String Ball Thingy

This is the knock your socks off post.  Now that I think about it, this wouldn’t in any way knock one’s socks off.  I think I only said that because it knocked my socks off that I actually made this the way I wanted it.  Meaning circular.

I’ll be honest.  This was a major pain in the butt.  There was so much trial and error (emphasis on error) involved.  Since there are so many tutorials out there for this, I tried a few different ones.  Here are my suggestions if you give it a go:


Most of the tutorials call for hemp.  All the hemp I found was the natural brown color.  Actually, if I remember correctly, Martha Stewart has a line of hemp in all sorts of colors, but when I went to the store the white was sold out.  Of course.  If you want it to look similar to the picture except white, don’t get regular yarn.  Get the kind for crocheting which looks more like string.  Yarn made it look like a gigantic ball of yarn.  That sounds obvious, but apparently I’m not that bright.  I honestly liked how it looked, but it wasn’t what I was going for.


Good grief.  I tried so many different kinds and techniques.  Some people said to brush it directly on the wound string, some said to dredge the string through the mixture before winding it on the ball/balloon.  I tried a few different adhesives – fabric stiffener, a glue/fabric stiffener combination and then straight Mod Podge.  Honestly, I didn’t like any of them that much.  The fabric stiffener was the best in terms of drying.  There was no glue residue in between the string, but it wasn’t very stiff.  The combination of glue/fabric stiffener was a little better, but more gloppy meaning a lot of glue residue.  The Mod Podge was the best in terms of stiffness, but it was like glass in between the strings.  I had to clear out all the glue with something and it still wasn’t completely “clean.”  I ended up keeping that one, though.


I never soaked the string in the solution first.  It seemed like it would be messy and hard to wrap a slippery string around a hanging balloon by myself.  I also didn’t try using a ball.  Only because I had a devil of a time finding one.  Plus, if I had to buy a valve to deflate the ball, it bordered on too much to pay for the project.  I only used balloons.  I bought regular ones first which were hard to make perfectly round.  VERY frustrating…  I ended up buying the toy kind with the rubber band tied to the end so that you can punch it.  These.  You could blow them up to a respectable size and still keep them round.  Oh, and I tied the balloons to a broomstick which I balanced on two chairs while I was brushing on the glue.  That way they could dry hanging and wouldn’t risk getting smooshed.

UPDATE – The second time around I rubbed Vaseline all over the balloons before I started wrapping the string around.  I thought it would make it too slippery, but it was the exact opposite.  SO.  I HIGHLY recommend doing that.

Long story short, I could have tried about 1,000 different techniques and probably come up with a much better way of doing it.  Maybe dredging the string through would be the best as it wouldn’t leave that blasted glue all over the place.  If I did that, maybe yarn would have looked awesome.  I don’t know.  All I know for sure is that I’m not going to make another one for a little while as I got sick of seeing giant balls of glued string hanging all over the place.  But I totally love the one I ended up hanging in the bathroom.  It’s perfectly round.

That picture is straight in “real life.”  I swear.  And the ball doesn’t look perfectly round, but it is.  I blame the small bathroom for the picture-taking difficulties.

Now…I practically need a storage space to house all the yarn/string, balloons and glue I accumulated during the process.  Ay yi yi.  (Is that how you spell that?)

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  1. Heidi
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    This looks awesome! Can’t wait to see the poof light too. :)

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      It’s about 1/2 done, so hopefully I’ll post pix tomorrow!! It looks pretty darn good so far!

  2. Posted August 30, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    I made one of these once. I loved it so much and had grand plans to make more of them. That was probably 4 years ago. This picture was taken right before we finally threw it away. It was yellowing and it had gotten crumpled in our last move. I’ll get around to making another one some day.

    Nikki Kelly

    • Lizzie
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

      Here’s a lesson – don’t hang it in the bathroom. The moisture makes it drooooooopppppyyyy. And sad.