Monday, January 16, 2012

DIY Custom Pull-String Pinata - No Mess!

Of the many DIY pull-string pinatas blog posts I *tried* to find, none of them was a decent tutorial, and they all started with, "Buy a pinata."  Please. 

I figured it didn't need to be papier-mache, since I wasn't hitting it, and it didn't need to be shaped, because it could just have a picture on it.  So this is what we came up with:

I think it looks awesome.

I already had every single thing I needed to make this, so it didn't cost me a dime and it is pretty much perfect.  They would charge you 20 bucks for this in a store.

We obsessively save tissue paper from gifts and large boxes from purchases, and today it paid off.

It's reusable, too.  Just refill it with candy and slap a different character on the front.  Good to go.

You can get free printables on Nick Jr's website in all their popular characters.  I'm using them for a lot of different aspects for this party, which will get its own blog post next weekend.

Here's your honest-to-goodness tutorial, no papier-mache required.

1 cardboard box of desired pinata size.
1 exacto knife
1 pair of scissors
1 picture (mine is of Kai-Lan)
about 4 sheets of tissue paper, desired colors.
adhesive of some kind - I used glue sticks and scotch tape.
curling ribbon

Decide where the front of the pinata is going to be, and cut a trap door in the bottom with an exacto knife, box cutter, or razor blade of some kind.  I had my husband do it.  We made it fairly large so the candy wouldn't get stuck in the sides of the pinata.

Attach your picture to the front of your pinata with your adhesive of choice.

Fold one sheet of tissue paper in half, then turn it the other way and fold in half again twice.  You should have one short side that has no folds.  Cut a two-inch strip off of that side.  Then cut slits in it to create a fringe.  Because it's folded, you will only have to cut a few slits in it, then when you unfold it, the whole thing will be fringed.

Apply a line of adhesive to the bottom of your box, then attach the strip of tissue paper so the fringe hangs over the bottom.  Create another strip of fringe and layer it over the bottom one so only the fringe shows.  Continue applying tissue paper, all the way up to the top, working around the picture in the middle.

Then cover the sides, back, and top of the pinata in a similar fashion.  I used less then 2 sheets per color and it went pretty quickly.

Poke two holes in the top and thread a long piece of ribbon through, one end through each hole, and tie it in a knot on the inside of the box.  This is how you will hang your pinata.
Poke two holes in the trap door of the pinata.  Thread a long piece of ribben through both holes, so that both ends are poking out of the bottom.  Tie a knot so that pulling the ribbon opens the trap door.

Attach your decoy ribbons using scotch tape or something similar.

Fill your pinata through the trap door.  Our cardboard was sturdy enough to where the trap door itself held the weight of all the candy, but you may need to make a latch of some kind to hold the door closed until it is pulled.  You can use just a thin strip of cardboard to sit on the inside bottom of the box.  It will then give way when it is pulled.
Cut a piece of tissue paper to fit the bottom of your pinata, then poke a hole in the middle of it.  Thread your decoy ribbons (I used 11 - you need one for each child) through the tissue paper, and attach the tissue paper to the bottom.  Now you can't tell which ribbon opens the trap door!

Hang the pinata and play the game when you're ready.  Some people like to pull them one at a time, but I'm afraid of the first child pulling the right ribbon, and no one else getting a turn, so I have all the kids pull their ribbons at the exact same time.  That way everybody gets to open the pinata and you don't have to worry about making toddlers stand in a line.  



  1. Thank you! This is the simplest pull-string piñata tutorial I've come across. Just what I was looking for!

  2. Woohoo! Love this! Great idea, definitely the best tutorial ive come across! Thanks heaps! :)

  3. Yay, I'm so glad people were able to use it and like it!

  4. Yay! Thanks so much! I just made one for my daughters lalaloopsy party and it turned out great!

  5. Love this! Going to use this to make my sons simba piñata for his first birthday (: (: so easy you don't even need to read the instructions!!