As this Christmas time was my first one at new home in Mexico I knew I want to go all the way DIY, handmade, homemade and as traditional as I like. According to my decoration plan the first handmade accessory had to be string balls. The best thing about these balls is that you can use them in so many ways – as Christmas lights, as simple and naturally beautiful balls in a Christmas tree or as a little accessorized touch almost everywhere.
Things you will need:
– yarn (colors – your decision)
– small balloons
– white sugar
I started with choosing a yarn which I’m going to use for these balls. I ended up with some white yarn + some natural sisal rope.
Next step is to find some super small balloons to use as a base for the balls. I found some with a size around 12 cm (diameter).
Then you have to start to prepare your sticky “glue” – sugar water. Yes, I know, it might sound weirdly crazy – why some kind of sugar water and not just a normal glue?!? Trust me, this magical thing works just perfectly, makes a yarn into a rock!
Basically you have to melt a sugar into hot water (proportions for sugar : water about 1 : 1, but you can experiment with this). Put a water to start to warm up into your pot, then add sugar. You have to make the sugar melt into hot mixture, but not to boil it up (then it will lose the stickiness)!! The mixture is ready when all the tiny sugar grains has melted. Then take it off the fire and let it cool for a while (to make it blown-up balloon friendly temperature).
When your sugar-water-mixture is enough cool you are ready for wrapping up the balloons. Inflate them until your preferred size, tie up. Then put your yarn (little by little) into sugar water to absorb it. Start to wrap your balloons with a sticky yarn, step by step, fulfilling all the empty spaces around the balloon. Yes, it can be quite messy job, but it’s worth it! My advice is to start with a place where you tied up the balloon so you can tie the yarn there. And you can end the wrapping in the same place you started by tying the starting point together with a ending point.
When your sticky-sugar-string-wraps are ready hang them somewhere to get dry (take into consideration that they might be dropping a bit). Don’t hurry, it will take around 24-30 hours for them to get completely dry. But then you will see the real rock-power into your string balls :)
When the balls are enough strong and dry – take / cut them off the rope. Then take each ball and start to push the balloons with some kind of pencil rubber (on the other side of the pencil) or some other non-sharp alternative into places where there is no yarn. You will hear little cracking – it’s totally fine, that’s what you are waiting for! After going like this around all the balloon, blow it up with a nail, needle or something else sharp. Then take out the balloon leftovers and you are done!
Afterwards you have to use your unlimited imagination to decide what to do with these balls. Of course, I used them as a part of my Christmas decorations.
I spray painted some of the balls gold and hung them into my tree. They gave very natural, very cozy and, most important, very custom made look!
Some of the balls I used as a part of my staircase garlands.
And, of course, my this season’s favorite – string lights into wooden grocery boxes. For this one I needed some Christmas lights and wooden boxes (believe it or not but we got them from the local tiny grocery store for 12 pesos = 0,70 € for both). What a deal!!
These wooden boxes fulfilled with string lights looked just amazingly good out in our front yard! Such a warm Christmas feel :)
Try this out, even if it’s not a Christmas time. I challenge you!