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Topic: I Really need help with my crafty project!  (Read 7050 times)
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« on: January 19, 2011 10:53:45 AM »

Okay, I need the crafting communty's help in order for me to finish my project that I have been working on.  I am getting married in May, 2012 and my theme is rustic and it is going to be an outdoor wedding.  I found hanging lamps in a magazine that I just fell in love with that would look AMAZING hanging in the trees for the reception.  They were made of twigs and were in the shape of large balls with lights in them.  I couldn't figure out how to make them with twigs, so I found the next best thing- Yarn!!  

*I got balloons, "stiffy" fabric stiffener, and brown yarn.  I blew up the balloon and drenched the yarn with the fabric stiffener, and applied the yarn to the balloon by wrapping it around the balloon in various directions.

*After the balloon had enough yarn on it, I let it sit and dry and after it fully dried, I popped the balloon.
I found that the yarn ball was stiff, but when I attached the christmas lights to the inside of the ball, the yarn began to sag in different sections and just didnt hold up as well as I need it to.  

My Question to the craft community:

What can I use (other than fabric stiffener) to make the yarn harder and more stiff?  

Here is a picture of the current condition that it is in...

You can see that the fabric stiffener is flaking and left white, translucent film over much of the yarn.  It is a pain to pick all of it off and it takes forever.    
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011 11:49:16 AM »

Hmm, have you tried wallpaper paste? I ones used that to stiffen bowls made of doilies. In my experience you don't see the wallpaper paste on the fabric/ yarn.
Maybe choose a different medium?
I have seen those kind of lamps made out of papertwine, I think that would hold up better as it's thicker and stiffer.

It also looks like you used regular christmas lights, they produce heat and can thus affect the stiffener. You could try LED christmas lights, they produce much less warmth.

Good luck with your project, I can see where it's going and I agree that it would look lovely hanging in the trees!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011 11:55:20 AM by abbytail » THIS ROCKS   Logged

I'm never having kids, I hear they take 9 months to download
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011 12:10:54 PM »

I will definitely check out the wallpaper paste!  Thank you!  The bowls made from doilies sounds so cute!  I might try that out some time! 

Where can you buy papertwine at?  Is it expensive?   We are trying to keep the cost down as much as we can for the wedding, so that is why we are making a lot of the decorations for it, so the smaller the price, the better. 
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011 12:12:30 PM »

white school glue it dries clear or you can use the paper mache ( spelling?) mixture. I think even tacky glue would work.

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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011 12:45:01 PM »

Well I know a dollarstore (well not a 'dollar' store, as I'm not in the U.S. Grin) that sells it. It's like thick yarn made of paper.
I found a blog where someone made one of the paperyarn lamps, you can find it here:
The text is in Finnish, but the photo's are quite clear, I think.

She used a water diluted uhu type of glue.....

I'm never having kids, I hear they take 9 months to download
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011 01:24:06 PM »

Oh wow!! I love the way those turned out!  Thank you for the link!!  Can you read Finnish?  I'm curious as to what kind of lights she used.  I seem to only be able to find the longer lengths of christmas lights everywhere I go.  There have been some LED Christmas lights that I've found but they are all longer lengths also.
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011 03:07:39 PM »

I would suggest looking in the floral section of Joann Fabrics, Walmart, or even the dollar store. They often carry the paper twine (not sure of the actual name, it's like a twisted paper cord), and if they don't you may find something else that will work. Something like a paper-wrapped floral wire might hold its shape better, and while it's probably a bit more expensive, it would save you a lot of work gluing (and swearing, if you're anything like me  Cheesy ). If you do want to stick with the yarn or something like it, I'd think a jute twine might hold its shape and hold up to the weight of the lights better, and I second the craft or wallpaper glue idea.
As to the lights... I've only ever seen the shorter strands of lights at the dollar store, usually 20 to 50 lights per strand. In fact, last time I was at Dollar Tree, I recall seeing small strands of white lights in poly bags in their bridal section. I wonder if you could achieve a similar look with those LED tea lights? Like one or two per ball?
Hope this helps, at least a little bit. I can definitely see what you're trying to do, and I think it'll look great. Good luck! Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011 03:45:46 PM »

You could try using wicker or grapevine instead of yarn.  This would more like the twigs you originally wanted.  I don't know anywhere to buy any - but you could do a google search for basketmaking supplies.
I don't know where you live (I'm under about a foot of snow), but if you have any weeping willow trees around you, you can cut the vine-like branches and work with them.  They get stiff as they dry out.  We had weeping willows in my schoolyard and we would make wreaths and crowns and things with the branches during recess.

I do quite a bit of paper mache, and I believe that both the white glue and wallpaper paste will leave flaking and film as the fabric stiffener did (Any glue will want to puddle at the yarn intersections against the balloon).  One option is to do a couple layers of paper mache on the balloon first with white tissue, let that dry, then do the yarn.  Obviously you wouldn't be able to see through the final lantern, but you'd get a softer, translucent light and the flaking wouldn't be a problem. Plus, the tissue would give the yarn some extra strength/ integrity.

I had a May wedding also, and it was beautiful! (Plus, you can relax all summer because the wedding will be over).
Good luck!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011 03:49:13 PM by Crafty.Canadian » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011 12:54:56 PM »

Thank you guys a lot for the suggestions!  I will be giving some of them a try this weekend for sure! As soon as I get this whole thing perfected I will post a picture and a tutorial  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011 07:44:38 PM »

I think grape vine would maybe work if you have access to some,  I'm not sure how you would go about shaping it...i've never done it.  But I'm sure you could weave it somehow.

I was thinking the paper string or paper rope would absorb more of your solution, whether it be glue, glue watered down, fabric stiffener or wall paper paste, so that would likely be a lot more sturdier than yarn when it dried. 

I think most kinds of yarn or wool repel moisture because they are made from synthetic materials like plastic, or wool which naturally repels water.  In that case your stiffener was probably mostly on the outside of the yarn and didn't penetrate enough, so that is why it probably sagged, no inner support.

I hope whatever you choose works out well, you do have a very nice idea.  They will look beautiful. =0)

Sarah Wink
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