Ask and you shall receive! I’m honored that you had requested a step by step guide for my yarn ball chandelier, truly I am. Without further ado, here we go and I hope I don’t disappoint.
Materials that you will need-
Large bottle of Elmer’s Glue- 16 oz (maybe even another small one as back up)- &7.99 at Michaels, but I found a bigger bottle (a gallon size) at Lowes for $14.99.
Yarn- I used 3 different colors of Sugar n’ Cream, It doesn’t take much for the small yarn balls. But I needed a FULL color for the outer ring. Please remember I wasn’t using the large yarn, but the small reems. – $1.99 each
Big Bowl- for your glue/water mixture. Don’t worry about ruining your bowl-Elmers glue washes off with water.
Tomato Cage- I used this to hang my drying balls. Instead of using a tomato cage, you can hang a string between two solid places and let the balls dry, like a clothes line.
Balloons- I only used 8 yarn balls on my chandelier, you can make more or less. Over the whole project, I used about 16 balloons. I found two packages at Target for $1.50 with 15 balloons each. This gave me plenty of extras for trial runs.
Punch Balloons- you know, the ones you used to play with as a child. Has a rubber band on one end and the balloon is huge. I also found a package of 5 at Target for about $3.
Decorative balls (optional)
Shinny Crystal Glass pieces, or plastic – I found these at Michaels (a hobby store) in the aisle with the foam balls, decorative rock, and glue guns which is around the floral section. These little crystal pieces are used inside of flower vases to give it some sparkle.
**Note- I also had used the decorative glass beads (with the flat bottoms), which would also give it some shine. I added back sand (found in the same aisle) to cover the white of the foam ball. These glass beads fall off. I even glued the round end to the foam ball, and they just don’t want to stick. If you find a way that these little buggers will stick, let me know!
Glue Gun and Sticks
Thin wire (Sorry, I don’t know the gauge because the wrapper fell off years ago) – Wire that is thick enough, like a Christmas hook, to be stable but easy to bend.
Random other stuff
Fishing line, Scissors, Paper towels, Hooks
- Line your floor or your work space with paper towels or a sheet or whatever you have, the glue will splatter. I find that using an old, windshield cardboard insert that keeps your car cool in the summer, works great for these kind of projects!
- Take a large bowl and pour in the Elmer’s glue- I would use close to the whole bottle (16 oz) but if your just testing, put in 4 oz or less. Add enough water to dilute the mixture, but not to where it’s mostly water. I would test the stickiness with my fingers, if it felt to watery, I would add just a little bit more glue.
- Blow up your balloons! Make them different sizes; I used only used one “large” ball, which was about 16 inches in diameter, the smallest being around 4 inches. The small ones, only took one breathe to fill the balloon.
- Blow up your large balloon- the punch balloon. Make the diameter of this balloon slightly smaller than the diameter of your chandelier. My chandelier was 51 inches, so I made my punch balloon, about 50-50.5 inches. Your outer ring will be smaller because it needs to hang on the chandelier, make it too small and you will see the frame sticking out too far from the ring.
- Either build your “laundry line” to hang your balls, or set up your tomato cage. Once you start putting your hands in the glue, forget about doing anything extra! So set up everything before you start, and have all of the materials ready at hand, including scissors.
Yarn Balls Creation Station-
- Find the balloon that you wish to wrap, and start pulling out your yarn. I did not measure, only went on gut feeling. I tried a few balls with less and a lot of yard to cover the balloon. I let them dry and then I could decide the amount of yarn that I wanted to use. Cut the amount of yarn that you want to use and let it soak in the glue/water mixture.
2. With balloon in one hand then hold the end of the string with your finger (same hand that the balloon is in). As you begin to wrap, squeeze the access glue water from the string as you wrap. This is a very important step, too much glue and it will all slide off and take forever to dry. The technique that I used, was to wrap the balloon by moving the balloon. Think of it as how they make cotton candy, they move the paper stick around to collect the fluffy sugar. This way I can wrap the balloon and squeeze the glue water out of the yarn. I also found it handy to use a LARGE bowl so the excess glue will drip right back into the bowl..
3.After you have used all of your pre cut yarn and wrapped the balloon, tie a small piece of yarn to the top of the balloon and attach it to your tomato cage or clothes line to dry.Your yarn balls should dry overnight, if still wet, be patient and let them to dry completely.
4.Repeat all of the steps above for all of your decorative yarn balls.
5. As for the outer ring, this will cover up the frame of your chandelier, same steps as above but only wrapped around the middle. The outer ring, is a little bit more difficult because of it’s size. I spun my balloon while it was sitting in a lined (with paper towels) bowl, and wrapped the yarn around. I made my outer ring about 7 inches wide. Keep your yarn strains tightly together and make zig zags to give it some depth. I used a lot of yarn to create this, you can even add another color to it! Word of advice, use many different strains of yarn. Don’t do it all in one shot, that will cause a higher probability to knotting. Add as much, and as wide as you wish. The yarn will slide a little as you get further down the balloon, so you may want to add most of it towards the top of the balloon.
***Note*** The bowl that holds you outer ring, line it with paper towels! As your glue drips and dries, it will cause your balloon to stick. With any slight movement will then cause your balloon to pop. Trust me, if your balloon pops, it sucks
***Note*** This will take a lot long to dry, expect two days. I didn’t wait for mine to fully dry and you can tell in the middle because there is sagging. However, with it not being completely dry allowed me to form it a little better. It’s a catch 22.
6. Once dry, carefully separate the balloon from the yarn. I used a zip tie and slipped it in-between the two. You can use anything that is flat, a stir stick would work nice. If you don’t have anything, you can push the balloon (between the yarn) inwards and separate them. You can hear the glue breaking, that fine. If you don’t do this step, as the popped balloon deflates it will take the yarn with it. Other people put Vaseline all of the balloon first before wrapping, I thought that would just make life harder. Once separated, pop the balloon and you’ll have a finished product!
- Before you glue anything to the foam balls, add the hanging fishing line. I would run a long piece of wire; with the fishing line attached to the bottom and feed it into the foam ball. You may feel better about hanging these by adding a bead at the bottom to hold the weight. If not, please tie a large knot!! After you have inserted the fishing line, add the hook to the top.
- To add the crystals, just press the object into the foam ball to make an indentation. The add some hot glue to the indentation and place the crystal into it’s new home. Keep adding the decoration to the foam ball until the ball is completely filled.
- I used small rocks that I had found over the years, decorative sand, glass beads. You can use anything that you wish! Try to find things that will reflect light, for some added sparkle.
For hanging decorations-
I wanted a uniform but scattered look to the hanging objects of my chandelier. When I added the fishing line to each decoration, I made the lengths longer as I went. I used a sparkly ball closer to the top to catch the light and the yarn balls further down. I also hung them in a spiral, starting with the longest in the middle (which is actually the largest ball) and worked my way around the frame until the last decoration (and shortest) was used. I used smallest/shortest decorations together and ended with largest/longest. I tried to give it a cascade look.
Place your outer ring on your chandelier. The outer ring will feel fragile, and it is, but you can still be a little rough with it. Because you had made it slightly smaller, the ring top should just rest on top of the chandelier frame. The outer ring should be wide enough to cover the lights (or smaller if that is what you wanted), so let the ring hang from the top part of the frame.
If too much yarn becomes separated, just add some hot glue to it and put it back into place. I tweaked mine a little bit that way, its inevitable for the yarn not to separate a little so don’t worry if this happens.
After you’ve place it’s crown, start adding you decorative balls as per the note above. If your using heavy decorative balls, add them to the frame evenly so your chandelier doesn’t list to one side.
Keep in mind, you can always do different things throughout the year. Maybe add Christmas ornaments, plastic Easter Eggs, and just imagine the creativity for Halloween! Change the length of the fishing line also, or make them all even. The possibilities are endless! Hopefully this project was on the inexpensive side, so you can play with it without feeling guilty of wasting any money!
I hope my tutorial was helpful and didn’t leave you even more confused. If it has, please let me know, and I will be happy to make any corrections. Sometimes it’s hard to get things out of ones head and write them down as a procedure!