue and masking tape to hold the pieces, end to end together.

Shaping crumpled newspaper can be a bit challenging. Prepare to wrestle with it a bit. If you just can't get the paper to cooperate, use tinfoil over top, to rein it in. Rein... haha.



Crumple another sheet of newspaper so it measures 3 inches on one end and 4.5 on other and about 5.5 inches long.

Hot glue and tape the slighter smaller end on, a bit less than a 45 degree angle


Crumple newspaper into a 1 inch oval shaped ball. Make two.

Cover with masking tape.


I searched for a real unicorn but couldn't find one. (Imagine that.) Instead, I used photos of horses as a reference.

Even though I grew up around horses, I still had some trouble with correct eye placement. Why the eyes? Don't know. The head shape wasn't really an issue. It was mostly just the eyes.

Time to mix up the paper mâché paste and get dipping.

Dip a 1 inch strip of newspaper into paste.

Wipe off excess.

Cover eyeballs with 3 layers of newspaper.

Let dry.

Use 2 inch wide strips of newspaper to cover the head and neck of the unicorn pinata.

Leave the bottom of the neck open. Do not cover over.

Do 2-3 layers.



Fold a piece of newspaper over on itself into a triangle shape 5.5 inches long by about 3 inches wide at the bottom.

Cover with paste.


Bend, curving inwards, starting down 2 inches from the top point. Curve in more as you work your way down to the bottom.

Bend a 1 inch strip outwards at the bottom. (Opposite direction of the curve) Now make another one and try to get it the same size.

Let dry.

Hot glue ears to the head. Check the photos for reference. This is a measurement, I didn't take and the unicorn pinata has already been given away!



Not the beep, beep kind.

Roll up an 8.5 x 10 inch piece of paper so it comes to a point at one end. It should be about 1 inch wide across the bottom.


Cut about 2 inches off the bottom to make it straight.


Use scissors or a sharp knife to poke a hole in the top center of the forehead on the unicorn pinata.

Insert horn into this hole.

As you can see from the photo, I was not happy with the original hole. It should be down from the top of the head and angled forward.

The great thing about paper mache is, make a mistake and it can be easily fixed. Patching is no problem.


Hot glue in place from the outside and inside. To glue the inside, reach down in through the neck hole of the unicorn pinata. This works better if you are using a small glue gun.

You did remember to leave the neck open, right?

Make sure the horn is well attached.


Dip a 2 inch wide strip of newspaper in paste and twist tightly.

There should be quite a bit of paste on this. As you twist, the excess will come off.


Wind the twisted newspaper strip in a spiral, around and up the horn.

Let dry. It is important to leave this dry, before applying any more strips over top. This twisted paper is quite thick and needs to remain uncovered, so it will dry properly.

Add 3 layers of newspaper on the outside of the horn.


Add more shape to the head by pushing in on some areas and adding small crumpled pieces in other spots.

If you study a picture of a horse head, you will notice bulges above the eyes.

There is also a slightly sunken in area at the temples. Did you know these will sink in deeper on a thirsty horse?


Poke holes in sides of head and insert the oval balls, for the eyes. They should be partially inset into the holes.

Too deep and they will disappear into the head. Not far enough, you will have a bug eyed unicorn piñata.

Hot glue in place.


Continue to add more details with twisted and crumpled bits of newspaper.

If newspaper is not building up the form the way you would like it to, try crumpled tinfoil, instead. It is an easy cheat, that can really be helpful, when trying to add that extra detail.

Crumple the tinfoil into the shape you want and hot glue it in place. I just used twisted and crumpled paper. There are still times I do use tinfoil, if I can't get the shape just right, using crumpled paper.


Use small strips of newspaper to cover the upper and lower part of the eyes for the eyelids.

The upper lid covers about on third of the top of the eye.

The lower lid only covers a small part of the eyeball.  


Twist a strip of newspaper and make an oval shape to start building the nostril.

Let dry.


I wasn't happy with the shape of the nose, so I had to work on it a bit more. Sometimes, you have to make adjustments, along the way. It also depends on how fussy you want to be. I wanted to have the unicorn pinata easily recognizable. Yes, it could have been even more detailed. This was suppose to be a Smashterpiece not a masterpiece, so.... I decided not to fret over it too much.


Poke a small hole in the head of the unicorn pinata, just ahead of the horn.

Cut a piece of heavy string or yarn 36 inches long.

Make a large Knot in one end.

Thread string through hole, with the knot on the inside.

Hot glue in place, both on the inside and outside. This will need to be attached well. The weak spot on this unicorn pinata, can actually end up being the string.

Cover inside, over top of the knot with 2 layers of paper mache strips.

Let dry.

Cover entire piece with 2 more layers of newspaper strips. Pay close attention to where the ears and horn attach to the head.

Let dry.


Gently remove all the crumpled newspaper stuffing. (Pull it out from the bottom opening in the neck.) Be careful near the eyes and horn; some of the newspaper may be stuck here. Pull too hard and you may damage the inside, where the horn is attached. You may even rip the eyeballs out, from the inside. Sounds painful! It isn't painful for the unicorn pinata, BUT...I did do this and it is just kind of annoying. Oops! Not gentle enough.

Check for thin spots. Apply more newspaper strips, if necessary but don't make this too tough. Sometimes, I get a bit carried away and then it gets difficult to break. Yes, that makes the smashing take longer, but it can be a little hard on the contents inside!


Fill the unicorn pinata with wrapped candies and prizes. Example: Small toys, stickers, bouncy balls, bubble gum, etc.

You will be amazed at how much you can actually get in here.


Tuck a piece of dry newspaper down into the neck opening over the goodies.

Apply masking tape over top. This will help prevent paper mache paste from absorbing into the candies.

Apply 3 - 4 layers of paper mâché strips.

Let dry.

Unicorn Pinata  
No one misses out

I have a rule when it comes to a birthday event like this. There is enough to be divided equally with the same or similar items. It doesn't seem fair that he who grabs fastest, grabs mostEST. I've tried that and it just doesn't work out very well. By the time the kid with the blindfold gets it off, the treats are all gone. SO.... Everything has to be divided up equally, after the grabbing. It teaches kids to share. They can still have fun collecting the treats, after they spill out, but no one goes away empty handed. Even the shy, more reserved kids get their share.


When the paper mâché is completely dry, it's time to add some paint.

Base coat with 2 layers of white, water based craft paint.

Let dry.


Paint the eyeballs a medium brown.

Add a darker brown center.

Let dry.

Paint on White highlights.

Use a liner brush to paint a watered down black outline on the inner edge of the eyelid.


The horn is painted medium pink. What pink? Pick a perfectly, pretty, pastel pink that you like.

Don't want pink? Pick whatever color you want.


Mix medium purple paint, 3 parts paint to 1 part water.

Apply to the unicorn pinata.

Leave on for about 60 seconds.

Wipe gently with a damp rag.

This is a black wash technique but with purple paint. Just because it is normally called black washing, doesn't mean you have to always use black paint! I really like this method. It adds extra dimension to many of my paper mâché projects.


The mane:

Glue a piece of garland, part way down the forehead and all the way along the head and back of the neck.

This happens to be a multi-colored Easter garland.

Cut 2 more pieces, about 3 inches long. Hot glue in between the ears, falling forward onto the forehead.

The unicorn pinata may end up being more of a work of art than a smasher. If so, the bottom can be carefully sliced open and the candies removed, without causing major damage.

The birthday girl who received this, decided she liked it soooo much, she just didn't want to smash it! I was pleased with her decision!

Make this for a fun party activity or a special keepsake. Either way, this unicorn pinata is sure to be a real hit!

  1. Make Craft Projects
  2.  ›
  3. Paper Mache
  4.  ›
  5. Unicorn Pinata

Featured Craft of the Month

Looking for Halloween Craft Ideas? These ones will keep you busy!