How to make a “monkey” pinata (that may be disguised as a mouse)

For my son Simon’s 4th birthday, my brilliant self decided to make him a pinata. I had adopted him in December and wanted desperately to make this day, my first birthday party as his legal mother, a extra special one. My goal turned out to be a slightly overwhelming, despite not being my first pinata-making endeavor.

My daughter Mali’s infamous 10th Fear Factor Birthday Party. The remaining pieces seconded as fashion accessories.

Because Simon requested a bouncy room and shares over 99% of his DNA with primates, I decided on a monkey theme.


  • newspaper
  • masking tape
  • wax paper
  • strong string, yarn, or zip tie, and glue
  • flour
  • paint brushes and paint (I used tempera and acrylic and highly suggest NOT using lead-based)
  • tooth-rotting candy and/or annoying toys
  • time (ha, ha, ha)
  • patience (see above parenthesis)
  • soap
  • tap water
  • an inflated balloon (any color)
  • cardboard and felt
  • at least one full bottle of Jameson (not optional)
  • a consoling husband
  • a daughter to tell you you’re doing it all wrong

1. Cover your working area with wax paper. This prevents the pinata from damaging your work surface and vice versa. I prefer to work on something mobile (portable breakfast trays) so I can move my project from room to room, drop it, etc. Mentally prepare yourself for a colossal mess. This, unfortunately, is unavoidable.

2. To make the papier mache, mix equal parts flour and water. I start off with a cup of each, but end up using about over two. If you have extra, this can be refrigerated and utilized later.

3. Tear newspaper into manageable strips (~1 1/2 x 5 inches). Dip the strips into the flour/water mixture, then wipe the excess off using your fingers. Paste these strips, overlapping, to the balloon until the majority is covered. *Make not to cover the portion around the balloon’s tie allowing an area where candy can invade. With copious amounts of soap and water attempt to clean up your hands and the flour residue from every object within a 3 mile radius.

4. Allow your project to dry, then repeat Step 3.

5. Again.

6. And again.

7. Allow all three layers to thoroughly dry before having the consoling husband pop the balloon (I’m mildly globophobic. Sh…). This drying process can take up to FOUR days.

8. Envision in your head a fun loving monkey. Using more newspaper, cardboard, and masking tape fail at creating the monkey within your head. Cut out cardboard ears. Ball up facial dimensions with newspaper. Construct a body using the same methods. Tape both to head. Cover with papier mache mixture. Achieve a rodent.

Does he resemble Chuck E. Cheese?

9. Allow it to dry AGAIN.

10. Paint.

11. Paint again.

 Amalia: (referring to my color scheme and placement)YOU’RE VIOLATING THE MONKEY CODE!

12. Have daughter fix your painting and make the monkey appear more monkey-like. (Thanks Mali!)

13. Glue body and head together if so desire. Note: keeping these parts separate may alarm a few guests. It will also take away fun from the children. Less potential destruction = less smiles.

14. Make two holes in the top of the cranium and thread string, yarn, or zip tie for hanging. Fill with candy and then suture the filling hole. I glued a piece of felt over it.

15. Place empty bottle in recyclable bin.

16. Name your primate, baptise it, and call a priest.

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