It was a horribly wet day on Friday so when the girls came home from school, I suggested that we make a light garland using a kit that I stock on my website. The girls were both up for it so we got to business. I’ll explain how we did it, with some photos and a video and then I’ll tell you what we liked, disliked and some tips if you buy a kit yourself to do.
The kit comes with 8 small balloons, 4 long lengths of different coloured embroidery threads, a short string of fairy lights, a bottle of PVA glue, some wooden skewers and some step by step visual instructions. It was supposed to have a balloon pump but our box didn’t have one.
Blow up the balloons
Cut the embroidery threads to about 5m. You now have 8 strings of thread, one for each balloon.
Pour the PVA glue into a bowl and add half the amount of water. Then mix them together.
Dip your first string into the glue and wind it around the balloon to make a web. Then go onto the next balloon and do the same.
Stick the skewer through the balloon (above the knot so that you don’t deflate the balloon) and suspend them (I used glasses to suspend them) so they don’t stick to worktops or each other. Leave to dry for at least 12 hours
Use the skewer to burst the balloons (they won’t automatically deflate as they are attached to the dried out thread)
Gently prize the balloon from the thread using the skewer, making sure that you don’t push the threads in and affect the shape. (I’m sorry, some devices aren’t showing the whole screen for this you tube video but it’s worth watching from a computer screen as it shows how you have to prize the balloon from the threads)
Push the little bulbs into one of the gaps in your balls and secure with thread.
Add batteries and hey presto – you have a lovely light garland!
What I didn’t like:
There was no balloon pump. These balloons aren’t regular balloons and they are much harder to blow up.
That the instructions were only visual ones. I’d like to have been able to read what to do as often I found the pictures hard to figure out!
It ended up being extremely messy – glue all over our hands and counter!
It was very hard to guess what size the balloons were supposed to be blown to. We blew ours too big and then ran out of embroidery thread and glue. Thankfully we had extra of both in our craft box so we could continue without much stress.
What I liked:
That is was difficult enough that my girls needed my help. It’s good to have a craft that challenges them. It was nice to work on something fun together, even if they did bail on me once it got really messy!
That this craft took longer than 10 minutes. If a craft can be done quickly I often feel cheated that I’ve paid for it and it took no time at all to do. This craft took about an hour and a half to do. Then you had to wait 12 hours to dry and then it took about another hour to get the balloons out and the lights in.
The end result! It looks great and works perfectly. It’s really pretty
If you have a balloon pump, take it out to help you blow up the balloons. You won’t regret a trip to the attic!
Cut the strings of thread into 2.5m and use two on each balloon. Working with gluey 5m of thread can be very messy and knotty!
Have all the strings de-tangled from each other and lay them out flat on a table before you get your hands gluey. Otherwise, you’ll have to repeatedly wash your hands after every balloon.
Err on the side of caution and make the balloons quite small so you have enough glue and thread to complete the project. I think they probably should be blown up to about the size of a ping pong ball. (a tennis ball is too big – we learnt this from experience!)
If you have extra glue and thread at home, have them ready. These work best if the web only has small holes in it and depending on the size of your balloons, you might discover half way through that you need more than what the kit supplies.
This kit is probably ideal for children aged 12+. I did it with my 9 and 10 year olds and they both lost interest half way through as it was super messy and they didn’t want to get messy! I think adult help is definitely needed, especially during the inserting the bulbs stage.
Have 2 AA batteries ready so you can try it out as soon as you’ve completed it.
I hope this gives a fair assessment of the Make your own Light Garland Kit. Already there’s a request here that we make another one, so I think that speaks for itself! The kit costs €20 and is available for sale here
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you purchase one and have more to add from your experience, let me know and I can add it in.