DIY Death Star Piñata | The Nerd Nest

Jonas’s only request for his fifth birthday party with his friends was a piñata.

I was all set to buy one, but then an artist friend inspired me–she told me about how easy and cheap it is to DIY (though she made a very involved Tie Fighter that sounded amazing and much more involved than this project). I decided to go for it. I remembered really enjoying the process when I made them as a kid.

I quickly gravitated towards a Death Star for the piñata–it’s already a circle! I can do a simple version that will still look good! It’s a satisfying symbol to beat down!

Usually I’d go straight for a balloon, but browsing online to check out the amazing work of those who have gone before me, I spotted this Death Star using a beach ball as a base. Brilliant!

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We already had a popped beach ball (I taped over the hole) to work with. I got to work using strips of newspaper (I used grocery sales ad mailers) and paste (two parts water, one part flour) to cover the beach ball, setting it on a trash can to prevent it from rolling around. Jake also laid out a bunch of towels for me, because 12 seconds in and I was already splashing everywhere.

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The papier-mâché part was simple, if not a little time consuming. Dip a newspaper strip in paste, sluice off the excess paste with your fingers, and lay the strip on the beach ball, smoothing it out. I made sure to overlap strips slightly and change direction of the strips for each layer for extra strength. I did about four layers of newspaper overall.

If you don’t want to paint your project after it dries, you can also do papier-mâché colored tissue paper to decorate it!

This would be a great project to make with kids, if, you know, you weren’t making it the night before you were intending to use it (ahem).

So I had to keep chasing Jonas away or there would have been paste on EVERYTHING.

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I let the Death Star dry overnight, but the part inside the trash can didn’t dry. If you are not a procrastinator, you can flip your project after the top is dry to let the bottom dry. Because I was now at the morning of the party, I grabbed my heat gun and used it to set the still wet papier-mâché.

I used a bowl as a template and cut out a circle for the laser portion of the Death Star. This is a really useful part of the Death Star Design, because I was also able to remove the beach ball through the large hole, add the candy, and put in the hanging mechanism.

I saved the cut portion so we could inverse it and add it back to the project.

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I mixed some white and black acrylic paint and the kids and I went to town painting!

I added the black detail, but I did a very simple version–rectangles and thick lines were enough to show what it was supposed to be–a thing that is going to be destroyed two hours after completion does not need to be super detailed.

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Jake cut a hole in the top of the piñata to thread the rope through. He used a bit of plastic milk carton behind the knot so the knot wouldn’t pull through when the piñata started to get hit.

Then we stuffed it with candy and taped the laser circle back on!

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Jake also figured out a creative way to hang it.

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This one project was enough to keep the kids happy–with a bunch of five year olds, one to two structured activities is enough. They mostly want to run around.

Tie Fighter Cheese and Crackers Activity | The Nerd Nest

We also had a little tie fighters cheese-and-crackers station to keep the kids busy while I was finishing up burrito fixings, an idea I got from this desert.

I also dropped some dye into milk to serve up blue milk, which probably only I got as a Star Wars reference, but made the kids happy anyway.

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Overall this is was really fun project, and you’re sure to find a Doctor Who or Harley Quinn version in a few weeks, as Eliza really wants to do this for her party now too!


Each year it’s my goal to complete 52 Projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain might venture into. They might be collaborative or independent. The point is to MAKE. I’m numbering in the order these projects are shared.

This is the first project for 2016, but I still have a few 2015 projects to share! I share my projects on social media under the hashtag #megandoes52projects, but since a lot of people expressed wanting to join in this year, share yours with a community of 52 Projecters at #52Projects2016!