As an art teacher, I love connecting arts & crafts to literature and recycling. This Halloween craft is a great way to repurpose cardboard toilet paper tubes. If you want to link your mini piñata characters to books, some of my students’ favorite Halloween-inspired stories are The Runaway Pumpkin; Go Away, Big Green Monster and Stellaluna.
- 1 cardboard toilet paper tube per piñata
- Black tempera paint (for bat)
- One 8-inch piece of yarn, twine or string per piñata
- 1 sheet of tissue paper per piñata (orange, black and green for all characters)
- Scissors (+ optional decorative scissors)
- Double-sided Scotch tape or glue stick
- Small candies or toys
- Construction paper or cardstock (colors of your choice + white and black)
- Googly eyes
- Black marker
- White colored pencil
- Hole punch
- Placemat to cover workspace
Note to parents: Read through directions and prepare all materials in advance to make the project easier for younger kids (cut string, tissue, pull-tabs, wings, etc.).
- If making bats, paint the tubes black (for each bat) and let dry.
- Cut two circles of tissue (about ½ inch larger than the cardboard tube) for each piñata. Use green tissue for monsters, orange for pumpkins and black for bats or cats.
- Use a glue stick or double–sided tape around the edge of the tube. Cover one end of each tube with a tissue paper circle.
- Place a few small candies or toys in the open end of each tube.
- Use a glue stick or double–sided tape to secure a string across the opening so that the ends hang down. Cover the end of the tube (and string) with the other circle of tissue paper.
- Wrap each tube in tissue paper of coordinating color. (4¼ x 7” rectangles work for toilet paper tubes.)
- Using cardstock or construction paper, make pull tags. Decorate with markers.
- Tie tags on with the ends of the string. These are pull-tab to get the candy and toys out.
- Decorate characters as follows:
Monsters: Cut white paper circles for eyes. Make pupils with black marker, glue onto the tube and draw a mouth and eyebrows with markers.
Pumpkins: Cut black paper mouth and eyes or draw features with black marker.
Bats or cats: Cut wings from black construction paper or cardstock and glue or tape on. Add googly eyes and draw a mouth with white pencil. Pinch the top of the tube closed to make bat ears. Could use this method for a cat. Instead of wings, add a tail.
Alyssa Navapanich is an art enthusiast who teaches art to elementary school kids in North San Diego County.