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Our favourite: DIY String Ball Chandeliers

A disclaimer: this post has been several months in the making – a project which required perserverance! I first spotted this fab DIY idea about three months ago on one of the many wedding blogs I frequent, www.ruffledblog.com, and set out straight away to recreate this awesome chandelier for my own wedding.

Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as easy as it looked, and many frustrating failed attempts later, I’ve finally perfected a technique which I can now share with you. Sorry it’s long-winded – I’m not leaving anything to chance!

Firstly, you’ll need a sunny day and some space outdoors. I’ve tried doing this indoors and it isn’t worth the clean up job – this gets seriously messy. So wear clothes which you don’t mind getting messed up, and prepare a space outdoors, preferably with some shade so your balloons don’t bear the full heat of the sun.

In addition, you’ll need:

a large bottle of PVA glue
good quality balloons
thick, stiff string (I used wrapping twine from Mitre 10, a synthetic string which will hold shape well)
scissors
an old ice cream container or similar, to dip the string into PVA
vaseline (not necessary, but you may prefer to use it)
a hanging station for wet balloons – you can peg them to a clothes horse or similar.

Blow a balloon up to your preferred size. Start smaller, until you get the hang of things. Also, it’s best if you don’t blow them up to full size, to make the shape rounder.

Next, pour PVA into a container. The DIY tutorial I found suggested a cornflour/water mixture rather than PVA, but I found this didn’t hold as well as I would like – the finished product felt a bit flimsy. Maybe it was because the string I opted to use was very thick, but you may need to try some options to figure out your preference in relation to the string you’re using.

At this point, you may wish to coat your balloon in vaseline, so that when you pop the balloon after it’s dried, it won’t stick to the string. This was actually a source of much frustration for me, as I found it difficult enough to wind wet string around a balloon without it already being an incredibly slippery surface. In the end, I left vaseline out and it was fine – I had to pull the balloon off the string in some places but nothing too dramatic.

There are several ways in which you can apply PVA-soaked string – it’s handy to have a friend soak lengths of string while you wrap. Don’t be tempted to dunk an entire pile of string into PVA at once – I’ll guarantee you’ll get in a tangled mess.

I tied the string at the knot of the balloon to make it more maneagable, and wound vertically at first, followed by horizontal lengths. Every time you start a new piece of string, tuck it into a criss-cross piece of the string ball.

You’ll note the pieces of balloon on the grass – that’s what’s left of the one which exploded as I was winding string, and left me with a face spattered in PVA. Be gentle with the balloons which are blown up large!

Peg it out to dry on a clothes horse, which you can then bring indoors in the evening (don’t forget to line your floor with newspaper). Wait AT LEAST 24 hours – I’d recommend a couple of days at least, until the string is absolutely bone dry. Pop the balloon, and poke out any PVA crystals which may have formed between the holes.

Voila! I think these string balls will look great strung on fishing line with fairy lights, or in a cluster as a chandelier.You can also spray paint the balls any colour you like.

Above all, have fun and don’t let failed attempts get you down – it’s not as easy as it looks! And, if you end up with a deflated string ball, you can still pull it apart and re-use the string.

Check out more awesome DIY ideas at www.ruffledblog.com

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