This simple project might bring back memories of elementary school, but it turns out to be not only a fun craft to do with the kids, but a darling spring time decoration. A decorative glue yarn ball like this can cost at least a few dollars each in the store. But if you make them yourself, you can make a ton of them for just a few bucks!
Glue Yarn Ball Tutorial
- yarn (I used 4 different colors)
- a bag of balloons: I used 5 inch round balloons to make smaller yarn balls
- white craft glue – I suggest a gallon glue jug
NOTE – this craft is messy… fun and messy!
Make a mixture of glue and water (avoid making it too watery).
Slightly blow up one 5 inch round balloon.
Pull out a big bunch of yarn from the yarn ball itself. It is helpful to wrap it around your hand holding onto the end as to avoid tangling of the yarn (I learned this one the hard way – what a mess!) Dunk the yarn into the glue/water mixture making it all wet. Squeeze it out before wrapping.
Begin wrapping the wet yarn around the small balloon. There is no method here, just wrap it in every which way.
Once you have covered up a good majority of the balloon, cut off the yarn and tuck the end under.
Roll the yarn wrapped balloon one more time in the water glue mixture, and then squeeze out any excess.
Once all your glue yarn ball is completely squeezed out, let them dry with the balloons inflated inside overnight. This is an important step.
In the morning of the next day, the glue yarn ball should be stiff and hard. If it is still damp, I would give it a second day. If it’s dry, you can pop the balloon! You should be left with a colorful decorative yarn ball.
That’s it! Now fill a basket or a large apothecary jar or even a big glass trifle bowl would be fun too!
With these bright spring colors, it’s bound to bring a little happiness indoors.
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More Yarn Craft Ideas:
13 Yarn Pom-Poms for Home Decor
15 Gorgeous Woven Yarn Wall Hangings
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I’ve failed with elmers clear glue and water, just tried again using cornstarch in the mix. Could I use spray adhesive????
I used mod podge, it came out good but when I took out the balloon, you can see all the dry mod podge in the openings. How can I fix this?
I’ve made a few that didn’t do well. Only two were ok. Thanks for the Vaseline tip. Let me try. With glue and water alone, will mine be stiff enough?
Try using simple sugar recipe instead of glue or starch! 2 cups sugar to 1 cup warm water, microwave until warm enough to completely dissolve, ( let cool bit before handling or dipping balloons in) you may still get some coverage between strings, but is pretty and glittery even when you leave it on. Before decorating try coating with clear spray enamel or lacquer to give extra strength and keeps any sugar crystals from falling all over. My mother did this craft with me 33 years ago, and we just set those eggs next to the ones I just made with my children!! Awesome project and much easier clean [email protected]
How can I make them waterproof for use outside?
The yarn balls are so lovely.
I just made these and after 3 failed attempts i was able to tweak it up and make perfect balls. I decided to add a little bit of laundry starch to the glue mixture and a bit more water. The next day when it was dry i popped one and half of the ball fell in but i used another ballon to inflate it again into a perfect round. Also before i popped it i used a sharpee to push in between the holes gently to loosen the ballon and yarn from sticking. This helped make the popping easier and it didnt pull the yarn with it.
I tried this project and did something wrong — can you tell me what it may have been. Here’s my blog entry – http://testingtrendy123.blogspot.com/2013/04/yarn-balls.html
Wow, I finallly found the recipe again, I have not done these, for over 20 years, and lost the instructions I used to have, but anyway, I could not remember if it was starch, or glue, or the procedure for the steps. Iused to use the bathtub to dry them, and hang them, up, with clothspins, and covered the tub, with alot of plastic! One cold also try to do it outside, it can dry wuicker there? on a clothes line? But anyway, I liked the idea about the spray strarch, or glue, I know they make the spray adhesive, maybe one could try to spray the balloon, with the spray adhesive, then, wrap the yarn, or string around, the baloons, then, maybe also spary a top layer of the starch, or adhesive, but I dont know, I would have to try to experiment with them, but they are great, and lots of fun, also for gifts. Ihave given some to friends, and they said they loved them, so much. One could also try to use, glitter yarn, but I used to sprinkle glitter on the balloons, after they had the glue ont hem, and also made different sizes.
I wanted to try to do it ag ain, thanks for the instructions, I will print them off!
Hey,I tryed your decorations and it can out perfectly.
Thank you for sharing this with us.:)
This would be great with school/team colors, for all ages & including teacher etc.
Sta Flo instructions say:
1 cup liquid starch
1/2 cup flour
and stir like crazy.
This was MESSY but FUN!!! I forgot a step, but 2 of them worked out. Head over to my blog and check out the pics!
From Behind the Lavender Door
We used fabric starch and different colors of crochet string to make Easter eggs and sprinkled them with glitter while wet. You should not need to put anything on the balloons to keep the string from sticking. If you are using the glue make sure you get out the excess too much and that is when you get the puddles of glue in the holes, however you can use an xacto knife to break it apart. You should be able to use what ever size balloon you want depending on what you want to do with them. However I do recommend using helium quality balloons. Hope this is helpful for you, I have been making these for over 50 years.
Thank you for this great post! I made these with my three-year-old, this week. Great craft for kids.
thank you for the lovely tutorial
Could you please tell me the brand of balloons you used? They looked to be perfectly round and small? Thank you!
Thank you! This is great. Want to make a big one for a light fixture…
I love the yarn Ballons we are making them for a wedding shower,I found out putting vaseline on the balloons first then wrap them worked,could you tell me was the yarn a 2 ply,that is the only problem we have & the size trying to make them small enough,I know you used 5″ so do we but how big are the ones you made thank you for a wonderful Idea.
i really liked your yarn balls and i used them as inspiration picture to one of my posts. check it out: http://heartcoretoys.blogspot.gr/2012/06/tangled-eggs-yarn-balls.html if you mind please contact me and i’ll delete it
Just wondering with the glue and water can you use pva glue or craft glue and just add it to the water??
Molly, did the paper mache mix work out? Did you notice any discoloration?
I wish this really was as simple as you described, but it’s really not. A good tip is to mix up the glue with 1/2 cup of corn starch and 1/4 cup of water. Also, YES, put vaseline on the balloon first. Every one I did not using vaseline collapsed, even after drying overnight.
Even with these tips, I too had issues with the clear glue “skin” being left in between the yarn after you pull the balloon out.
All in all, it looks like it will be a fun craft, but my kids were super disappointed in how it didn’t come out the way the pretty picture made it look.
have you ever made lamps out of balloons & yarn? if so could u please tell me how/ thank you
Ok girls, I did this yesterday with cheap brown yard. I’m making one to see if my preschoolers could make them, then we are going to add a little bird to make into bird cages. So, I used a paper mache mix, 1 c. water + 1/4 flour, simmered it for 3 minutes, and dunked the yarn in. Squeezed the extra goo off through my fingers, and wrapped up the balloon. It’s been about 14 hours now, and it’s totally hard. I haven’t popped the balloon yet, but it’s definitely going to work great. I don’t know about the discoloring of the brighter/lighter colors as I used a light brown yarn. Hope that helps!
Molly, Did the paper mache mix work? Did you notice any discoloration?
Ugh. I am having an epic fail at this too.
I first tried the method listed.
Then i tried using spray mount on a the balloon with dry yarn–then painted on fabric stiffen-er……..but that just moved the yarn around even with a light touch.
I think I need to get a spray bottle and then spray on the stiffener.
What do you think about using twine? And hanging these outside… Like bird houses? My question is -will twine work?
I tried making these and it was an epic fail! My balloons started to deflate, which in turn caused the yarn balls to be no so pretty. Any advice?!?
What is the trick to getting the balloons to stick to the balloon? I tried a 2:1 Glue/Water mix and they just keep sliding off the balloon. In another blog someone wrapped them dry and then just sprayed it with liquid starch, in another they wrapped dry and then dipped the whole balloon in the adhesive. Frustrated with the method here I tried to wrap it dry and I couldn’t get it to stay for anything! So frustrating for something so cute and simple looking!
Great idea! I was just wondering how long they last? Do you think they can be stored without falling apart?
These are super duper cute! Id love to try making some of these with the kiddos.
love these.. made them this weekend, but I did big ones…the big issue I had, was there was tons of glue left inbetween the strings…. kinda looked like glue stained glass on the ball…. so it has been alot of extra work to try to get rid of all of the glue…. Anyone else have this issue??
i have this problem as well I would love to know if you ave found a solution.
The best way I’ve found to avoid the yarn from collapsing is putting a thin layer of vasaline on the balloon before putting any string on. Hope that helps!
WOW, brings back memories. At almost 64 I’ve often thought back to childhood days and seems like I crafted all alone. NOT. With my Mom and Grandma from Cuba, I do remember making these and then before being dry we sprinkled them with glitter and hung to dry. You know I don’t remember what we did with them. I think we made egg shaped for easter. I love seeing this. What a cool project for the Christmas tree. Thanks for bringing back a memory I had forgotten.
Sooooo cute!! I love them!!
i have tried… mod podge watered down with a little water… flour & water paste… & elmers glue.. nothing is working!
the mod podge balloon the balloon just seizes up with the ball attached before it has time to dry..
the flour & water paste dries hard, but discolors the thread..
and the elmers glue is drying but the ball isn’t hard.
i’m stumped! we made 50 something balls for a wedding this coming weekend & they all collapsed before drying… it’s like the elmers isn’t stiff enough?!
the balloons aren’t staying full long enough & the yarn isn’t keeping it’s shape!
i’m usually able to work out the kinks, but i’m stumped! please help!!!!
This similar DIY suggests using fabric stiffener instead. Maybe that would work better for you?
I’d also appreciate a glue:water ratio. Is it 1:1? 1:2?
I recall this craft…I think we used liquid starch instead of elmer’s?
Is your drying room too hot? If the air is too hot or too cold, the volume of the balloons will change. Also, I left mine to dry for quite a while, just to make sure they are set perfectly.
Most likely you are using too much glue in the glue/water ratio, and…OR it hasn’t had enough dry time.
Someone suggested that you could put them in a very low temp (200 degrees) in your oven to speed up the dry time.
I hope these suggestions help.
Every time I pop the balloon the yarn sticks to it and it collapses…any ideas?
coat the balloon with a thin layer of Vaseline before applying the yarn :)
I have also found – when I forgot to add the vaseline, lol- that once dried COMPLETELY, if I gently rolled the ball around in my hands applying just a tad of pressure, the balloons would loosen from the yarn or string so that when I popped the balloon it wasn’t stuck and didn’t pull the yarn ball in. Hope this little trick helps someone else out there too! :D
Love this! gonna have to whip some up this weekend, shared the link on my blog, thanks for sharing!
You could use these to cover string lights for an indoor or outdoor party.
LOVE these!!! Thanks for the great tute!! found you through centsationalgirl:) thanks for the inspiration! :)
I love kid’s crafts that can also be used as home decor!
So cute! I can’t wait to try these!
I made Christmas ornaments this way with my kids when they were small. While the balls are still wet in the balloon coat them in glitter add an ornament hook when they are dry.
They make great gifts for the holidays.
Lovely! I love the bright colors you used. I just made a wreath using the same technique and a different balloon! Linked to you at the bottom!
So, so cute! I may have to try them . . . they look super easy. My kind of craft :)
I love these yarn balls. They are so cute!
I do remember making these!!! What a fun idea and I can think of some ways to make this project really “grown up”.
What a great idea!! I’m going to make them with my daughter this weekend. Thanks :)
Love this!! Wonderful idea!!!!! Can’t wait to try it!
Classic! Thank you for reminding me of this cool craft.
I am so happy that I subscribe to NoBiggie. What wonderful crafts I have learned and what great information. I love this idea.
I love this idea, and there is so much you could do with it. Like the ornaments someone mentioned, or a mobile. I can see them hanging in bunches at different heights for maybe a party, indoors or out.
Love this how-to. Seriously, we made Christmas ornaments out of this stuff over the holidays.
i love this idea. I did something similar to make hearts but I had to put them in the oven on the warm setting for about an hour the next day. They dried right up really quickly!
I’m definitely going to have to try this one! What a great idea!
Kami! I love these. So fun for spring, and Easter coming up!
These are adorable! I’m going to try them. (Hopefully this year :)
I remember doing this with big balloons as a kid. I’d totally forgotten about it! How chic it looks with those bright colors. I lOVE this! I’m hoping I’ll have time to whip up a few before Easter. Yay! Thanks.
I love the bright colors you chose. I’ve always wanted to try this technique! I think this would be a great way to make Christmas ornaments.
I positively love this! I can already think of a bunch of leftover yarn balls I have that I want to make those with. Thank you!
I’m going to try this with my preschool class! They love crafty things so this is right up their alley. Thanks for the idea!
I love these! I have a big antique wooden bowl on my coffee table that my mom gave me. I change its contents seasonally and can’t wait to make some of these for Spring! My kids can help make them and then might be less likely to turn them into baseballs, or not:)
These are so bright and cheerful looking! Love the colors – and thanks for a great tutorial on them too!
I love these! They would be perfect baubles to hang from a baby mobile!
Aha! We used to make these when I was a kid – only we’d make egg-shaped baskets out of them, cutting a round hole in the side of the balloon shape after all was dry. Then we’d arrange Easter grass and goodies on the inside. We’d use finer string (like tatting cotton) or yarn, depending on what we had on hand. They were so fun! Thanks for the reminder!