How to make homemade pull-string pinatas

Written by miranda brumbaugh
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How to make homemade pull-string pinatas
Provide your guests with small bags to hold the candy they grab. (Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Pull-string pinatas are a safe alternative to the traditional pinatas that are broken by hitting them with sticks. Younger guests are able to enjoy pull-string pinatas because they're easier to break open. Provide a pinata for a group game at birthdays, sleepovers or holidays. Fill it with candy according to the theme of the event; for example, you could fill it with gold-wrapped coins for a pirate theme, or chocolate kisses for Valentine's Day.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Whisk
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Medium saucepan
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Spoon
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 newspaper sheets
  • Balloon
  • Scissors
  • Curling ribbon
  • 1 to 3lbs. individually wrapped candies
  • Tissue paper
  • White glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Whisk 2 cups of cold water with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour in a medium-sized bowl until the flour is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of boiling water. Stir the mixture and cook it on high heat until boiling.

  2. 2

    Return the mixture to the medium-sized bowl and add 3 tbsp of sugar. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to cool, which also allows it to thicken.

  3. 3

    Tear four sheets of newspaper into 3-inch by 6-inch strips.

  4. 4

    Inflate a balloon to its maximum capacity. Knot the end of the balloon to secure.

  5. 5

    Dip strips of newspaper in the paste mixture. Coat the paper and squeeze the excess off the paper with your fingers. Layer the coated strips on the balloon, overlapping the edges. Leave the knot on the balloon uncovered.

  6. 6

    Allow the first layer of papier-mache to dry for 12 hours. Repeat the papier-mache process three additional times, allowing each layer 12 hours of drying time.

  7. 7

    Turn the balloon so that the knotted end is facing up. Cut through the balloon in a 3-inch circle around the knot of the balloon; you may need to cut through the papier-mache for this. Remove the popped balloon.

  1. 1

    Cut two small holes within 2 inches of each other in the top of the balloon, opposite the hole for the candy. Cut a 36-inch piece of ribbon and insert one end into one of the holes in the top from the outside of the pinata. Thread the ribbon through the other hole so that it comes out of the pinata. Tie the ends of the ribbon in a knot close to the surface of the pinata; this is how you will hang the pinata.

  2. 2

    Fill the balloon with 0.454 to 1.36kg. of individually wrapped candies.

  3. 3

    Measure out enough pieces of ribbon for each guest to have a pull string; the ribbons should be long enough that each person can reach the ribbon when the pinata is hanging above them. Cut the ribbons, leaving them longer if you're not sure of the length you need for the ribbons because you can always trim them as needed.

  4. 4

    Cut tissue paper into 4-inch circles; you will need enough circles to cover the balloon as well as overlap each one.

  5. 5

    Glue the ends of the ribbons onto tissue paper circles. Paste one of the circles of tissue paper with a ribbon over the hole in the pinata using white glue; the ribbon should be on the outside of the pinata so that it hangs down for a guest to grab it.

  6. 6

    Overlap the remaining tissue paper circles that have ribbons attached approximately 1 inch over the edges of the first circle you attached; all of the ribbons should hang from the bottom end of the pinata. Glue the remaining circles that do not have ribbons attached onto the pinata by overlapping the circles over the entire pinata.

  7. 7

    Hang the balloon using the ribbon tied at the top so that the ribbons are dangling from the bottom. Instruct guests to each select a ribbon and instruct them to pull their ribbons one at a time to see who the winner is. The guests should gather as much candy as they can as soon as it falls from the pinata when the winning ribbon is pulled.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of cutting the tissue paper into circles, cut it into shapes based on your party's theme, such as hearts, stars or shamrocks.

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