How to make a yarn ball centerpiece (the right way!)

In the spring my sister-in-law, Amyee, and I set out to make yarn ball centerpieces for the Graceful Nights Spring Auction. This is the Pinterest inspiration from Zankyou.us that we had hopes of achieving.   string-spheres1

They are beautiful aren’t they?  The tutorial seemed easy enough to complete the desired look. We gathered the decoration committee for a craft night and strung balloons with crochet yarn, sprayed them with stiffener and then set them out to dry.   It seemed fairly apparent before they were 100% dried that this process wouldn’t work.  The yarn was not  getting stiff enough to take on the shape of the balloon.  We saturated those balloons with stiffener, too. When the balloon was popped what we created was a shapeless pile of fairly stiff string.

We were committed to creating the yarn balls. So, Amyee and I went back to the internet and scoured for better directions on how to create them. For our second attempt at yarn ball centerpieces we used this tutorial at FaveCrafts.com. This time we decided to go it alone and spent a day together and winding yarn saturated in a glue water mix around the balloons. Then we sent them out to dry. Once the yarn felt hard and dry we popped the balloon.  Then the disaster happened right before our eyes.  The yarn shrunk into the balloon as it deflated! They didn’t hold their shape at all.  Our yarn balls resembled a pile of regurgitated glue with a hint of yarn. They were a far cry from the sophisticated picture on Pinterest.  It was nothing short of a craft FAIL! I wish I had taken pictures of them!

We definitely found ourselves scratching our heads at this task. What we weren’t prepare for was gravity when the balloon popped and the Florida humidity. But what we finally found was a  tutorial that lead us on the right path to finally mastering the art of yarn ball centerpieces.

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Anthology Storied Destinations features a DIY Twine Lantern tutorial that solved 80% of our issues. We added an extra step or two to get the perfect look as a centerpiece, not an lantern. With out further ado, here is the process that we used to create our yarn ball centerpieces.

How to Make A Yarn Ball Centerpiece

Supplies Needed:

  • Balloons (we used 5” balloons for small, 7” balloons for medium and 9” balloons for large)
  • fine crochet yarn (preferably 10 weight)
  • 8 oz. tacky glue
  • 1 cup of Corn starch
  • 1/2 cup of Warm water
  • utensil to stir glue mixture
  • cooking oil spray
  • large mixing bowl
  • Scissors
  • clear fast drying spraying paint
  • newspaper/shower curtain/drop cloth (to protect the floor from dripping of glue mixture)
  • clothes pins (to hang the balloon while the string dries)
  • string (to create a line to hang the balloons from)

Directions:

#1.    Prepare your work area.  Lay down newspapers, a shower curtain or drop cloth in the area in which you plan to work.  Also, you will want to create an area to hang your balloons to dry.  *We used a string secured to the wall with tacks.  And hung them the balloons    with clothes pins.

#2 Mix together the glue, water and corn starch in a large mixing bowl until completely smooth.

#3     Enlarge balloon to desired size of centerpiece.  Spray the balloon with cooking oil spray. *We blew up the balloons with a  balloon pump but certainly could be done with our own lungs. Winking smile We also wanted a large selection of sizes for the multiple tables.  We prepared 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small for each table.  We also choose to do colored yarn as well. The variation of this project is unlimited. and customizable to your parties décor.

#4.     Place the roll of crochet yarn into the glue mixture.  Allow it to sit for a couple minutes, so that the yarn become saturated with glue.  Once the yarn is wet, begin winding/draping it on to and around the balloon. Continue doing this until you are satisfied with the amount of coverage on the balloon. Cut the yarn off of the roll and tuck the end of the piece underneath/around yarn already on the balloon.

#5.  Then push all yarn away from the nipple (tie) of the balloon.  This is done for 2 reasons.  1) to create an opening to allow the yarn ball to sit flat on a table and 2) so that the balloon can be hung by the clothes pin.

#6.  Hang your balloons dry from a clothes line.  The yarn will take anywhere from 24-48 hours to dry.

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#7. Once the yarn is completely dry, pop the balloon. We found that several of our balls were not dry on the inside once we popped the balloon.  If this happens to you do not panic.  We inserted a new balloon inside the centerpiece, inflated it and rehung for longer drying. 

#8.  After the balloon is popped your centerpiece is completed.  Use it to decorate your event anyway you would like.  We accented our centerpieces with tulle and flameless candles.

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Feel free to comment with any questions that you may have about creating the centerpieces.

Happy Crafting!

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Comments

  1. Some of those pinterest projects are not as easy as they look. I am amazed at your perseverance to get this done.

  2. Oh I really love those! Very pretty!

  3. these are so cool! I’ll have to try them 🙂

  4. I wish you had gotten pictures of the fail too but I am very glad you figured it out. They look great.

  5. These would look nice on my dining room table! Very pretty!

  6. These are so pretty! My gramma used to make something like this for Easter but in the shape of an egg, then she would put a little diorama inside!

  7. Finally! I have read so many different tutorials on how to make these. This seems the best. I am about to try. Thank you!

  8. I am so glad I found this before trying to make these. I’m in Florida too and didn’t even consider the normal humidity!! Of course right now it’s the crazy arctic front so I guess it might be the best time to try to make these.

  9. Tracey Kitchingham says:

    Where and when do you use the clear fast drying paint?

    • Oops I didn’t mention when I used that in the article! You can use it after the balloon is popped and the yarn ball is dry to give it a stiffer feel. One fun option would be glitter spray paint!

      • Tracey Kitchingham says:

        Of course, if I had thought about it. We have been trying to do this with string (going for a rustic look) but maybe yarn will be easier.

  10. Okay we are having a formal graduation party for my girl child. THIS is a winner. being a crafter we have made alot but THIS my friend is the KICKER project. Oh! And by the way I – LOVE – GLITTER!!!!! smiling-

  11. I cannot wait to try this. Can you give me an example of ‘sticky glue’? 🙂 Elmers?

  12. I LOVE these and would like to use them as centerpieces for our upcoming fundraiser gala. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to make them. Does anyone know if anyone sells them already made? If so, please please please let me know (Kelly.cogan@nyumc.org). Thank you in advance for you help!!
    Best,
    Kelly

  13. So I am currently making these for
    My weeding they turned out great. The. We had a great idea to turn of the a. For a few hours and all of them started melting and collapsing. I assume from the heat and humidity. Any suggestions?

    Ps. I only used a glue mixture made from water flour and sugar

    • I think you should put a balloon back into the center of the ball and blow it back up so that you can get the right shape. I would then reroll the ball in a glue solution so that it could keep its shape more stiffley. Once 100% dry then pop the balloon.

  14. I remember making these as a youngster in Campfire Girls. We used wheat paste to saturate the string/yarn in.

    • Gary Mc Intyre says:

      I have been doing this for over 35 years I have found the if you will use a stiffener you will be time and money ahead I just made 35 center pieces for my Granddaughters wedding, I have one I did in orange as a pumpkin for Halloween it is now over 34 years old if you would like to see my center pieces email me at gmcintyre7241@gmail.com in the subject line please put centerpieces

      • Have you been successful in making these WATER/WEATHERPROOF?

        Is there a spray that you’d recommend to protect them from the elements?

  15. Hey . I tried the yarn balloon . When I popped the balloon after it got dried it just made a small hole in that area . The balloon dint completely pop . But wherever I poked with the pin would become a hole . And the balloon would stay as it is .any idea why this happened ?

  16. KK Crawford says:

    Wondered how much yarn is needed to make approx. 40 (varying sizes) ?

  17. Shawna Holzworth says:

    I after my balloons are dry, I pop them and it looks like there is excess glue between the strings. I havnt seen anyone else end up or even talk about these results. I am doing too be proper glue to corn starch to water ratios, and I am removing excess glue mixture from the string before putting it on the balloon. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I have found on YouTube that a lot of people just use glue and water… Have you tried this mix as well?

  18. Christina says:

    My yarn balls are covered in a thin coating of visible fabric stiffener—-like too much hair spray back in the day. How can I clean these? Right now they shed little flakes and look like they’re covered in spiderwebs?

  19. I’m trying to make some large ones as centerpieces for my daughter’s 6th birthday (cat themed…cats love yarn balls!) Any tips on the actual wrapping process? My yarn keeps getting all tangled and/or slipping off of the balloon and hanging down all saggy as I’m trying to wrap it. And it takes a TON of yarn to do one balloon. I was trying to do the large punch balloons with the rubberbands but may have to scale down to smaller balloons.

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