17 December 2011

Weekend DIY: Yarn Bowl

Two weeks ago, while discussing DIY ideas about our No New Gifts Christmas I mentioned a lovely yarn bowl that I wanted to make. Most of you know how much I value hand work be it just for the sake of mental health and the feeling of accomplishment. In a mostly virtual and fast-paced world, one of the most precious acts is working with your hands to create practical objects that can be touched.

So, of course I didn't waste much time and dived happily at the project together with my daughter in the first moment available. Yes, this is a great project to work on with children and teenagers, and it requires a maximum of 40 minutes. Before I continue, let me make it clear that while for many of you yarn bowls like this are probably just a regular basic school activity, for me the process was absolutely unknown (except from the bleached memories of making paper mache once in my life, looong time ago) and extremely exciting. 

The thing I like most about this project is that it is totally eco-friendly and should I even use the very fashionable word biodegradable? There is not a single toxic element into this paper yarn mache except, of course, if you decide to use acrylic yarn.

I made some slight changes to the original pattern, which I would like to share.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • scrap yarn in the color of your choice
  • bowl to use as a mold
  • saran wrap or plastic bag

Choose a bowl that you would use as a mold and wrap it with saran wrap, or a piece of a plastic bag (which we did and used duct tape to secure it on the inner side of the bowl).

Mix well 1/2 cup of flour with 2 cups of lukewarm water. Boil the other 2 cups of water in a sauce pan, remove from heat to add the flour mixture. Bring to a boil once again while mixing constantly. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of sugar. Mix for one last time and let the mixture cool. 

We went kind of over the top with the flour mixture but the bowl still turned out great.
Once it is comfortably cool, start by taking the yarn through the flour-glue mixture, gently squeezing it on the way out of the bowl to prevent what happened to us - you can see on the photo that the glue on the bottom is too much. It took 3 days for it to dry, which is way too long.

Make sure NOT to make your bowl look like this one. It should have considerably less flour-glue.

After you wind enough yarn and in a pattern you like you are done! We left our bowl on the bathroom floor and the floor heating did a miracle drying up. The sides of the bowl, which got through a gentle squeezing process to remove excess glue dried up in 24 hours but the bottom kept us waiting for 2 more days.

Wild  chestnuts complement the wooden look of the bowl

Anyway, the end result is just fabulous, don't you think? Using this particular yarn created a wood-effect that goes perfectly well with our interior (and exterior!) so we are quite happy with the outcome!