Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do It Yourself: Disco Ball Pinata

The finished disco ball pinata!

Sylvia turned 8 years old this week, and for her birthday she asked for a Girls Only Dance Party. Luckily enough, my mother owns her own DJ and Karaoke business, so we had the lights and the music covered. This left me with a little time to think about the decorations! 

We found small and large sized disco ball ornaments which we hung around the room, but the centerpiece of the decorations was our homemade disco ball pinata!

Here are some directions so you can make you own!

Disco Ball Pinata   
1 Large Paper Lantern (or 36" balloon or large beach ball)
1 batch of wheat paste (see below for a link)
newsprint (either newspaper or actual newsprint)
black paint
tacky glue
5 - 12" x 12" sheets of silver reflective cardstock cut into 1" squares

I made our pinata on a paper lantern. While this made it easier to hang and a little faster to make, if I were to do it again, I would use a 36" balloon or a beach ball for the base shape because the paper lantern didn't break well    

Whichever base form you use, start by applying two to three coats of paper mache. There is a fine line between not enough and too much. Too few layers will make a very weak pinata, while too many layers will require a wrecking ball to break open. I try to keep the paper mache to two-three layers because this seems about right. Leave a hand sized hole at the top of the ball for filling and hanging. If you are using a balloon or beach ball, reinforce the top of the pinata with several extra layers of paper mache as this will be where the weight of the pinata is borne. Allow the paper mache to dry COMPLETELY before proceeding to the next step.
 If you are using a balloon or beach ball, carefully deflate and remove it from the center of the pinata. I usually slip my hand inside and help ease the balloons away from the sides so as to prevent the paper mache from sticking to the balloon and collapsing as the balloon deflates.  If you have used a paper lantern, continue to the next step without removing the lantern.  
Paint the entire ball black (or whatever color you would prefer to see sticking out between the mirror "tiles"
After the paint is completely dry (wet paint will encourage the mirror paper to curl), using tacky glue (or hot glue) begin applying the mirror tiles in a straight row around the middle of the ball. The tacky glue was much easier to use but did cause minor curling of the paper. Hot glue may work better if you are experiencing a lot of curling. 
Keep adding rows until you reach the top and bottom. 
I found it useful to cut some of the squares in half as I got to the final rows on the bottom of the ball. I also looked at the bottoms of pre-made disco balls to get an idea of how the tiles would best fit together. 

The paper lantern will have two hanging tabs built into the lantern. Otherwise,  made three holes at least an inch into the ball to hang the pinata. 

Here is our finished pinata as the centerpiece at the dance party! We rigged it up so that it could be lowered down at the end of the party.

Wheat Paste Link: