How to Make a String Ornament

Here's a fun, new, craft ornament idea to try with the kids––string ornaments! They're easily made as ovals ("eggs" for Easter) and orbs (Christmas and just "decorative balls"). Their very simplicity is what makes them so delightful to behold––they have a texture people love to touch and they're equally at home with rustic themes through to more sophisticated decorating.

Steps

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    Prepare your work area by covering it in plastic or vinyl. This has the potential to become messy if you're not careful.
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    Set out your supplies and prepare each item as follows.
    • Inflate the balloon(s) to your desired size. Anything from 2-6 inches (5-15cm) can work well. Bear in mind that larger sizes will require more string.
    • Pour white glue into a small shallow bowl. Thin the glue slightly with water. You will need to dampen the string with the diluted glue before using it on the balloon.
    • Cut the string into 3 or 4 ft (91cm - 121cm) sections to make it easier to use and less likely to tangle.
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    Dip the string into the glue, taking care to avoid tangling it. You can use a bolt or some hex nuts to hold the string under the surface of the glue to get it thoroughly wet.
    • Run the dampened string between your pinched fingers to remove excess glue. Your object here is to dampen the string, but not have it dripping with glue.
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    Wrap the string around the balloon. There is no "right" way to do this––just wrap. Continue to wrap the string around the balloon in a latticework, leaving no more than a finger width between strings.
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    Dab some extra glue on any string ends or loops which do not stick well to the other strings on the balloon.
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    Change string colors as you wish
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    Continue until the balloon is surrounded by a latticework of string. There should be no gaps in the latticework that are larger than the tip of your index finger.
    • Check to be certain there are no loose ends, and that all strings are stuck to each other somehow.
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    Add any shape embellishments you like. Glitter, for example, can go well on these ball ornaments.
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    Hang the string covered balloon where it can dry.
    • Place something under the hanging balloon to catch any stray glue drips as the whole thing dries.
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    When the glue is dry and the string latticework is stiff, pop the balloon and remove it from the center of the latticework.
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    Display and enjoy your homemade ornaments

Tips

  • Threading the string under a few heavy washers or bolts in the glue bowl can help you in getting it all thoroughly moistened with glue.
  • Add additional glue soaked string shapes, such as hearts, stars, circles, etc., to the outside of the string ball. "Tack" them down with a final wrapping of string which overlaps each one, to help hold it on the ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Colored string; embroidery floss, thin yarns, friendship bracelet string, etc work fine
  • White glue
  • Bowl
  • Small balloons (water balloon sizes work well)
  • Scissors (for cutting string and later on popping the balloons)

Sources and Citations

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