For the avid Dr. Who fan in your life, nothing livens up a birthday party like a pinata in the shape of the iconic Tardis phone booth. Luckily it is a very simple shape, so here are instructions on how to make a good looking, tardis which you can use over and over, OR, if you want, just to make a sculpture.
Since we knew she would much rather have the Tardis to keep afterwards instead of smashing it into oblivion, I opted for the pinata to be a pull-string, allowing it not only to remain intact for enjoyment, but also reusable if so desired!
This project took about 5 hrs. I was charged with helping do a surprise party for a friend who is a Whovian, and I knew that a Tardis Pinata would make her day. It was made from:
-1 Cardboard Box
- Scraps of foam core board
- Packing tape
- Brown Paper
- Corn Startch
- Misc. details
Step 1: The Box
Find yourself a box that you deem to be adequate enough to be phone booth shaped. Tape up the flaps into it's closed position so it is nice and tight. Leave one end open. This will become the trap door for the pull tab feature later.
Step 2: The Trim
The Tardis has three levels of depth on the sides. Now, you are welcome to just paint the details on, but it you want to go that extra mile, here is how you can do it:
Using the foam core, cut four strips, each the width of two rulers side by side (to make it easy), and then scored down the middle so it folds around the edge. Using a hot glue gun, or tape if desired, attach these to the corners of the box.
Step 3: The Top
How you want to load the box may depend on how you make the top. I wanted it to be top loading so it was important that the tiered top be hollow.
I did this by cutting the sides of the tiers, all equal length, and making the outer frame. I then laid this over the cardboard, cut around the outside so it would fit, them glued it on top. I then made the frame of the smaller tier and glued that onto the top of the lower tier. After it was glued in place I cut the inside out to make the hole that would be invisible from the outside.
The top of the original box (A) and the top of the tiers (B) were then punctures with a pen in the corners to make holes for the hanging roper to go through.
First I threaded it through A, then making sure the top was rotated in the correct orientation, threaded them through B. II wanted to make sure the pinata was really reinforced so that it could support the weight of the candy and not rip through the cardboard.
Once the rope was threaded through I reinforced the holes with hot glue which also helped to keep the ropes from slipping and thereby keeping the pinata from hanging crooked.
Once the top of the tiers was all made I made a round hold to fit the light cone on top.
Step 4: The Panels
This is an extra step that you can just opt to paint, but I really wanted this Tardis to look awesome for her so I opted for the full 3D effect.
Using a slim strip of foam core, I cut it and glued it down the center of the shape that was made by the frame in step 2. This is the seam of the door. Make sure you center it!
The Tardis has four inset panels on each door, the top ones being the windows. Now, depending on the box you use, the measurements of these squares can vary, so cut them to work with yours.
I then cut a square shape for a panel template that would fit four tall on the door.
I traces around then and then cut out the squares with an xacto knife.
I then cut strips of foam core which I attached to the inside of the Tardis, behind these holes to make the depth of the panels.
Step 5: Paper Mache
Everyone has their go-to paper mache mixture. Mine consists of 1 TBS of corn starch in one cup of water. Bring this to a boil to thicken it and then apply to the paper going on the project. I use brown wrapping paper because it is thicker and requires less layers to be strong. While the cardboard and foam core board are pretty strong, I wanted to use paper mache on this to help hide the corrugation of the cardboard edges of the panels.
If you are anxious to have this process speeded up, but outside in the sun or use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process. Remember, thicker paper means more drying time.
Step 6: Paint That Puppy!
I am sure a true Whovian could tell you the exact shade of blue the Tardis is, but I opted for what I thought looked good, which was a Nautical blue interior house paint. Once this was on the project really came together. I put two layers on. I would have used three and while I did not do it, I would recommend a matte finish of clear coat as a final layer.
I tried painting the windows but I ended up gluing white paper on instead.
The black Police Box panels can also be painted on, but in this case I used strips of black foam core board, which I drew on the glued onto the Tardis body. I would also recommend using stick-on white letters, but I could not fins any that I liked, so I just wrote them on myself.
The little notice panel on the door was printed out from an image I found on the internet. The door knob is a thumb tac and the handle is a bent paperclip.
Step 7: The Hatch
I left the whole bottom of the pinata open so it would be easier to work on in this step.
I cut a smaller square hole, only on three sides, with an Xacto knife. I then perforated it with small slits for the ribbons.
The Tardis sits on a small base, which I made with a square of foam core board which I glued to the bottom of the flap after I traces a hole in it so the trap door of the pinata could open through it. This was then painted black.
The ribbons were all cut the same length and were each inserted into one of the slits made in the bottom hatch. I used the tip of the box cutter to push them through. All but one ribbon will just hang there. One of the will be tied in a thick knot, or, in this case, a washer, on the inside of the pinata. Unlike the others which will simply slide out of the slits when pulled, this ribbon attached to the washer will activate the hatch when pulled. As an extra precaution I glued the washer to the cardboard, but if you want to reuse the pinata, you may want to avoid that.