Last summer we moved David into his “big boy” room to make room for his new baby brother in the nursery. I wanted to make his room personalized for him without looking too cheesy (for instance, I just can’t get on board with the life-size cartoon character wall decals).
David is OBSESSED with balls, so a ball-themed room was a natural choice. I wanted to make some sort of decoration for his room–something that would look nice and be relatively easy to make since I really have very little patience for all things crafty. In the end, I decided to make these hanging string balls that I grouped together and have hanging over his dresser.
Each ball took me about 15 minutes to make, and an easy 15 minutes at that. They are simple to put together and, since you don’t have to think about what you’re doing as you’re doing it, you can zone out and listen to music or an audiobook while you’re “working”. They were also inexpensive–I bought all of the supplies to make 7 string balls for less than $20 (and I had enough string left over to make about a dozen more, if I’d been so motivated).
I actually enjoyed making these balls so much that I would like to do this project again in the future (when I have time, which is never–so it probably won’t happen, but I would still like to.). It would be fun to work with some other fun colors of string and sizes of balls so I could have the balls on hand for party decorations.
Here’s the how-to if you’d like to make your own hanging ball decor:
- plastic playground ball (Target had a wide variety of sizes, from wiffle ball size to beach ball size. Choose a ball that is the same size as you want your string ball to be).
- 1 spool cotton crochet thread in your desired color (I used one similar to this and it was plenty for 5 small balls).
- plastic sheeting to cover your work surface
- 1 plastic tub (large enough to submerge your spool of thread in)
- 2 16-ounce bottles of Elmer’s glue (just the typical white glue)
- Paper towels
- 1 can of spray-on glue
- clear fishing line
- 1 needle from a sports ball pump
- Cover your work surface (and the floor beneath) with plastic sheeting or some over type of covering. This can get a bit messy!
- Dump 1 bottle of glue into the plastic tub. Add a few tablespoons of water to the glue to thin it out just a bit.
- Put the spool of thread into the glue mixture in the tub. Roll it around until the spool is completely covered in glue. If you don’t have enough glue to completely cover your spool of thread, add more glue. You want your thread really goopy.
- Hold your plastic ball and start wrapping the thread around it in a random criss-cross pattern (leave the thread in the plastic tub, and just pull it to unravel as you’re going. Make sure all of the thread is saturated with glue.). Do NOT cover about a 2-inch diameter circle around the ball’s air valve (where you would pump more air into the ball). This is where you will remove the plastic ball after the thread is dry. Really go for it, and just keep wrapping. The more thread you use, the better your ball will stay together and the awesome-er it will look when it’s all done. This gets pretty messy, so that’s why you’ve got the paper towels on hand. Wipe up the excess goopy glue that’s dripping off the thread as you’re going.
- When you feel that your ball is sufficiently covered in thread, loop the thread through some of your criss-crosses and tie it off. Cut the thread off of the spool and set your ball upside down (on the air valve that you didn’t cover with string) to dry overnight.
- Once the thread is completely dry, take the ball pump needle and insert it into the ball’s air valve. This will release all of the air from inside the ball. Once the ball is deflated, pull it out through the opening you left near the original ball’s air valve.
- Loop some of the fishing line through the top part of the thread ball and tie it off to make a “hanger” for your ball.
- Take your thread ball outside and spray it inside and out with the spray-on glue (Hold on to the fishing line so you can spray the whole ball without getting your hands all glue-y).
- Hang the ball up by the fishing line so the spray on glue can dry completely.
- Once all of your glue is dry, you should be ready to hang up your thread ball for decoration!
I grouped 7 balls together for my son’s room, but you could do whatever you want with the balls. If you want to make multiple balls, you can either pump up the same plastic ball to use again as the ball form, or you can just use a variety of different plastic balls. I tried beach balls as the ball form, as well, but they didn’t hold their shape as well as the playground balls.