Friday, January 18, 2013

DIY Pull String Piñata

My little boy just turned two! It's finally hit me that he's officially not a baby anymore... tear. So this little man is wayyyy into trucks, diggers, basically anything that's big with wheels. We live right around a fire station, so I came up with the idea of a fireman birthday party to celebrate my little boy. In the weeks since Christmas, I have been finishing up all of the decorations and my son has been way excited. I ordered these hats as party favors, but I wanted the kids to take home some sweet treats as well. I thought about a piñata, but for nearly 20 kids between 18 mos and 3 years, swinging and hitting with a bat didn't seem like the best idea ;). So I looked for a pull string piñata... no luck on finding a fire truck. 

A couple of boxes, some tissue paper, and lots of tape later, this is what I came up with. It's super easy and the possibilities are endless. I'm already thinking about my daughter's birthday. In case you aren't familiar, a pull string piñata works from a trap door cut into the bottom of the piñata. Curling ribbon hangs down from the bottom of the piñata and one lucky string pulls the door open, dropping all of the candy to the floor.

If you want to make your own, you can't get started without:
-Construction paper
-Tissue paper
-Tape (I used packing tape, but you could get away with using spray adhesive or any other kind of fast drying glue.)
-Curling Ribbon

First, cut your boxes and tape them together to form your shape. I used a coke box and popcorn box, but use whatever you have on hand that works for the shape. Here's how mine went together.

And the finished base:

Next, cover in construction paper that coordinates with the tissue paper covering. This is just in case you can see through the tissue paper or if there are any gaps. I went ahead and planned for my fire truck windows at this point.

**Make sure to cut holes and string ribbon through to hang your piñata with. I forgot and had to go back later.**

Now comes the tedious part... Cut 2"-3" strips of tissue paper. Make the strips into fringe by cutting every 1/2 inch or so. This does not have to be perfect! I used the rest of the red tissue paper that I had left over from Christmas, cutting about 5 sheets at a time. There was a lot of tissue paper floating around my house. The kids LOVED it ;)

After you cut a few sheets, start attaching the 'fringe' to the base of your piñata. I used packing tape just because it was easy and not as messy as glue with toddlers around. It's important to start at the bottom and work your way up. Overlap an inch or so and continue working your way up. This way, the part that you taped/glued on will be covered. 

Add on a few fun details.

Cut a trap door in the bottom of the box & make a small hole in it. Place ribbon through and knot. This is going to be the string that pulls the door open and lets out all of the goodies. 


Fill the piñata with goodies. I made a trip to the Dollar Store for some noise makers, bracelets, spy glasses, and candy. Tape it shut with a strip of regular old scotch tape. Don't over do it! You just need a little bit to hold it in place during the next steps.

Cut and tape ribbons along the outer edge of the hole for the trap door. I went with enough ribbons for each child to pull one.

So now you are ready to close it up. Take some of your left over tissue paper and cut into squares large enough to cover the door plus a half inch on all sides. This way, the ribbon ends will be covered by tissue paper, hiding which one is the 'magic' string. Coat the tissue paper with glue, apply, and repeat with a few more layers. Let dry over night.

And there you have it, a fire truck pull string piñata all ready for some excited toddlers.

The kids had so much fun pulling the strings. 

It came down to the last string, and...


All in all, I would say this project was a success! The kids loved it, it was pretty easy and practically free. I will definitely be going the diy & pull string route for future parties. More on the fireman party next week :)

Linking up with:

Happy Hour Projects

One Artsy Momma


Serenity Now


  1. Thanks! My little fireman LOVED it :-)

  2. I am totally making this! Thanks for the great tutorial :) if I get the party blogged, I'll be sure to link back to you!

  3. Where did you find the cute little dalmation? I love this!!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Where did you find the cute little Dalmatian? I love this! Thank you for sharing!

    1. It was from one of the invites :-) Thanks so much for checking it out!