Yarn or String Christmas Ornament

Wrap yarn round and round a balloon, dip in paste, and let dry. Pop the balloon, paint it, and voila—a lovely Christmas ornament!
Yarn Christmas Ornament craft

Materials

  • Cotton yarn or cotton crochet thread
  • Balloon
  • Scissors
  • Liquid starch (or white glue and cornstarch)
  • Sponge brush or old kitchen sponge
  • Mixing container
  • Petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline)
  • Gold or silver acrylic spray paint
  • Clear acrylic sealer
  • String
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Ribbon, beads, and other accents (optional)

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.

Steps

Step 1 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 1.

Inflate the balloon.

Inflate the balloon to the desired size. If you want a round-shaped ornament, blow only a little air into the balloon so that it stays small and round.
Step 2 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 2.

Coat the balloon.

Make the balloon easy to separate from your dry yarn ornament in the later steps by coating the balloon with a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
Step 3 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 3.

Choose the yarn.

Cotton yarn or cotton crochet thread works best since the material absorbs the paste well. The size of the yarn or thread really depends on your preference. If this is your first time to try, we suggest size 3 for crochet threads and medium weight (size 4) for yarns. Choose white or beige if you wish to paint your ornament.

Synthetic yarns such as acrylic do not absorb the paste quite as well. A stronger paste is needed for this type of yarn, otherwise, the resulting ornament will be too soft to retain its shape.
Step 4a Yarn Christmas Ornament craft Ask for an adult's help.4.

Wrap the balloon with yarn.

Start wrapping the yarn tightly round and round the balloon. This step is probably the most challenging since the string tends to slip around the balloon's curved surface. Some suggest doing several vertical loops, then shift to horizontal loops, before making crisscrossing ones. We went with random directions and it still worked.
Step 4b Yarn Christmas Ornament craft You don't need to cut the yarn, just go on wrapping until you are satisfied with how your ornament looks. If you find it easier to work with shorter lengths, cut yarn into several pieces, around 24 to 36 inches long.

Wrap the balloon with as much yarn as you like for a more covered or solid look or use less yarn for an ornament with wider gaps.
Step 4c Yarn Christmas Ornament craft When you're done, cut the yarn, tuck the end under some yarn loops.
Step 5a Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 5.

Make the paste.

There are several options you can do to make the paste:

A.) White glue - Mix 4 parts white glue with 1 part water. For a 4 oz. (118 ml) bottle of white glue, add 2 tablespoons water. This paste is good for cotton yarn or thread. For synthetic yarn, use the other options below.
Step 5b Yarn Christmas Ornament craft B.) White glue/Cornstarch - Place the contents of a 4 oz. (118 ml) bottle of white glue in a mixing container. Add ½ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Mix well.

This mixture creates a hard yarn ornament and can even work with synthetic yarns. The only downside is that once dry, it forms some hard crusty flakes around the yarn that are not as easy to remove as those formed by a white glue/water mixture.
Step 5c Yarn Christmas Ornament craft C.) Liquid Starch - Use liquid starch such as Sta-Flo as is. It dries clean, without any flakes around the yarn.
Step 6a Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 6.

Soak the yarn with paste.

The idea is to soak all the yarn thorougly in paste. You can do this by dunking or rolling the yarn-wrapped balloon in a container filled with paste. Gently squeeze the balloon to remove excess paste. We prefer to use a sponge brush or an old kitchen sponge (cut into half or quarters) to soak the yarn by parts since it is less messy and it delivers the paste deep into the yarn.
Step 6b Yarn Christmas Ornament craft When sponging the yarn with paste, it is much easier to work by setting the balloon atop a paper cup or similar container. Once you're done with the upper half of the balloon, set it upside down, then work on the lower half.
Step 7a Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 7.

Let it dry.

Let the ornament stand for about an hour on top of the cup to let excess paste drip into the cup. Turn every couple of hours for even drying and to avoid the yarn from getting glued onto the cup's mouth.
Step 7b Yarn Christmas Ornament craft You can also hang them to dry. They will take about 1 to 2 days to dry completely.
Step 8a Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 8.

Pop the balloon.

Once the yarn is completely dry, loosen the balloon by pressing on it with your finger from large gaps in between the crisscrossing strands of yarn. You can also use a blunt object such as the eraser end of a pencil to press through smaller gaps.
Step 8b Yarn Christmas Ornament craft Ask for an adult's help. Use a pin to pop the balloon.

*In case your yarn ornament collapses, remove the bits of balloon. Insert a new balloon and inflate it while inside the ornament. This should restore the ornament to its original shape, though it will probably not be as firm as intended.
Step 9 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 9.

Remove the balloon.

Remove the bits of balloon inside the yarn ornament. Use a pair of tweezers for scraps that are hard to reach.
Step 10 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 10.

Remove the flakes.

You'll have some flakes between the gaps of your ornament if you used white glue as paste. There'll be even more flakes from the white glue/cornstarch paste that are thicker and slightly opaque. Since the ornaments are going to be painted anyway, you can just remove the larger ones. You can click the photo for a closer look. I used the white glue/cornstarch paste for both ornaments.
Step 11 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 11.

Paint the yarn ornament.

Paint the ornaments with gold or silver acrylic spray paint. If you don't have spray paint, you can use regular acrylic or tempera paint and a good old paint brush. Let the paint dry completely.
Step 12 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 12.Ask for an adult's help.

Coat with a sealer.

If you want to make your yarn ornamernts last longer, spray with a coat or two of clear acrylic sealer. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.
Step 13 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft 13.

Add accents.

Once dry, attach a thin string on top of the ornament. String a bead or two and tie a ribbon on top. Hang your ornament on a Christmas tree or holiday garland. Create larger ones to hang from window sills or from the ceiling.

More Ideas

Step 12 Yarn Christmas Ornament craft You can make a sparklier ornament with glitter. Once the paint dries, apply a coat of white glue. Sprinkle some glitter over the glue.

*We've tried sprinkling glitter while the paint was still wet, but most of the glitter came off after the paint dried.
Yarn or String Easter Eggs craft Try using sugar water instead of the paste mixtures in our tutorial above. See details at our Yarn or String Easter Eggs craft.

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