Papier Pulpo

Few things remind me of youth more than making too big of a deal about your Birthday, Papier-mâché, and Elmer’s Glue. This is perfect because I am about to turn Twenty-EIGHT years OLD. Save your comments, people who are older than me, I know…you are older, and I am lucky to be “young” still….ugh. I feel Old…. SO…..I decided to make myself the first piñata ever to be smashed in my honor. I am making an exception, seeing as how this IS a FOOD blog, because this is filled with Candy….food. I think I am the only person who has never had their own piñata before, and I really think it is about time.

I had something very particular in mind when I started the process, and of course, the end product was nothing like it. I was pleasantly surprised as the thing evolved. I went to the dime store, which is a quaint way of saying I went to a large chain store that sells nothing for a dime, but I did buy all of the supplies for this for under $10. 2 Bottles of School Glue, 2 Packets of Blue, Teal and Green Tissue Paper, and Cheap Blue Paint, 1 Punching Balloon, 1 Balloon Animal Kit. As for the paper, I got free newspapers like the RedEye and Hoy en Dia….free. I also had an abundance of flour in my house for the actual papier-mâché glue. I taped the blown up balloon animal balloons(which I carefully bent to make them curvy (like a real octopus)) to the punching balloon body.

At this stage, it reminded me of a Dale Chihuly sculpture, obviously not that much….., but I kept at it. I taped bits of toilet paper rolls to the top to make eye stalk-lets, and covered them too. I let it all dry over a day or two.

Next, I painted it with my cheap paint, and started to cover the mess with squares of tissue paper that I cut out with pinking shears so they were all zig-zaggy, and wrapped them around something like a pencil eraser end. I did this, much like I did in 1st grade or whenever that was. Then I dipped the tip into the glue and stuck them on the surface of the dried papier-mâché. I covered the bulk of the body painting the eyes with a little white paint before covering the area around them.

I covered three quarters of the surface area of the body with the paper, leaving some for cutting the hole to fill the body with candy or other great things.

For the legs, I made a ruffle pattern with alternating colors of stripss of the tissue paper, cha-cha style. There is nothing quite like having tissue paper and Elmer’s glue all over your fingers…

Once I had everything covered, but the one small patch, I cut a hole to fill the piñata with candy. First, I poked two holes in the top of the piñata. I braided a rope with yarn and strung it through the top, so I would have something to hang it with. Once full with candy, I sealed the panel with super glue, then covered the last bit with tissue paper squares. I am ready to smash the crap out of this thing. I am sad that it is something so impermanent, but that is sort of the beauty of the thing…. Hopefully I don’t get a hunk of hair ripped out of my head, like my sister Heather did as a kid, while  I dive for this piñata’s sweet-sweet intestinal tract….


About iliketocookthings

I was born and raised in West Michigan in a small suburban/farming community called Lowell. I grew up cooking. My family has always been centered around the kitchen. Growing up I tended to cook a lot of Italian-American food, seeing as how I am a whopping 25% Sicilian. When I got into high school I got really into Asian cuisine. I went to college at Central Michigan University, and quickly became homesick and insecure about my areas of study (Spanish and Art). I decided to return to the motherland and begin Culinary School after 2.5 years of moderate success in traditional college. Culinary school was a fun experience, and I learned a lot, but I didn't really fit the profile of my fellow classmates. When finished, I moved to Chicago to explore carreer options. My first place of employment outside of Michigan was Green Zebra, where I learned a lot, but quickly learned that I wasn't cut out for the cooks lifestyle. I stuck it out though, and continued working at both of Shawn McClain's restaurants, for about a year and a half. I now work for Whole Foods, and while it is a corporate environment, three of the biggest perks are access to ingredients, the employee discount, and the 8 hour days that allow me time to do what I really want. I am most happy when cooking in my own kitchen for people that I love. I now live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my husband Eric and my cat child Fergus. View all posts by iliketocookthings

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