Making a piñata is a combination of art and engineering, with a whole lot of improvisation along the way. Part of the fun of piñata-making is using your imagination to find new ways to decorate the piñata or finding creative solutions to the unexpected problems that arise.
This is the general approach I take to making piñatas. There is not one "right" way to make a piñata, and there's no reason you should feel obligated to do it this way. This is just the way I've found that works best for me. All of my piñatas are made using balloons. For more details about any step, check out the Tips and Tricks page.
1) Decide what I want to make. Draw a picture or find one somewhere so I have a visual guide of some kind.
2) Blow up the balloons to the sizes I need and wrap them in newspaper.
3) Mix up a batch of papier mâché paste. Dip strips of newspaper into the paste and lay them on the newspaper-wrapped ballons, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next one.
4) Keep repeating step 4 until I've got 3 to 5 layers of strips covering the balloon. (Larger ballons require more layers in order to hold their shape.)
5) Poke a hole in each piece and remove the popped balloon.
6) Assemble different pieces of the piñata using masking tape to hold them together, then apply strips of papier mâché newspaper to cement them together. Insert the hanging hook if that wasn't done earlier.
7) Puncture the piñata with a knife if the walls are too thick.
7) Decorate the piñata.
Constructing the piñata isn't hard, but it's messy and can take a lot of time. It sometimes requires a lot of creativity and improvisation. Decorating a piñata can also stretch your creative muscles in fun ways.
The process is best understood through step-by-step examples. These are listed from simplest to most complicated.
Tropical Fish piñata
Rainbow Zebra piñata