Saturday 22 November 2014

DIY Yarn Lantern

If you haven't tried making these lovely yarn lanterns yet, now is the time. Made with easy to grab supplies, some space where you can get messy and a wee bit of patience. You will love these beauties.

Jazz up your party d├ęcor by grouping it up with party balloons and large tissue flowers, or arrange them in different sizes to form a table centre piece. Or get handy with a light kit and illuminate your garden party in a nice soft way. The options are endless. And the satisfaction immense.
I ended up making a bunch of these for my niece's 1st birthday party. And it was a little challenging as I had to turn into a night owl, waiting for my little kids to get to bed and transform the home-office into a no-entry zone lined with trash bags, a temporary drying line using a curtain rod  balanced between 2 chairs and enough RedBull to give me wings! But I loved how they turned out. Here are a few pictures.

After checking various websites, I followed instructions from Ruffled.
For presentation, I had to borrow an idea I saw at a christening party where the lantern was placed  in a small basket and hung using fishing wire. It almost looked like a pretty hot air balloon if you will. :) 

To secure the yarn lantern to the basket I used fishing wire and basically threaded it through the balloon and the gaps in the basket.  

To hang, initially I strung the fishing wire to the top of the lantern only to realize that my lanterns where not super strong and so the shape was giving away. And since I was working on party decorations I could not afford poor shape. So I ended up stringing and securing the fishing wire to the base of the basket and up through the entire length of the balloon.

At the time I was too disorganized to document the process step by step (I still am :( ). But here are some pictures I did end up taking.

Prototype 1: Hung on a clothes line to dry (for 24 hours)

After the balloon was deflated.

Hanging on my makeshift drying line

How to:

  • Inflate balloon
  • Make glue mixture.  Half parts of school glue, half parts water and some cornstarch. Stir well. Not too watery and not too thick. Use bowl big enough to dip ball of yarn.
  • Dip ball of yarn in glue mixture.
  • Let it soak for a bit. Just to coat.
  • Meanwhile coat balloon in petroleum jelly
  • Hold balloon and start wrapping gluey yarn to it as firmly as you can in all directions.
  • Once satisfied with the coverage, tuck the end of the yarn into any corners securely.
  • Let it dry either on a drying line or on a cup.
  • Once dry, deflate the balloon, slowly
  • If there are too many glue crystals, try nipping it off with a chop stick or small knife taking care not to cause damage.

These would be the lessons I learnt:

1.       Do not underestimate the sticky mess that this project is. Ensure you have covered your floor with large plastic sheets. Wear a trash bag dress. Tie up your hair. J

2.      If you plan to do multiple balloons, have enough glue and yarn on hand. Inflate all you balloons prior to getting to the glue mixture. A big enough bowl for your mixture. And have the drying line ready. I simply used a curtain rod balancing on 2 dining chairs.

3.      It would also make sense to string all the balloons from the drying line so that while you are gluing the yarn to the balloons, you could take a break without having to set the balloon down.  You don’t want to try and string sticky gooey balloons. Trust me it was a mess.

4.      It has to dry for at least 24 hours or more. In my case, the balloons I had started deflating before the end of 24 hours which was quite discouraging as it caused shriveling at the base of the lantern. Some videos on YouTube suggested inflating a new balloon into the yarn lantern to plump it up. That is what I did. It was a little tricky but it worked.
5. Do not pop the balloon. Make a tiny prick near the knot and let it deflate slowly.

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