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!


  1. Fantastic idea and so simple to resource :)

  2. Love this idea, I may have to try it with my grands. For now I will link it to pinterest.

  3. This is awesome! I'll have to make one this weekend so it can dry in time for our Christmas party!

    I'd love for you to link up and share: http://tutusandteaparties.blogspot.com/2011/12/pinteresting-party-with-christmas.html

  4. Just great - put simply: only trouble is that my fingers are now too arthritic to be able to do the yarn threading and moulding required. Will keep it handy though, as one daughter might well try it for next year. Thanks!

    Happy Christmas - and thanks, too, for the help you've given me since I began to post at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com in March this year. Hope to improve even more in 2012 and wish you well for the New Year as well!

  5. Oh hey! It looks so nice--I love the fabric you used.

  6. So glad to see the finished result!

    It is beautiful! I also have a very vague memory of paper mache from elementary school. I am definitely going to try this!

  7. I wouldn't have thought of this! Fabulous! I love how you find ingredients from the kitchen inspiring and use them for a cool surprising result!

  8. Very cool and it came out great! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Very cool project! It turned out really neat, and looks like a lot of fun to make. Thanks for sharing your process.
    Everyday Inspired

  10. Very cool! You can make so much with paper mache, though I've never tried using the flour mixture with yarn...just paper, haha. :) Your finished product is fabulous, though - that yarn bowl is so cute!! Fantastic job!!

  11. This looks like so much fun! The girls and I tackled many paper mache projects over the years but never with yarn. Once my Christmas gifts are complete I may have to give this one a try! (Yay for family crafts!!) :)

  12. This looks like so much fun! The girls and I tackled many paper mache projects over the years but never with yarn. Once my Christmas gifts are complete I may have to give this one a try! (Yay for family crafts!!) :)

  13. I love it, it looks great! I would love to try making one of these. I never expected the 'ingredients' to be so simple!

  14. Seriously, you are brilliant and totally just saved my last minute gifts. I just made two of these. I can't believe how easy it is. Can't wait to see how they turn out. Thank you so much for coming up with this!!

  15. PennyDreadful,thanks! I would love to see what your finished bowls look like!

  16. This looks so cool! Thanks for sharing. I may have to give this one a go!

  17. What a creative tutorial! Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Amazing. I am going to try this today!!