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Making a paper bag pinata is an inexpensive alternative to the store bought ones. They are relatively simple to make and cost less than $2.   

My son’s birthday is this weekend and he begged me for another pinata. I made some changes to this one including upgrading the theme to Spiderman.

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  • Brown paper bag
  • 2 different colors of streamers (found at Dollar Tree)
  • Optional: Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Packing Tape
  • Plastic Hangar
  • Image printed from your computer
  • Cardstock
  • Candy or toys

Last year Isaac (who turned 4) had a Larry Boy from Veggie Tales birthday. He is totally going to kill me one day for allowing him to wear that hat.DSC05571

Since there is no such thing as a Larry Boy “pinanna,” as Isaac would say, we decided to make one.


1. They are super easy to make and ultra inexpensive. You start with two paper bags.  DSC05531

I decided to double bag mine so we could get more hitting power but it actually took a long time to break it open so I would use just one bag. I guess it ultimately depends on the age of the children swinging at it. (I decided to go for one paper bag this year). Cut a slit in each of the four creased corners cutting out the excess in between on the sides of the bag.


2. Fill her up with goodies…


3. Grab a sturdy plastic hangar and some packing tape. Folding one edge over the hangar, tape it in place.


Now fold the other side over the first side and tape it in place. Don’t worry about the ugliness right now you will cover it all up.

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4. Using crepe paper streamers start decorating. I HAD TO RUFFLE THEM! I just glued them in place with a hot glue gun. To save time, I ruffled the paper in the the front and then just put the streamers flat on the sides and back.


(This year I decided to run the streamers through my sewing machine on the longest stitch possible.  This automatically ruffled the streamers for me.  I just stitched 1/4” from one edge. I ran the entire streamer through my machine).

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5. Then I googled “Spiderman” and found an image and printed it out on cardstock and then that into an oval shape.

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6. Hot glue some more ruffled streamers onto the back.  Then glue the whole thing onto the ruffled paper bag front.

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It works just like a store bought piñata…

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Things I learned along the way…

1.  Running the streamers through the machine gives you nice even ruffles and takes less time than trying to create ruffles with the hot glue gun.

2.  Start at the bottom of the paperbag and work your way up with the ruffles.  It is easier to glue on top of the previous ruffle then to lift the last one to glue the next one in. Grrrrr!

3.  Before you finish and reach the top hot glue a flat streamer to the top overlapping the edges over the front and back of the bag to give it a clean finish.

Happy 5th Birthday to you Isaac!


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  1. LOVE this idea! I still have not quite figured out the hang of ruffling on my sewing machine. I think I need my sewing friend to come over and give me a lesson in person. :s Both of your pinatas are awesome!!

  2. Literally just set the stitch length to the longest. It will automatically bunch it up to perfection for you.

  3. Oh man, this is FABULOUS, totally awesome idea, and running the streamers thru the sewing machine was just brilliant. LOVE this idea, and A MILLION times better than buying a pinata. So glad I saw this, now we can have one for every party custom made, on the CHEAP, I mean FREE, he he.

    I just added this ida to my PARTY IDEASPINTEREST BOARDS let me know what you think!!

    I’d love if you linked this up. Stop by anytime to say hello!!!
    Bella 🙂**AMAZE ME AUGUST** @ Bella Before and After

  4. I always perk up when I see a Meijer bag because I grew up in West Michigan, Meijer country, before they expanded to other states. So I was really interested to see what you were doing with them. (I admit to skimming the pictures sometimes but I did go back and read the whole post.) Really inventive – you are a DIY expert. And OMGoodness your son looks so much like you. Happy Birthday to Isaac from a stranger a state away.

  5. Thank you. Yah it is much easier than when I tried to bunch it up last year with hot glue gun to create the ruffles. Let me know if you make one I would love to see it.

  6. Awesome idea Beckie! I HOPE I can remember this by the time our baby is old enough to enjoy one or maybe even make one for a friend’s kiddo. Just another great thing about your idea- besides being super cheap of course- ……………………..This type of pinata will be much easier for little ones to actually break open. Having used a store bought one some years ago at a party, it’s very frustrating for the kids when no one can break the pinata. (think short attention span ramped up by the craziness for C-A-N-D-Y!! =) Thanks again for sharing the idea!….

  7. My boys always want a pinata at their party but I run into one of two problems 1) there just isn’t a pinata that goes with the theme: Mount Olympus or Legos, or 2) they have the theme pinata (Transformers, Curious George) but it’s not within my budget.

    This is a simple, inexpensive, and WONDERFUL solution. I love the idea of running the streamers through the sewing machine. Thank you! I know what I’m doing for my son’s upcoming party.

  8. how perfect for Cinco de Mayo. I may have time to run out and get the stuff to make for my students to hit after recess!

  9. Awesome idea! And so easy! My son and daughters birthday party is this weekend, so we may have to try this (if I can find somewhere to hang a pinata in our yard).

  10. Yah I agree it is a lot easier to bash open. Let’s be honest hitting it is only a means to an end. It can’t go on forever or everyone gets bored out of their gourd.

  11. This is a great idea. The thought of making my own pinata always seemed daunting because of having to do paper mache, but your bag idea/trick looks so easy. I have a two year old turning 3 at the end of the year, and I bet he would love this. Thanks for sharing Beckie.

  12. Thank you Jennifer! They are fun to make. It is crazy to think about how long it lasts…but I try to focus on the joy of creativity. HA!

  13. OH!!! This is FANTASTIC!!! Thank you so much for sharing this and for saving us mama’s $40 plus dollars on really not all that cute store pinatas!!!! 🙂

  14. genius! i ALWAYS end up with birthday themes that I can’t find anything to match! so nice to know now i have the option to make a pinata myself! thanks for sharing! 🙂

    found you via tt&j! 🙂

  15. And I’m sure if you wanted to make it a little “tougher” to break open you could probably put, 2 or 3 bags inside of each other to make it a bit thicker to make it a little more difficult to open. (For older kids that might be at the party, they take a good whack at it and poof candy everywhere and you have sad kids who didn’t get to try LOL) Been there done that at a friends party! My daughter is turning 4 soon and is having a tea party themed party so this is an awesome idea! Will give it a try!

  16. You know what….somehow I missed the part where you DID double bag it. Wow. And I even read everything. HOW did I miss that? Wow….LOL

  17. Awesome! I made a Rainbow Brite one for my daughter last night. She woke this morning and saw it and squealed. Best 6th birthday piñata ever! Thanks!

  18. This is so great!! We looked all over for a Justin Bieber piñata and found only one- online for $20 plus shipping- and my daughter (who’s turning six, going on 16) didn’t like it, so we’re making one this afternoon! My daughter is stoked! Thanks for this. I think it will be something we do over and over again!

  19. OMGoodness, this is genius! Thank you for the tutorial! I have my daughter’s 1st birthday party coming up soon and I really wanted a pinata but I was having a hard time justifying buying something so expensive that the kids will destroy in like 2.5 seconds! This solves that problem! I pinned this to one of my pinterest boards so I wouldn’t lose this post! Thanks again!!!!

  20. Thank you for this wonderful idea! I’m using this concept and making a yo gabba gabba pinata for my son’s birthday party 🙂

  21. I figured it out!!! 🙂 As I was trying to make my daughter’s pinata I was having trouble getting the machine to ruffle the crepe paper. Through my trials and errors I discovered that it has to do with the thread tension. On my particular machine there are 6 different thread tension settings. To get the crepe paper to ruffle on its own, I had to turn the tension the whole way up to 6! Worked like a charm after that! 🙂 Hopefully some of my frustration will help someone else! 🙂

  22. I’m so excited to make one of these for my daughter’s Hello Kitty party! But I’m more excited about all the money I’ll be saving making my own, rather than buying one. Thank you so much for this tutorial! You’re the best! 🙂

  23. I had some serious trial and error with the ruffles on the sewing machine! I finally figured it out!!
    Longest stitch
    Widest stitch
    Highest Tension
    And don’t backstitch

    It did break my thread a LOT and tear my streamers a tiny bit. But I can tell that it saved me tons of time to run it through the machine rather than hand ruffling.

    Thanks so much for this post! Two bucks (plus candy) for a pinata is right up my cheapskate alley! 😉

  24. As soon as I get it finished! My hot glue gun gave out on me. 🙁 (Tragic day!) Will have to finish up tomorrow. 🙂

  25. Super creative idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate the time you took to make this post. Wjonderful instructions, too! 🙂

  26. Can you explain how you used sewing to make the ruffle? You say it did it automatically?

  27. If you set your sewing machine for the widest and longest stitch and the run the edge of your streamer through it will automatically ruffle the streamer for you.

  28. Just used your tutorial to make a Paw Patrol piñata for my 6y/o grandson. Can’t not wait to see his face when he sees it. Thanks so much for your tutorial. So very easy. Can see many, many more in my future.

  29. Ahhh!!! (Crazed-fan yell) I know who you are! You have all those amazing, free, printable graphics!
    Listen up, anybody who hasn’t been to her website, click on “Karen – The Graphics Fairy” right now, and explore. If you think you don’t have any skill, or any money, or whatever your excuse is for not decorating, get inspired at her website. Sometimes it only takes a $1 frame and some spray paint, or some thinned-out glue and a foam brush, and you can have amazing decor.

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