A lot of families have a tradition of putting "Christmas crackers" at each place setting at dinner. When pulled apart, the crackers bursts open with a spray of confetti. We created something similar for our Christmas table, but confetti we filled our maracas with candy. Give yourself plenty of time to assemble these––the paper mache requires multiple layers, drying time between each coat, and then more drying time after you've removed the balloon form from inside.
Tools and Materials
To make the candy maracas, you will need: balloons, printer paper cut into 1" x 3" strips, Mod Podge (or paper mache paste, paintbrush, washi tape, string, mini clothespins and paper straws.
Apply a generous swipe of glue to the balloon.
Add Paper Strips
Apply a strip of paper on top of the glue.
Paper Mache Maddness
Then cover that strip with a second coat of glue.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Repeat the process all the way around the balloon, slightly overlapping the strips and leaving a small opening at the mouth of the balloon.
Attach String with Clothespin
Using a piece of string and a mini clothespin or a binder clip, attach the string to the balloon.
Hang to Dry
Let the balloon dry for 24 hours, then repeat steps 2-6 for a second coat of glue and paper. Let dry for an additional 24 hours. Snip a hole in the mouth of the balloon, allowing the air out, and then remove the balloon from the interior of the paper mache maraca. Allow another 24 hours of drying so that the inside isn't tacky or sticky.
When the inside is completely dry, fill each maraca with a 1/4 cup of candy.
Make a Handle
Insert the straw all the way in the maraca, then secure at the base of the maraca with washi tape. You don’t need this to be rock solid — removing the straw is how your guests will get their candy, rather than bashing apart the maraca like a piñata. Be sure to cover the bottom of the straw so that the candy doesn’t escape.
Use whatever washi tape coordinates with your table. Cover the entire paper mache maraca or create a geometric pattern.
Have a Festive Fiesta
For a more traditional look, use Christmas colored tape. These can also be used as ornaments if you replace the straw and secure a loop of string at the opening.