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How to Make a Ladybug Pinata Without Paper Mache

Holly, a stay-at-home mom of two shares her experiences of DIY crafts and decorations hoping to brighten up someone's day along the way!

Our homemade DIY ladybug pinata

Our homemade DIY ladybug pinata

No Paper Mache

This do-it-yourself ladybug pinata is created using a cardboard box, tissue paper, a black paper plate, pipe cleaner and construction paper (preferably black and white). Using these simple materials my husband and I created a handmade pinata my daughter and her guests could smash to pieces.

How can a pinata made without paper mache withstand the wack of an 8-year-old's pinata stick? Two mirrored images cut from the cardboard box you've tucked away and a whole lot of masking tape, is how your ladybug pinata will withstand such a beating.

I searched online and in stores for a ladybug pinata that would work for my daughter's 8th birthday party. Nothing I could find matched the vision I saw in my mind. Then the lightbulb went off and I realized why buy the pinata, when I can make one!


All You Need to Know to Get Started

Does your niece, daughter or best friend's little girl have a birthday coming up? Have you been tasked with finding the perfect theme, party decorations and games for the little ones to enjoy?

If ladybugs are something the little girl in your life likes then creating this do-it-yourself ladybug pinata will make her birthday celebration one she'll never forget. Using a cardboard box big enough for two ladybug templates and a truckload of masking tape this pinata can withstand those little hands. Tissue paper hides the masking tape, giving your pinata that frayed look; add a little bit of cardstock creativity and you've yourself some awesome looking ladybug dots.

Gather Your Materials

  • Medium sized cardboard box (make sure your box is big enough to create mirror images of your ladybug’s body)
  • 12 sheets of red tissue paper
  • 12 sheets of black tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Elmer's dry clear glue)
  • Masking tape
  • Black paper plate
  • Black cardstock
  • Red cardstock
  • Yellow pipe cleaner

Cardboard Box Cut Into Mirror Images to Create a Body Template

The two cutouts from the cardboard taped together to form the ladybug's body.

The two cutouts from the cardboard taped together to form the ladybug's body.

After the body is taped together you will need to attach the legs.

After the body is taped together you will need to attach the legs.

Step 1. Create Your Body Template

You’ve gathered your materials and now it's time to build that beautiful ladybug and wow your party guests!

The first thing to cross of the to-do list is to grab your cardboard box, black marker, and scissors so you can create a body template for your ladybug. This is the main part of your pinata and where all your candy will be stored. Make sure your box is big enough to make double, the mirror image is what makes the pinata hollow. Personally, the box I used had a circumference of approximately 3 feet and a diameter of approximately 1 ½ feet. This size allowed me to make two identical body templates that would easily connect. If you're anything like my husband and I, your ladybug body might come out looking like an alien spaceship at first. Don't panic just yet, once you add the red and black tissue paper, any basic half shell-shaped template will be transformed in a beautiful ladybug! There are many ways to go about cutting the shape of your template, each person has an individual preference. Personally, I used a black marker and free-handed the shell design before cutting it out. Remember to make a mirror image of your template to create the hollow inside. Once you finish cutting out your template, set it to the side and begin working on step two.

Step 2. Make Some Legs

You have made your ladybug body and wondering what comes next? The ladybug legs of course! How exactly do you make legs for a ladybug piñata? Making any type of insect from a cardboard box takes imagination and patience.

For my daughter's pinata, we used the scraps from the cardboard box that made the body. Taking the scraps and bending them into perfectly shaped little cylinders make for the perfect ladybug leg. Ladybugs are hexapods, meaning that they are an insect with six legs!

Once you wrap the cardboard legs in black frayed tissue paper, your legs will be complete but for now, just build them and connect them to the body with masking tape. After you've made and fastened your legs to the body, it's time to move on to step three.

Step 3. Fringe the Tissue Paper

Get out those scissors and grab your red and black tissue paper, the fun is just beginning. It's time to turn that cardboard ladybug that probably resembles a spaceship more than an insect into a beautiful masterpiece your little ones can smash to pieces.

Tissue Paper Cutting and Gluing Instructions

The red paper will cover the top of the ladybug’s body, while the black will be used for the belly and the ladybug legs. The idea behind the fringed tissue paper is to give the piñata a unique design instead of just painting or coloring it. The paper decor adds beauty to the piñata and allows the artist to add some personal touch to the design. Follow the instructions below to create the perfect fringe for your ladybug piñata.

  1. First you need to cut your strips, making them about 2-inches wide and 6-8 inches in length. You can cut more than one strip at a time by stacking the tissue paper and cutting through multiple layers. This method can save you lots of time and since you're covering the entire piñata with more than one color, having an efficient way to fringe the paper is a great idea.
  2. After you make your strips, it's time to cut the fringe into them. You do this by cutting 1.5-inch-wide slits down the length of your tissue paper strips. Then proceed to cut up into the strip about 1.5-inches so the fringe stays connected along the top of the paper but hangs down when you overlap the pieces.
  3. After you have fringed all the red and black tissue paper, you can begin gluing them onto your ladybug piñata.
  4. Now it's time to take all those fringes and glue them down to the piñata. Make sure you're doing one full strip at a time and wrapping completely around the body. If you wrap the tissue paper in halves around the body of the piñata, the finished product will have visible slits in the fringe. The best technique is to wrap the entire strip around the entire circumference of the piñata body.
  5. Follow the same steps you used on the ladybug's body for the ladybug's legs. Once you have wrapped your entire piñata with the fringe, set it aside to dry and begin working on step four.

It's Starting to Look Like a Ladybug!

wrap your cut strands of tissue paper around your cardboard body. Make sure you're layering your strips and gluing one piece all the way around the body to prevent gaps in your final product.

wrap your cut strands of tissue paper around your cardboard body. Make sure you're layering your strips and gluing one piece all the way around the body to prevent gaps in your final product.

Using the same technique wrap the black tissue paper around the legs and belly.

Using the same technique wrap the black tissue paper around the legs and belly.

Why Did I Fringe the Tissue Paper?

Fringing the tissue paper gives the homemade pinata the same texture and fabulous look as a store bought pinata. Choosing the colors and design of your fringe gives you the opportunity to put your own spin on a classic craft.

Step 4. Give Your Ladybug Piñata a Face

The last step before filling your piñata with candy is to make the ladybug a face. Grab a small paper plate, pipe cleaner, cardstock in all three colors and a sharpie. These are the materials you're going to need when creating the ladybugs head, face and antennas.

  • Small black paper plate
  • Red cardstock
  • White cardstock
  • Black construction paper
  • Black, green or yellow pipe cleaner

The small black paper plate will make a great head for your ladybug piñata. The cardstock and the construction paper will be used for the lips and eyes. The pipe cleaner in whichever color you choose will be used for the ladybug's antennas. Once you have gathered all your materials, the best place to start is by cutting out all of your ladybug’s facial features and gluing them to the paper plate. Follow the steps below to create a face for the piñata.

  1. Take a sharpie and draw your ladybugs lips on the red construction paper. Once you have the lips you want, take your scissors and cut them out. Sit the ladybug lips to the side and grab the white construction paper.
  2. Take your white construction paper and create a pair of eyes. You can do this by making two circles and then use the black paper to make smaller circles. Glue the smaller black circle onto the bigger white circle and voila! Your ladybug has eyes! Add your own personal touch to this project by giving your ladybug blue, green, or yellow eyes instead of black. Remember this article is only a reference and making it the perfect piñata project for you and your family is all that matters.
  3. Once you have your eyes and lips glued onto your plate, you can move onto the antennas. Personally, I cut one pipe cleaner in half and used it for my ladybug's antennas. Once you have the pipe cleaner cut or folded, you can position them onto the head of your pinata. I found it easier to glue the antenna on before the paper plate. It allowed me to have a visual idea of where to place the ladybug's head.
  4. The final step is to attach the ladybug's head/face onto the top of your ladybug’s body. Once the head is positioned and the antennas are glued down, you can sit the piñata aside to fully dry.

Filling the Piñata

The simplest way to fill the piñata is to cut a hole in the ladybug's body. The easiest way I found to accomplish this was by cutting a hole on the top of the ladybug’s shell.

You're probably wondering why we waited until the end of the project to make the candy hole? The reason is to make sure the fringe tissue paper keeps the same patterns all the way around. If the candy hole is cut in the beginning, the pattern of the fringe won't camouflage the hole and the kids will be able to see the pinata's weak spot.

Once you have your candy hole cut, fill the piñata with candy and close her up. The piñata shouldn't be used for at least 24 hours after it has been crafted. Make sure the glue is completely dry before letting the kid's go bananas with their piñata sticks!

Introducing Ms. Ladybug

You've done it! Take a look at your masterpiece and bask in the glory of a job well done. This craft will be the talk of the party and your little one will have so much fun smashing it to pieces with her party guests. Take tons of pictures and enjoy the hard work you put into making this pinata and birthday the most special one yet.