DIY Pull-String Donkey Piñata


It’s almost Cinco de Mayo time so please let me introduce you to my donkey piñata. He took some time to build but he was also so much fun to make. I felt so festive making it that I couldn’t get the Mexican Hat Dance song out of my head. Fiesta colors are not normally my style but I ended up loving its over-the-top bright colors. He just looks so happy!


This pull-string version is a great alternative to a traditional piñata. Instead of hitting it like crazy until candy comes out, each person can nicely takes turns pulling one string from the bottom of the piñata. All the ribbons, except for one, are loosely attached to the box and will simply slide off when you pull it. The one winning ribbon is tied to the trapdoor at the bottom of the box which, once pulled, releases all the candy inside.


Pull-string piñatas are great for little ones who are still too young to do any damage to a cardboard box with a bat. It’s also great if you can’t bear to watch people destroy your piñata creation right in front of your eyes. And how can you hit such a happy little donkey?


Pull-String Donkey Piñata

- Cardboard box (Choose the size you want your piñata to be. Make sure the length and width of two sides of the box is a little bigger than your donkey shape.)
– Masking tape or packing tape
– Crepe paper folds (I took Oh Happy Day’s recommendation to use folds and these are way easier than using party streamers. I found mine in an educational store.)
– Tacky glue
– Ribbon or string

Build your piñata box. 
1. Draw an outline of a donkey shape on one side of your box to desired size. (Mine was about 18×20 inches.) With a box cutter or sharp scissors, cut out the shape. Use this as a template to trace and cut a second piece on another side of the cardboard box.

2. Cut out several 4-inch strips of cardboard. Take one of your donkey shapes and tape the cardboard strips along the edges. As you can see in the picture above, I also taped down two cardboard strips on the inside of the box near the donkey’s legs. This was to make sure the candy didn’t get stuck in the legs.

3. Tape the second donkey piece to the other side of the piñata.

4. Create a hanger. On the top of your piñata, near the center of the body, cut out two slits. Loop a ribbon or a string around the slits and make a knot. The size of the ribbon depends on where you’ll be hanging it.

Create your trapdoor.
5. With a pencil and a ruler, measure the size you want the trapdoor to be on the bottom of your piñata. Carefully cut out your trapdoor on three sides only. Pull the flap back towards you so that it creates a crease on the fourth side. You should still be able to close the flap and it will be fairly tight.

6. Determine how many ribbons or strings you want to use and cut slits into your trapdoor. Test your door by inserting a loose ribbon through the slit to see if you need to adjust it. You don’t want it to be too tight that your loose ribbon ends up opening the trapdoor. The winning ribbon will be attached to the flap with a knot but the others won’t be. Once you have tested your ribbons, set them aside for now so that you can begin to decorate your piñata.

Decorate your piñata.
7. Cut a strip of crepe paper folds, about 3-inch-thick. With your scissors, cut fringes stopping about halfway through the paper.

8. Unfold crepe paper and begin gluing onto your pinata box. Continue to cut crepe paper fringes and apply until your donkey is completely covered.

Final touches.
9. Add desired final touches like a tail, eyes, nose, etc.

10. Fill piñata with candy.

11. Slide ribbons through slits of the trapdoor. Now that the flap is covered in crepe paper, you will have to cut through it but that’s easy. For the winning ribbon, tie a simple knot on the inside of the door as you can see in the picture above.

Hang the piñata and have yourself a fun party!