by Piotr Golinski
DIY String Ornament
There are many different ways to decorate a tree, but in my opinion the one of a kind handmade ones are the best because they bring joy when they are taken out of hibernation and adorned on a tree or a garland. Whether they are made by your kids, your niece, nephew, cousin, best friend’s sister or even yourself, they have the power to trigger wonderful memories and possibly reignite a forgotten joy for crafting.
If this is your case, then I’d love to share one of my favourite hand made ornament tutorials with you. To be clear, this is not original and there are a million and one tutorials on these types of ornaments online ranging in difficulty but it will always be my opinion that the simpler a project is, the better. You should not be stressing about creating something and keeping it light allows you to (hopefully) share the experience with someone else and craft together!
You will need:
• String or yarn. A natural material works better because it is more absorbent, but you can go as fancy (lace) or simple (twine) as you’d like!
• Matte medium (or mod podge, or flour/water mixture, or glue and water mixture)
• Petrolium jelly
1. Begin by cutting long lengths of string and placing them in a bowl filled with your sticky mixture to soak. Matte medium (found in the paint aisles of craft stores like Michaels) works best for outdoor use because it dries clear and makes a watertight seal, but mod podge, a thick mixture of glue and a little water or even a runny paste of corn starch and water will do the trick.
2. While the string is soaking, blow up a balloon to the size you would like your ornament to be. Don’t blow it all the way up or it will make your ornament look more oblong rather than circular. Tie off the end and cover the surface in thin layer of petroleum jelly. This helps separate the balloon from the string later on.
3. Begin wrapping lengths of string onto the balloon going horizontally and vertically first. The balloon may distort, but as you wrap in a circular pattern, it will naturally begin to take on a round shape. If you are confident in your wrapping ability, then you may wish to have one long length of string that will cover the entire ball. Feel free to be as creative as you like and use different thicknesses or colours of string to create a pattern.
4. Once you are happy with how small the open spaces are between the threads, hang the ball up to dry at least 24 hours and then pop the balloon. Make sure to leave at least one larger hole so that you can extract the balloon and (possibly) add other things inside.
5. Add a ribbon or use the same string to make it hangable and add to your tree, garland or wreath. Or make a bunch and fill a glass bowl or vase with them! If you wish to add something inside the ball like leaves flowers, mistletoe, cranberries, maybe potpourri or pine needles, you can do so through the larger hole, but I like to leave them as is so that the lights from the tree can shine through.