Monday, January 27, 2014

motorcycle pull-string piñata

As previously mentioned, the kiddo had picked a flying theme for this year's birthday party a few months back, then fell in love with a motorcycle piñata at the local grocery store. I've only ever heard of one flying motorcycle, and thought that might be stretching the theme a bit. So I put together the hot air balloon piñata from the last post for his friends party, and then set to work making a motorcycle piñata for his family party.

I've seen the construction on some of the commercially available piñatas, and I'm not super-impressed. I know they're meant to break, but I still like things to look pretty. Lots of crepe, nice graphics. These things all go pretty far, in my book.

Here's a photo of our finished motorcycle pull-string piñata, to be followed by instructions.

I had all these materials on-hand except for the ribbon:

*scrap cardboard
*hot glue
*glue sticks
*crepe paper streamers
*construction paper
*shiny gold labels
*fine-tip permanent pen
*curling ribbon
*craft knife
*computer + printer

I started by designing a motorcycle image in AdobeIllustrator. I could have printed the image in full color and used it as-is to decorate the piñata, but I wanted a more hand-crafted look.

I used an awl to trace each piece onto sheets of construction paper by poking through the layers of paper to outline each section (doubling up the construction paper so I could decorate the front and back of the piñata identically). Then I cut out the pieces and used a glue stick to stick them together.

The gold colored pieces are cut from sheets of gold awards seals from the dollar store that have been gathering dust for eons.

I used the constructed motorcycle image to determine the size of the piñata, too, by tracing around it and adding a couple of inches. Two identical pieces for two identical sides! We're building a sort of box, here, if that helps you visualize.

For the sides, I cut strips of scrap cardboard four inches wide, perpendicular to the corrugations. This allowed me to bend the board all along the corrugations for nice, smooth curves.

If you plan ahead, you can incorporate the factory creases into your strips, or you can score along the length leaving a 1/2-inch strip along each side for building the piñata. It's a lot like a seam allowance; I cut slits and "v" shapes into the edges for proper fitting when assembling.

A hot glue gun does the trick for quickly assembling the pieces without clamping. I just glued along the edge on the backside of one of the motorcycle-shaped boards, then pressed the "seam allowance" into the glue all the way around. I started at the bottom so that I wouldn't have to cut a door later.

To add the top (front?) I just glued along the corrugated edge and lined things up as best I could. Crepe paper covers a world of imperfections.

Speaking of crepe paper, I attached short strips of fringed paper in a stripe pattern all around, then pasted the construction paper motorcycles on the front and back.

The overlaps at the end of the side strips aren't glued in place; they are left unattached so that a trap door is created. Ribbons are strung through awl holes and tied + taped in place.

A sparkly pipe cleaner makes a good hanger when strung through awl holes at the top.

And ready to go!

Click photos to enlarge.