DIY Mini Piñata: Easy Steps to Make Your Own
Nothing says “¡Feliz Cumpleanos!” or brightens up a day like a mini piñata! Follow our easy instructions to make your own mini piñata and share some Hispanic and Latino/x culture with your loved ones. Perfect for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, National Piñata Day, and more!
By Lindsay López-Isa Lamken
Get on the “Beaten” Path
The piñata is an iconic part of Hispanic and Latino/x culture, and the history of the piñata stretches back hundreds of years and across continents! In Latin America, the piñata traditionally was used to celebrate religious holidays until, over time, it became the highlight of children’s birthday parties. The piñata also has become very popular in the U.S. — you can find one in almost any store in the country that sells party supplies.
Good Things Come in Small Donkeys
While we love a great, big piñata (and party), sometimes you need to celebrate in a more “personal” way. That’s where our awesome mini piñata comes in. Our mini version of the piñata is perfect as a small gift holder or for sending a message to a special someone:
- Surprise a classmate on their birthday by filling a mini piñata with their favorite candies and putting it in their locker or backpack.
- Hide a mini piñata with a special treat inside and arrange a “Piñata Scavenger Hunt” for your little sib’s or cousin’s birthday.
- Mom’s birthday? We’ve got you covered. Fill a piñata with a “Will Do the Dishes” coupon.
- And why stop at birthdays? How about Valentine’s Day! National Piñata Day (yes, that’s a thing)! Congratulate a grad!
- Want to ask someone to prom? Leave them a mini piñata with a note popping the question inside!
A mini piñata is WAY more exciting than a card and wrapping paper. Bonus: You get to share a bit of Hispanic and Latino/x culture and heritage with friends and family!
Our DIY mini piñata instructions are simple and only require a few basic supplies, so . . .
Let’s Make a Mini Piñata
What you’ll need to make a mini piñata:
- 2 large cereal boxes (we recommend “Giant” or “Family Size” boxes with 2½ – 3 inch sides)
- Party streamers in your favorite colors (3 or 4)
- Packing tape or painter’s tape
- Double sided “scotch” (gift wrap) tape
- 2 “googly” eyes (about 1 inch in diameter)
- A marker
- Pom poms and glue (optional)
- Lateenz DIY Mini Piñata Pattern
Download the Lateenz DIY Mini Piñata Pattern and print it out. Then cut out the shape of the burro.
Unfold each cereal box and cut it along the edges into four pieces (front, back, and 2 sides). (You will only need one front and back, but you will need all 4 sides.)
Place the piñata pattern on the front piece of the cereal box and trace around the edges. Repeat with the back piece of the cereal box. Cut out the burro shapes from the front and back pieces of the cereal box.
Take one of the burro cutouts and one of the side pieces of the cereal box. Place a piece of packing tape along the edge of one of the side pieces. Then cut slits in the packing tape every inch or so (to make it easier to fold down later).
Starting at the back of the burro’s neck and working in the direction of the burro’s snout, begin gluing/taping the edges of the burro cut out and one of the side pieces together.
Keep going all around the edge of the burro until your each the place the place where the burro’s tail would be. (You will probably need three cereal box side pieces for this.)
Remember to stop when you get to the level of the burro’s tail.
Take the remaining burro cutout and tape it to the other edge of the side pieces.
This piñata is too small (and cute!) to smash, so next we’re going to create a flap to cover the back of the burro that can be opened by lifting the burro’s tail (so that the lucky person who gets your piñata can get to the goodies inside).
Make the flap by taking a side piece and cutting it about an inch longer than the open space between the bottom of the burro’s neck and its tail. Tape one end of the flap to the bottom of the burro’s neck. (This is what a finished piñata looks like with the flap pulled up for stuffing.)
Now you are ready to start decorating the outside of the piñata using double-sided tape and crepe paper streamers. Put some double-sided tape on the bottom of both of the burro’s “feet” and then cover with pieces of streamer.
Next, cut a really long piece of streamer (about 7 feet) and fold it in half lengthwise. Cut slits on one side of the folded streamer about 1/4 – 1/2 inch apart to make a fringe (be careful only to fringe one side).
Repeat this process for every color streamer you plan to use on the pinata.
Once you have folded and fringed your streamers, you are ready to start sticking them to the piñata. You will be working from the bottom to the top. Start by placing double stick tape around the bottom of one of the burro’s legs. (You will likely be taping on top of the crepe paper that you used to cover the bottoms of the burro’s “feet.”)
Then stick one row of the prepared streamer around the leg (the fringe should be on the outside).
Cut the streamer when you complete a row and then continue with the next row.
Continue taping and wrapping the prepared streamers all the way up the burro’s body. We changed color every two layers, but you can use whatever colors and patterns you want!
(For underneath the belly and for the top of the tail flap, just cover with strips of prepared streamers.)
Next, you will make the eyelashes. Cut a one-inch strip of streamer in whatever color you want for the lashes, fold in half lengthwise (as before) and cut a fringe, but this time cut the fringe through both layers of the folded streamer. Then tape the fringed streamer around the back of one of the googly eyes.
Repeat the process with the other eye. Attach the eyes to the piñata with double sided tape. As a final step, you can glue pom poms on the piñata if you want. (We like putting pom poms on the ears.)
Filling Your Mini Pinata
So now that you’ve got an adorable miñata, it’s time to fill it. Start with some “padding,” like leftover prepared streamers cut into 6-inch lengths. Or make some crinkle stuffing by cutting colored paper into thin strips of paper and folding them accordion style, like in the photo below.
Then, add some goodies. If you need some ideas, we’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the best piñata treats for teens!
For more fun activities for Hispanic and Latino/x teens, and to find out about internships, programs, competitions and scholarships for middle and high school students (many of which do outreach to Hispanic and Latino/x teens), be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
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