Sunday, January 22, 2012

Make a Kick Bag Pinata

Because even Ninjas love pinatas....

Don't let the title of this post fool you, I'm no pinata sensei.  I don't even know if "kick bag" is a real term in martial arts. I'm just here to share my attempt at making a kick bag pinata in case there are any other crazy people out there that might have a similar idea in their head.  Maybe my feeble attempt could help someone else design a masterpiece!

How To's

1) Start by blowing up three balloons that you will need to form the shape of your pinata. You will only need two, but your kid may steal one while you are working on this, or one may pop, so having an extra will preserve some of your sanity for later!  I chose the balloon size based on a cross between the target size appropriate for 7 year olds and the cargo I wanted the pinata to hold.

2)  Next, make two cardboard circles the approximate diameter of your balloons.  The easiest way to draw a circle is to find something round in your house that matches the diameter you need and trace it. 

3)  Use an awl to poke two holes through one of your card board pieces.  Loop a string through and tie it.  This will be your hanging point (top of pinata).

3)  I wasn't sure this would work either!  It sure doesn't look convincing, does it?  I connected the balloons with masking tape loops.  One balloon popped while I was fidgeting with it, so I didn't adjust it much, figuring that I'd shape it with the paper instead.  Also, I added a tag board collar to strengthen the connection between balloons.

4)  Make your favorite pinata paste (whisk a half cup flour into two cups of cold water while heating 2 more cups water to boiling in microwave, add the heated water to the flour mixture and bring to boil on stove top, take off heat, stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar) and rip some newspaper into 1-2 inch wide strips.

5)  Cover the balloon contraption in 2 coats of pasted paper.  I used really long strips and covered the whole thing in overlapping, lengthwise strips that went from cardboard to cardboard.  For the second layer, I added diagonals and horizontals.  Note:  I was striving for completion, not perfection.  Of course my kids "need" me most when I am busy (sticky!), not to mention that this was quite a finger freezing project for outside in January...  I'm sure I got three layers in some parts and one in others! 

6)  Let the contraption dry!  It took two days in this winter climate. I transferred it between sunny windows and heaters to get it nice and stiff.

7)   Add another coat or two of pasted paper and go through that drying routine again.

8)  Using an exacto blade, cut a hole in the dried pinata.  Remove the balloons and tag board collar.  (I chose the top of the punching bag for the hole, thinking that most kids would end up hitting the thing low than high, so the pinata would last longer...)

9)  Fill the pinata!  I put in stuffed "shurikens," or ninja stars (tutorial to come soon!), and starburst candies.  The kids (of course) didn't get the starry pun with the candy selection, but it still makes me grin.  I just wanted a little bit of candy for fun, but not so much to overload the kiddos. We'd have more sugar later, no worries!

I sure had fun loading this pinata.  The shurikens looked so cute (I know, I know! There is something seriously wrong with making a plush lethal weapon and calling it cute!).  I apologized to them for the torturous pounding they were soon to endure.

10)  I covered the cut marks on the hatched opening with masking tape, then continued the masking tape in a similar pattern over the entire pinata.  Knowing that I was just going to spray paint this thing, I was worried that the tape lines would be too obvious.  The pattern was very successful-- the opening was completely disguised, even from me!

11)  A couple of quick coats of 97 cent spray paint and we were done!  I was worried that it wouldn't be fancy enough... but kick bags aren't really supposed to be fancy.  At the party, none of the kids said anything about it (except ME FIRST, of course). 

Recognize that pinata holder?  I am getting so much use out of those joust supports from last year's knight party.  Who'd guess? :)

Everyone had at least one turn to kick it, and about half had two tries.  An adult held it so it could be adjusted to the height of each ninja.  Of course, he raised it and lowered it occasionally to keep things lively! What could be better than a room full of giggling ninjas?


  1. This is great!!! Thank you for showing me how to make this! Im having a karate party for my son and finding an original and inexpensive pinata idea looked impossible up until this point. THANK YOU!

  2. How Fun! Great ideas!

  3. I tried making this, I didn't even get the first layer on before the newspaper ripped at the top and the whole thing broke!!!! Also, my newspaper isn't long enough to go cardboard to cardboard, it was gong about half way. I used regular 12 inch size balloons. do you know what the problems may have been? My son's birthday is on the 11th, he really wants this! But I'm not sure I can pull it off!

    1. Oh no! I am so sory to hear of your trouble! I've made this twice now but the balloons were from the dollar store... maybe size is the key. The cardboard circles are about 7" in diameter.

  4. how do you make the stuffed shurikens?????

    1. It is as simple as cutting out the star shape and stuffing it. I'd be happy to email you my pattern and details though.

  5. Hi, I am loving this idea and reckon my son will love it too, so thanks for posting! I was wondering if you wouldn't mind emailing me the instructions for the plush ninja stars as well please?? If so I will send on my email address. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for posting, this looks perfect for my son's party coming up! I was also wondering how u made those plush ninja stars??? Thanks.