Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update on our big (messy) project!

Back in January I originally posted about a big project we are undertaking for our wedding - creating an arch for us to get married under out of twirly yarn globes: http://bexcetera.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-next-big-messy-project.html

Well, we finally got around to doing some initial experimenting and I am happy to report: Success!

We followed the instructions on this blog: http://wednesdaycustomdesign.com/blog/messiest-merriest-and-whirliest-diy-balls with a few customizations. Other than the messy factor, this was a super simple project that could be easily replicated by anyone. The finished product could be small and used as a table top decoration, or large to create a freakin' awesome hanging lamp.

Ok, lets get messy!

Balloons, white cotton yarn, scissors, corn starch, school glue, spray oil
We decided to alter the supplies a bit from the original blog. They suggested coating the balloon with petroleum jelly but we thought petroleum = big oil = not eco-friendly = not for our green wedding! So we decided to try spray cooking oil, which ended up working great and seems to be less messy as well.

Blow up a balloon (or 3). Its best to not blow the balloons up to their maximum capacity so that it is rounder. We highly suggest using novelty balloons given to you by eccentric relatives (thanks Uncle Tim!).

Hang the balloons over a tarp or cardboard to protect from dripping glue. Spray down the balloons with the spray cooking oil liberally.

Mix 4 oz. white school glue (one normal size glue bottle) with 1/2 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup warm water with your fingers (dig in!) until there are no clumps. Take one end of the yarn and feed it through the glue mix and then start wrapping the gluey yarn vertically around the balloon until its covered well and then switch to horizontally wrapping. Once your balloon is wrapped to your pleasure, tuck the ends of the yarn under another piece.

Now leave your balloons alone for 24 hours to dry. Note: keep cats away, they will want to ruin your project (probably out of jealousy).

After waiting a day for the yarn to dry... pop your balloon! This part is especially exciting - but also messy as we learned: all of the glue that dried on the balloon flew into the air and all over the balloon popper (me). Then bring your very exciting twirly yarn globes outside to give a coating of clear fast drying spray paint all over your new creation.

Now you have a super fun finished project! That was easy right? Now to figure out how to make these into an arch... hmm...

Things we learned from this experiment:

• The glue mix is only enough for one large balloon or 2 smaller balloons (totally shocked me!). This means we are going to have to buy a giant jug of school glue for our project (yes Justin, you were right and I was wrong).

• Spray cooking oil works well as a substitute to petroleum jelly.

• The mess doesn't end once the glue dries. The dried glue on the balloon goes EVERYWHERE when you pop the balloon.

• We are going to have to buy over-sized balloons to get larger round shapes. The balloon shape really starts to distort and become oblong quickly.

• The finished twirly yarn globes are actually quite strong! This is great news for our future arch.


  1. wow. you rock at do it yourself balls. impressive.

  2. 137 balloons to go!

  3. LOVE IT! And thanks for sharing what worked/didn't. I think it's going to be exceedingly lovely as an arch for your wedding. I came across these :


    and thought of you, both knowing that you were planning on doing this project, but also because I remembered the vinyl record bowls that you made for that music project oh-how-many-years-ago now? :)

  4. @Dianna - love the doily bowls, oh the powers of starch! Sometimes I wish I could just craft all day and forget about this "having a job" business.

  5. Hi, I got here through Pinterest. This reminds me of the hemp pendant lamp project I saw here: http://www.craftynest.com/2009/03/hemp-pendant-lamps/ You can probably turn one of these balls into a light fixture somewhere in the house to remind you of the wedding afterward.

  6. Thanks for the link Dee! Great idea there in using bouncy balls vs balloons. I think I'll have to try that!

  7. What I have done in the past is placing tape over the section of the balloon that I am about to pop. The air escapes slowly without the violence of the pop = hopefully less messy.