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Make Easy Fall Themed Pinatas using Gourds
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 09/10/2010 - 15:36
I just had to try this out to see if it would work!
I have been thinking for some time that gourds would make the greatest "ready-made" pinata forms! And, you know what? It turns out they do!! No paste and layers of newspaper strips and drying and more strips..... None of that yucky stuff!
When I fished the gourd under all this orange tissue paper out of the gourd bin the whole bottom was rotted and crumbly. But it is my favorite gourd shape and it was nice and big so I took it home and cut away all the bad bottom parts. It had great potential to be a squash shaped pinata!
Say hello to my not quite finished not so scary ghost pinata made from a fish or club gourd.
The Pumpkin Patch always has a bunch of these in their gourd bins but I have been stumped about what to do with them.
And then one day a light went off in one of those dusty corners of my brain and I thought - GHOST - of course!
Amish Gourds is a great place to order gourds if you can't get your hands on them locally. I especially appreciate that they make their gourds available individually so that you don't have to purchase a whole box. And they are already clean!
My personal favorites are Martin (kettle) gourds, Tobacco Box gourds and Copper Canyon Canteens because the make great boxes - and I just plain love the shape. But check out these cool warty gourds! Just in time for Halloween! And these are pretty cool too - they are called Apple gourds.
Making a Pinata using a gourd is very, very easy.
You just want to make sure you don't get a really hard shelled gourd. Both of the gourds used in these pinatas were easily cut using a fine blade pumpkin carving saw that you can find in any pumpkin carving kit now showing up in markets everywhere!
And instructions for turning a gourd into a pinata below!
Once the outside of your gourd is cleaned, cut a fairly large hole in the bottom or the side, depending on the shape. Remove the seeds and dried pulp from the inside. I like to scrape down the inside walls with a spoon to remove loose material and then wash with water and let dry.
Fill the cavity with your favorite candies but be sure to only use wrapped candy in your gourd pinata.
Smear regular Mod Podge (or white glue or wheat paste) on the outer surface of the gourd and the outer surface of the piece that was cut from the gourd. Just don't let it drip on the candy!
Place the cut out piece back into place and immediately cover the cutting seam with newspaper.
Apply another coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the newspaper. Let dry and add another coat if you like. I didn't seem to need the second coat of Mod Podge.
While the Mod Podge dries, prepare tissue or crepe paper strips in the colors of your choice.
Cut your paper into 2" wide strips. I like to stack several sheets to make cutting faster.
Now cut each strip into 2" squares.
Cut each square making cuts about every 3/16" from the bottom edge to within 1/2" inch of the top edge. Again, cutting several layers at the same time makes cutting go much faster.
Starting at the bottom of the Pinata, smear Mod Podge over about a 2" wide strip all around the gourd and begin attaching your tissue strips placing them so that the ruffle edge is toward the bottom and the straight, uncut edge is toward the top of the pinata.
Continue applying Mod Podge and paper strips, working from bottom to top, until the gourd is completely covered.
Embellish as desired! I happened to have saved a bit of paper covered wire that was originally used in packing my Christmas Tree. It worked perfectly as tendrils for the squash and the antennae for a Wooly Worm (the pinata you see me building here.
Easy isn't it? Have fun!
Addendum! I just received a comment from Sarah asking "do they still break easily when you hit them?"
Other than having dropped a few and watched them crack and break, I have to admit, I actually have never attempted whacking one with a stick! I have just assumed the gourds would meet a fate similar to that of being dropped!
So in the interest of finding out, I whacked one of my old wannabe bird houses. One whack and success!
Does the added coat of Mod Podge make a difference? Nope! Three whacks this time using a 1/2" thick stick.
I think the cut out actually weakens the gourd enough to make it break fairly easily. And if you will note - I do suggest not using the thick, hard shelled gourds for this project.
And I found that the gourd pinata broke cleanly - no shattering. I like that in a pinata!
Thank you so much Sarah for your great question.
Some time ago, I designed these very tiny pinatas to be used as an Advent Calendar. But I am thinking they would be great made with small gourds! Much less trouble to make and very light weight! What do you think?