I am CRAZY about DIY birthday parties for children. Just before my son turned 1 I decided that we just had to do an over the top DIY Dr. Seuss party and I was going to make the stuff all by myself. After the first two birthday parties I had finally figured out DIY takes time to pull off your big ideas and so now that my son is finally 3 going on 33 I start planning his party almost immediately after the last one. Next year for his 4th birthday we are planning a pirate party and of course that needed the perfect piñata!
Today I am going to teach you how to make a Pirate Ship piñata. Despite there being many steps, this is actually a pretty simple piñata to create. It’s low on mess compared to the traditional paper mache variety with all of the paste and if you are doing a pirate party you can customize this with any colors your little one wants. I chose these colors as a nod to Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
Card board boxes
Cardboard tubes of different diameters (save all your tubes you can make your own, but its a lot more work) I used tubes from my alluminum foil, dry cleaner hanger, and TP tubes
Crepe Paper (brown for a wood look) and other desired colors
Hot glue and glue gun
Small punch hole puncher
Step 1: I searched Pinterest for instructions on making a cardboard toy boat and increased the dimension for the scale I wanted for a pinata (around 18 inches in length). I started by drawing the first side and tracing it for the other side, then I made the bottom with a triangular shaped tip and a square piece for the back. I traced the bottom onto another longer piece of cardboard so that I could fold it into place allowing for enough extra to fold it to create the platform on the front (see picture) and then taped it together with masking tape. I recommend that you use the brown crepe paper folded into strips wide enough to simulate wood planks and glue slightly over lapping for the inside of your ship and the deck before assembling together. Make sure to leave a hole big enough to fill your pinata with your toys and treats. Create a square piece for the upper deck covering it with crepe paper.
Step 2: Assemble the sides together using masking tape and then add some hot glue for exra support. Glue your upper deck into place by gluing shims to each side and then glue on top.
Step 3: Create the windows cutting out cardboard and the back round piece of your ship. Secure to your ship with more masking tape. I traced an enlarged image of a pirate hat for the back of the ship and taped it onto the back of the ship.
Step 4: Cut out cardboard for your roder and the wooden support pieces for your window box covering with brown crepe paper. Next use hot glue to secure in place.
Step 4: Decorate the exterior in your desired colors using a glue stick to secure in place (I started with Elmer’s Glue, but it was messy and showed through the layers making it look sloppy. The glue stick was cleaner and easier to use). I chose red, blue, and yellow as a nod to Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
Step 5: To make the glass panes on the windows use long rolled up strips of black crepe paper and then trim out three windows with brown crepe paper rolled up to create three window frames on all three sides gluing into place.
Step 6: To build the stairs cut out six rectangle pieces and three square pieces, cover with brown crepe paper. Glue together to assemble steps and then cut out a square piece covered with crepe paper for the side of the stairs.
Step 7: Build the upper deck railing by cutting out a rectangle the height of the edge of the boat cutting out a rectangle in the center. Cover the edges with brown crepe paper and then fold pieces of streamers into fourths and cover the front and back edges gluing together all but the last layer. Next fold in the crepe paper into desired strips for cross beams of your railing and affix to the back in an “X” pattern. Glue the ends on the inside of the last layer of the outer frame and then glue the last layer over the top.
Step 8: Cut out a long slim piece of cardboard for the railing and cover with more brown crepe paper and glue into place.
Step 9: To make your ships wheel, cut out a square tall enough for your ship wheel to be secured to, cover with crepe paper and then glue to the deck of your ship in “v” shape. Next take a 1/2″ long slender piece of cardboard and wrap crepe paper around it until it appears to be a cylinder. Glue this close to the top of the “v”. Next roll crepe paper into two circles, one larger than the other and set aside. Roll four long strips of crepe paper together creating points on both ends with glue and then glue to the circles to create your ship wheel. Finally glue it to the end of the cylinder.
Step 10: I used the cardboard tubes from the dry cleaning hangers for the poles of my sails, gluing crepe paper on the outside and then I cut holes in the ship deck just big enough to push the poles through and hot glued into place. I ran string through the center pole to give myself the rope needed to hang up the pinata later on.
Step 11: To make your sails, fold different colors of crepe paper in half gluing in the center and then just slightly overlap until it’s your desired width.
Step 12: For each pole make a cross board out of cardboard with crepe paper glued around it.
Step 13: Tie a piece of rope around one end of the cross board and then run it down the lenth of the desired sail and the run that accross the bottom of the sail and wrap the sail around the bottom making it look partly rolled up tieing on the other side of the pole.
Step 14: To make my crows nest I cut off a piece of a TP roll in the size I wanted and then I wrapped crepe paper around the inside and out until it was completely covered cutting off an end and gluing it place. For the bottom I overlapped crepe paper and glued it into place. Then I cut a hole in the bottom just big enough to put over the pole and then glued it into place with hot glue.
Step 15: The front sail was glued over two pieces of cardboard covered in crepe paper to look like boards and wrapped up to look like it wasn’t opened.
Step 17: I used the aluminum foil cardboard tube for the cannons, cutting it into six pieces of the same size and then covered it with crepe paper using the same technique as I did for the crows nest. Next I balled up black crepe paper and then covered the end with one piece to make it appear flat so it would look like the cannons were firing cannon balls.
Step 18: I cut out two skull shapes and covered them with black crepe paper and the number four (my son is turning 4 next year) and then I glued on the back with the number and on the front. I then covered my finger with chalk and rubbed the skulls and numbers to make the details of the eye socket stand out better.
Step 19: I created two black flags for my posts folding the crepe paper in half and then folding it together to look like it was wind blown before securing in place. To make the skull for the jolly roger flag I drew a skull onto white cepe paper and I cut it out. I used a small hole punch to make the eye sockets and then I glued it to the flag.
Step 20: To make the rope ladder taped four pieces of string to my table evenly spaced and then hot glued a cross section of string for each rung into place making it get narrow towards the end. Then trim the ends and glue onto the pinata.
Step 21: Cut out a rectangle piece and decorate it with brown crepe paper. Once you are ready to fill your pinata glue this into place underneath the upper decks railing to hide the hole in the front of the ship.
Happy crafting! I hope these instructions help you make the best pinata ever!