How to Make a Shark Pinata

shark closeup image by Adam Edwards from

Papier mâché is a versatile medium for making pinatas in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A pinata can be lively entertainment for both young and old at any birthday party and can be customized to fit any theme. For a party with an underwater or pirate theme, a pinata in the shape of a man-eating shark can be ideal. Since papier mâché is a kid-friendly activity, the birthday boy or girl can help with the shark's creation.

Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Mix together the flour and the rest of the cold water and add it to the hot water. Bring the mixture to a boil again, then remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture cool. When the paste becomes thick, it is ready to use.

Inflate one of the balloons to the size you want the shark's torso to be. Inflate a second balloon to half the size of the first to create the tail and inflate the last two balloons to half the size of the second to create the upper and lower jaw. Tape the balloons together with masking tape, creating the rough frame of the shark.

Cut the newspaper into strips. Dip the strips in the paste and pull the strip through your fingers to remove excess paste. Lay the strips over the balloons to form the body of the shark, leaving a 2-inch square at the top for the candy to be placed inside. Smooth out the strips so there are no creases or wrinkles. This process may take several layers and several days to complete. Let each layer dry completely for 24 hours before starting a new layer. To fill crevices and give the shark a better shape, fill areas with crumpled balls of newspaper and continue to layer over them with paste strips. Continue this process until the shape is to your liking.

Cut out four fin shapes using your scissors and cardboard: one for the dorsal fin, two for the front fins and one for the tail fin. Using masking tape, tape the fins to your pinata. Place a layer of newspaper strips over the fins to secure them to the pinata. Wait until the entire pinata dries completely.

Paint your shark pinata. If you are going for a natural shark look, use gray or blue paint for the skin and use red paint for inside the mouth. Paint eyes and gills on the shark. Wait for the paint to dry. Cut triangles out of the white paper and glue them to the shark's mouth to create teeth.

Pop the balloons inside the pinata and carefully peel them from the inside walls. Make sure the inside of the pinata is dry before filling the pinata with candy. Punch four holes in the top of the pinata and thread a loop through each pair of holes. Tie a long string to the two loops so you can suspend the pinata from a rafter or tree.