Posted by: jinniver | December 10, 2008

Fun Fur for Christmas?

We don’t have a tree up yet.

We weren’t planning on putting one up this year.  We’re going to be spending the holidays with my parents, so it wasn’t worth spending $$$ on a tree shipped from Oregon that we’d have to put on the curb before December 25th–since it would be a dead fire hazard before we got home. And since we weren’t decorating a tree, I didn’t see any reason to lug out all of those Christmas decorations.

Well, I didn’t realize how dependent my Christmas mood was on decorations.  It’s not the shopping, or the holiday specials on TV, or even the lights my neighbors put out (in fact, they make me feel even worse since it’s like a silent rebuke of my non-Christmasy house).  It’s having a tree with lights and pretty ornaments, the smell of fresh pine, my manger scene on the mantle…so I bought a tree to put up.  A fake one.

I’m not a fan of fake trees.  But Steve and I agreed that it would be good to have one in reserve for times like this…or other times when getting a tree isn’t feasible (like a transfer right around Christmas time).  And since we were getting a fake tree, we were getting one pre-lit–that’ll save us some time.  Steve approved of my tree purchase and laughed hysterically at my addition:  3 pine-scented candles.  Hey, that plastic tree isn’t going to give me the piney Christmas scent I need!

So I started thinking about decorations to go on our…um…tree.  I have some special decorations that I started collecting recently and colored plastic balls (the nice glass ones will have to wait until the kids are older).  Last year I made some quilted ornaments to go with them, using scrap fabric from our crazy pieced stockings.

2007 Christmas stockings

Quilted ornaments

So this year, I obviously needed some yarny ornaments, right?

For some reason, I was tickled by the idea of hanging balls of yarn on the tree–not actual balls of yarn since that would be a) heavy and b) inconvenient if I needed to knit with that yarn.  But it had occurred to me that I sometimes seem to end up with long lengths of scrap yarn at the end of projects–too much (and too pretty) to throw out but too little to really use in another project.  So why not turn it into a Christmas ornament?

Of course, right now I don’t have a lot of that pretty scrap yarn to work with…but I’ve got lots of fun and colorful novelty yarn!  I stocked up on it for trim and small accessories, especially for my daughter (and her inevitable dolls), but I’ve got more than I’ll ever need for those purposes.  So I decided to turn it into ornaments.

The process is pretty simple.  I already had the novelty yarn, so all I needed to buy was some styrofoam balls in different sizes and glues (spray on and liquid).  I didn’t have to buy the glitter spray paint–that was an added touch in case any of the yarns were a little dull on their own.

Yarn ornaments (1) text

First, I picked out a yarn–or rather, Jeffrey did. This was a mother/son project, but with the glues, his participation had to be limited…or we’d still be peeling yarn off of him.

Yarn ornaments (2)

His first choice was the red furry yarn (Yarn Bee Airy). You can see he was quite enthused.

Yarn ornaments (3)

I picked out a ball and sprayed it with the tacky spray glue. This gave the ball enough tackiness to hold on to the yarn as I began winding.

Yarn ornaments (4)

Then I began winding the yarn around it. This resulted in rather sticky fingers, which made it fun to try to get the ball unstuck from my hand when I was done winding! I usually had to go wash my hands every 6 balls or so; in retrospect, I should have tried to find my rubber gloves in the garage…wherever my fabric dyeing equipment ended up.

Yarn ornaments (5)

Once I had the styrofoam completely covered, I cut the yarn and glued down the loose end with the liquid glue.

Yarn ornaments (6)

Since I didn’t want the yarn to pull away as I was waiting for the glue to dry, I stuck a staple in the ball over the loose yarn end just to be safe.

Yarn ornaments (7)

So, with just a bit of work, this…

Yarn ornaments (8)

…became this:

Yarn ornaments (9)

I’m really looking forward to hanging these colorful balls on the tree…and I think Jeffrey is too!

Yarn ornaments (10)



  1. One of the best uses of fun fur that I’ve seen! 🙂

  2. I love the yarn balls for the tree! They are very fun!

  3. those came out great! I was thinking of something similiar with red, white and green yarn to make a wreath – sort of like a more colorful version of the ones at starbucks.

    You have the handsomest partner!

  4. Very clever and fun project. We have also played around with similar ideas but using the newer
    Smoothfoam type of styrofoam and a low temp
    glue gun. The smoothfoam is a lot easier to work with and found them at hobby lobby or here

    Goodl luck
    Bill and Jean

  5. What a fun project! I love that you include your kids in your art projects!


%d bloggers like this: