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Thanksgiving Turkey Pinata

Need a use for leftover Halloween candy? Make a papier-mache Turkey piñata to entertain the kids on Thanksgiving.

Before you begin, read this quick guide on how to papier mache. You can read about the three different choices for preparing glue for papier mache here.

Thanksgiving Turkey


  • Newspaper- Torn into long, thin strips
  • Papier-Mache Adhesive
  • Large Balloon
  • 2 Small Water Balloons, one orange, one red
  • Colored Tissue Paper in red, orange, yellow, and brown
  • Construction Paper/Felt/Wire
  • String



  1. Mix up your preferred adhesive in a disposable bowl or bucket.
  2. Inflate the balloon and place in a slightly larger bowl to stabilize while you work. Dip a strip of newspaper in the paste, run through your fingers to remove the excess, and drape across the balloon at an angle.
  3. Continue this process, overlapping the strips slightly until the balloon is covered, except for a 2-inch hole at the top. This is where the candle will be added to your piñata.
  4. Let your turkey body dry for one full day.
  5. Once dry, make the hanger for the piñata. Wrap a good length of string around the bottom of your papier-mached balloon so that the ends of the string come a few inches above the opening. Tape down the string in several places on the balloon and knot the ends of the string together a few inches above the opening.
  6. Repeat the papier-mache process with two more layers of newspaper and allow this to dry completely.
  7. Once dry, inflate the orange balloon and tape it to the body of the turkey with double-sided tape. Cut out two black ovals for the eyes and tape them to the balloon, or two white ovals with small black circles for the pupils. Make the beak from a triangle of yellow felt or construction paper. An un-inflated red balloon can serve as the wattle of the turkey, or use a bit of red felt.
  8.  You can decorate the turkey body in a variety of ways. Paint it brown and add construction paper feathers at the wings and tail. Or, cut the orange, red, brown and yellow tissue paper into wide strips and fray the bottom of each strip with short slits. Glue the non-frayed ends of each strip all over the body with the fringe part sticking out. Layer until you have covered the body with multi-colored “feathers.”
  9. For the tail, layer several sheets of construction paper or tissue paper in three different colors, so that the top of each color is showing. Fold accordion style into a fan shape. Gather at the bottom and staple together or secure with a bit of glue or wire. Tape or glue the tail to the back of the body.
  10. Make feet with a bit of wire, yellow pipe cleaners, or yellow construction paper.
  11. Once decorated, pop the balloon through the opening and pull it out. Fill your piñata with candy, but do not pack too tightly. Leave room for the candy to shake around. Cover the opening with paper and hang your piñata.


Surprise the kids at Thanksgiving with this fun activity.

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I completely agree with millerkassandra. This picture looks like a cardboard "STAND-UP." You should do better. 11/3/12

I think you need a picture of the actual pinata. How are we supponsed to know what it's going to turn out like?


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