string ball

by tammy


Let me begin by saying that this is not an easy craft, but the results have you making them again and again. And although it almost reduced two thirty-something’s to tears, I did it the very next week with a very capable six year old (as a team, of course).

What you need:
- old newspaper/magazine from the recycling bin
- disposable cup & something to put inside to weigh it down (rocks)
- wallpaper paste
- warm water
- Vaseline
- balloon
- string or yarn

1. Cut the yarn or string into pieces at least 3ft long, short pieces do not work for this.

2. Weigh down the cup with something of no importance, like a rock or an old lemon.

3. Cover the entire work area with newspaper… it gets messy!

4. Blow up a balloon about the size of an adult palm (it’s easiest to start out with a smaller size like this) and then slather with Vaseline to prevent the glue from sticking to the balloon. *Rub the rest into your hands… it forms a nice barrier against the glue*

5. Mix up some wallpaper paste with warm water; it should be the consistency of thin oatmeal (cream-of-wheat, if you want to get technical). Be careful… a little powder makes a lot of paste.


Now the tough part…

6. Dip the string into the paste one piece at a time. Take it out and wrap it around the balloon. The easiest way to do this is to put one end of string on the balloon, then spin the balloon. This way the string will wrap automatically.

*Try to overlap your starting point at least once, locking it into place* When you start the next piece, criss-cross it with where the previous piece ended. The trick here, is that if you don’t lock the corners down, they will begin to fall off as you try to put new strings into place.

If you get frustrated, take a break and let it dry for a while, then go back to it when you’re feeling better (like we did!)

Tip: If you are doing this with someone under the age of, let us say…nine, then do it as a team. The kids dip the string into the paste, and the grown-ups spin it on the balloon.

7. When you are all done, put the balloon on the cup to dry and Clean-Up. It needs to sit overnight to harden (turn occasionally, or the part inside the cup will not dry)

8. When it’s all dry, pop the balloon and wiggle it out through an opening.

Enjoy your string ball! The project is hard, but the results are amazing. Put them in a bowl, hang them from the ceiling or give them as a gift!

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