For Isla’s third birthday, I knew I wanted to have a piñata. We’ve been to enough parties at this point and this is the first year she’s starting to get the whole party thing and she’s loved a piñata every time she’s done it. What I wasn’t so sure about was the kids doped up on sugar swinging a bat in the middle of the party. Enter, the pull string piñata. It’s not my idea, but whoever invented it is basically a genius.
I originally was going to buy one, but I the ones I found either didn’t match the mermaid theme or weren’t pull string, so I decided to make my own.
I thought a “3” would be fun, but after I thought about constructing a “3” out of cardboard, I decided straight lines would be better, so I decided to make an “I” instead.
To Make A Pull String Piñata You Will Need:
- cardboard and tape to make pinata
- tissue paper in desired colors
- razor blade
- scotch tape
- tacky glue
I used old foam board we had around. Cardboard works too. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be pretty. It’s going to get covered up and no one will know how ugly it is underneath. I didn’t bother with these steps because chances are you’re going to be making a different letter or shape.
Make sure to leave a section to stuff and a section to put the pull strings. The pull string part should be on the bottom so that the strings hang down and the kids can reach.
Next, choose your tissue paper. I went with purples, blues and silver for the mermaid theme.
Cut the tissue paper into strips. I made them about 1″. To save time, I stacked one of each color and folded the tissue paper in half, that way when I unfolded the strips they were already in the order I wanted to layer them on the pull string piñata.
Now, cut fringe in the bottom portion of the strips. I cut about 3/4 of the way up the strip and left about 1/2″ between cuts.
Now, open up the strips and if you layered them, you have strips all ready to go on the piñata.
Glue the strips on the piñata one at a time. I used tacky glue because that’s what I had on hand, but Elmers glue would work just as well.
Make sure to start at the bottom, otherwise the fringe will make it harder to glue the strip down. You can layer as many rows of tissue paper on as you want. I spaced mine so that the next layer covered the glue line. It wasn’t very fluffy, but it covered the ugly foam board and it got the job done.
Once you’ve covered the DIY pull string piñata, fill it. I did Dum Dums, Mardi Gras beads, rubber bracelets, mermaid stampers…you know, a bunch of junk only a kid could love.
Now you’re ready to put in the false bottom.
Cut one slit for each pull string you want.
Cut ribbon to desired length (don’t forget to consider where it will be hung and the height of the children). Feed the ribbon through the slits.
Ok, so here is where I failed, so learn from my mistakes.
I was worried that since I used curling ribbon it wouldn’t make a big enough knot to pull out the bottom. So, I decided to use packing tape and tape the winning ribbon to the false bottom.
I think this would have worked, except I chose the heaviest prizes in America and I thought for sure everything would fall out when the piñata was hanging. I taped the bottom in using Scotch tape (Actually, Brittany did because she made the mistake of coming to help me decorate the night before the party!) thinking that would have been flimsy enough to be pull down.
Had I used regular cardboard I think this would have worked like a charm. Foam board is not messing around. It formed a great shape, but it was just too sturdy, so cheap, thin cardboard is what you need!
I ended up having to pry the bottom off, but guess what, nobody cared when the prizes were falling from the sky. I really don’t think anyone even noticed that no one pulled the winning string (or no one cared because prizes!) so it all worked out!
Mermaid to help with the festivities is optional.
I think a pull string piñata is a great alternative for younger kids. It worked out especially well for us because the day of the party it was 110 degrees outside with poor air quality from a wildfire nearby. We were able to keep it inside so no one melted and we didn’t have to worry about a swinging bat indoors!