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Friday 10 May 2024

DIY Dala Horse Piñata

If you've been here a while you'll probably know that my kids have a habit of choosing strange themes for their birthday parties. We've had a potato party, a Nutella party, a metal detector and penny finding party... 

Well, the latest birthday party hasn't been any different!

This past weekend we celebrated Mathilde's 10th birthday with an Ikea themed party. Yep, she chose everyone's favorite Swedish flat pack furniture store as her party theme!

I've got to say, it was actually a pretty fun theme. The guests all wore Ikea bucket hats (Mathilde's signature look lately), we gave out mini Ikea bags with small Ikea goodies in them as party bags, we played pass-the-parcel with a classic Blåhaj shark plushie as the prize in the middle, we ate Swedish cookies and meatballs, and we finished the party with a (rather shoddy looking!) Ikea bucket hat cake. 

My favorite party activity, however, was the piñata! To go along with the Swedish theme, I made Mathilde a Dala horse pinata. Now, it may look a little complicated in the pictures but, it was seriously one of the easiest piñatas to make ever. You want to know the secret? It's really just a store bought donkey piñata!

Today I'm sharing my simple DIY for taking a store bought donkey piñata and turning it into a Swedish Dala horse piñata. How fun is that?

What you'll need:
A store bought donkey piñata (I used this one)
Red crepe paper streamers
Glue Stick
Masking Tape
White paper (printer paper will do)
Dala saddle and straps templates (You can find them here and here)
Candy (I stuck with the Swedish theme and filled it with Daim chocolates)

Ok, let's get started...

Look at that colorful donkey. Isn't it cute? Well, it's time to make it a little less cute by removing all of its colorful streamers. The streamers come off really easily so this will only take a few minutes.

Once you've removed all of the streamers from the donkey it will look a little sad, but that's ok because we're giving it a total make over!  First up, I like to give the piñata a little extra reinforcement by taping up any areas that might feel a little loose with masking tape. The legs and head felt a little wobbly to me so I added extra tape to these parts.

Now, donkeys have much bigger ears than horses do, so the next step is to give the ears a little trim to make them a bit shorter and more pointed. You really don't need to remove much as you can see from the pic below. Once you're happy with the new ear shape tape it closed along the edges with masking tape.

Now it's time to decorate! I went with red for a classic Dala horse look, but you can really choose any color you like.

Prep the streamers by folding them into small piles and snipping cuts two thirds of the way through about a centimeter apart. Make sure to snip the folded ends too.

Start by covering the bottom of the feet first. I used tissue paper for this but you can always use crepe paper streamers if you prefer. Cover the bottom of each foot in glue and place a small square of tissue paper on top. Fold and glue the edges of the tissue paper along the legs. It won't matter if the sides are a little messy as you're going to cover them with crepe paper. 

Now lets cover the legs with streamers starting from the bottom up. Add a line of glue and place streamers on top, wrapping around the leg. Trim the streamers and move on to the next layer. 

Once the legs are done, move onto the belly attaching the streamers in the same fashion. Start from the back and work towards the front.

Then move onto covering the sides, the front and the back working from the bottom up. Make sure not to cover the top of the horse's back just yet as you'll do this after filling it with candy.

Then cover the head. It will be a little fiddlier here as you cover small areas like the ears, so you may want to precut the streamers to the right size as you go.

Once the horse is covered everywhere apart from the top of its back it's time to fill it up with candy! Sticking with the Ikea theme we used Daim chocolates. These are actually no longer available at Ikea as of last year, but I found them for a decent price on Amazon here.

Once the piñata has been filled cover the hole with masking tape to seal it up securely. Then cover the top of the horse with streamers starting from the rear to the front.

Now that the horse is completely covered it will look a little like a red Scottie dog! Or at least that's what it reminded me of! Don't worry, adding the Dala horse saddle details makes all the difference. 

Print out the Dala horse saddle and straps and cut them out. I used curved nail scissors for this to make the curved edges easier to trim, but you can use regular paper scissors too. Glue the saddle and straps in place. I designed the straps a little longer than needed so they can be stuck underneath the saddle. Fun fact: Mathilde actually drew the Dala horse details in Procreate and I edited them to fit the piñata. Teamwork!

The last step is to add the reins and eye. I didn't design a template for these as I just cut thin strips (about 1cm thick) of white printer paper for this. I used my handy paper trimmer to cut the trips but scissors or an x-acto knife and a ruler will work just fine.

For the eye, I traced around the end of a lipstick on white printer paper, cut out the circle, and glued it in place. 

I then added a curved piece of paper on each side to add a little extra detail. You could keep this straight if you prefer, but I like the curved look. I didn't make a template for this part, but it was easy to cut freehand. 

And voila! The donkey piñata has been transformed into a Swedish Dala horse and is ready to party!

Have fun smashing it open and don't forget to wear the remains as a hat like we always do!

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