A little blog about the life of a somewhat lost dreamer....looking for my grace in this crazy world.

01 January 2012

Wow... a new year...

I was wondering what in the world I would share with everyone to start the new year off right, and then I opened my email. Y'all seem to really like my spikey balls... at least judging by the number of emails asking how I made them and requesting a tute. Honestly, I didn't share these earlier because I thought everyone knew how to make them. I remember doing them with my grandmother when I was little, so they're not something new. I was wrong... who knew? Always one who likes to give my readers what you want, seems the perfect thing to share to begin this new year. So here we go... the first tutorial of 2012...

You know I use some really technical tools to create what I do, so let's hope you all have them... ready? You need:


Something round, about the size of what you want your finished ball to be. I used a blank cd (actually the spacer you get when you buy a mega bunch of cds). I have also used jar lids, the tops of cans, small plates, and even, from time to time, a drafting compass, although very infrequently. A sheet of white copy paper to draw the pattern on, a pencil, scissors, old book pages, and glue. You will also need some heavy thread, I used perle cotton, a needle, two sequins or tiny plastic washers (use a hole punch to punch them out of a plastic lid, and make a hole in the center) and two beads slightly larger than the hole in the sequin or washer. And, of course, my favorite handy-dandy-all-around-tool... the bamboo skewer.

First, you make the pattern. Using your circle, draw around it onto the white paper. I also drew inside the circle at the center of the cd just to give myself a reference point for later.

Cut out the circle. You need to fold it so that you have 8 equal sections. That means you fold it in half, then fold that semi circle in half. Open it, and do it all over again so that you have eight folds. I marked the lines with a pencil, and then marked each line 1/2" out from the center fold. When I'm cutting the book pages later I won't go any farther down than that mark, leaving a solid center. You've now got your cutting pattern.

Stack a few of the book pages and use whatever you made your original circle with to make a circle on the pages.


You can either cut them out now, or you can use your pattern to draw your cutting lines, then cut out the circle and the lines.

And, ta-da, there you have it... the beginning of the spikey balls.... Now, let me reassure you at this point, if your circle wasn't cut out perfectly... you're doomed. But... not really. The circles do not have to be PERFECTLY round. And, the cutting into the circles doesn't have to be perfectly even, just close. One thing I would caution about, if you stack too many of the pages, when you cut, especially the straight cuts from the outside of the circle toward the inside, you may well get very unevenly spaced sections. Trust me on that one... been there, done that. Should that happen, you have to toss that bunch and make new ones. Otherwise, you know I always encourage you to embrace the minor imperfections... it will all work out just fine.

Here comes the time consuming part. Grab your circles (you need about 17 for each ball you want to create), your bamboo skewer, and the glue, settle yourself in and turn on something entertaining on TV. Position your skewer so that the tip is almost in the center of one of the sections of paper.

Wrap the paper around the skewer to create a cone shape. The sharper the point the better, and glue. Be sure to hold the paper for a few seconds so that you know it has adhered, trying to re-glue them later is not fun. Learning to make that really sharp point takes a bit of practice, probably took me making four or five balls before I became pretty consistent, so don't get discouraged, just keep going.

When you have all of your points rolled, use the sharp end of your skewer to put a hole in the center of your piece. Once you have them all ready, it's time to string them.

Completely ignoring the glue on my fingers, thread your needle with what you have chosen to use as thread. I used a neutral colored (832) perle cotton. Insert your needle into the bead, then through the sequin or washer.

String seven of the stars, all with their "open" centers facing the same direction. Then string the remaining eight stars with their open centers facing the other direction. Be sure to not let everything fall off of your thread. It happens... and if it does, just restring... won't take that happening many times to make sure that it doesn't again.

When you have all the stars on, load the sequin or washer, then the bead... then take your thread back down through the sequin/washer.

Run your threaded needle all the way back through the stars and come out where you originally.

Bring your needle up through the sequin/washer and through the bead (along side the thread that is already there).

Position a knot, and gently, but firmly, tighten it. Be sure to double or triple tie it... making sure to not get any of the points caught in it...

And there you go... a spikey ball. Simple, huh? If you want to get really fancy, as we did when making them for our tree when I was little, you can put glitter on them... just do it after you roll the tips and before you thread them... and be sure to let them dry completely before you string them.

Personally, I love the simplicity of them, all stacked in and around a container on the table.

18 comments:

Carol said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I love how easy these spikey balls look and want to try my own. I also thank you for the last post about learning to add your own photo background! I did not know about that and promptly checked it out. Will take some practice but love the learning and trying.

Looking forward to a fun 2012.

Carol

jinxxxygirl said...

I love them too June. Thanks so much for sharing. Another on my to do list. My list is getting sooooo long. lol

ACreativeDreamer said...

Carol, you are most welcome... I hope you figured out where to do the adding of the photo, if you didn't just email me and I'll be happy to share with you what I know.

Thanks Deb... they are pretty stunning really... and so darned simple. I'm thinking about doing some to hang from each window in my home. I think they may well become a favorite of mine.

Kristin said...

LOVE! I pinned this tutorial :)

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Thank you for the spikey balls...this is just so fun to say out loud!!!!Happy New 2012! Blessings to you friend! Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Carol said...

I never would have dreamed that they are made this way!!

Donna said...

Thank you for your time to tute this already! I have never seen them and will be making some soon. They are so organic looking. I could see using these for all seasons! thanks, Donna

Barbara said...

Oh thank you June! Wonderful tutorial! Great way to start the year.

Hugs XX
Barbara

LissC said...

thank you so much!!! I can't wait to make them :) I even emailed the link to my craft buddies so that we can make them next time we get together.

So super sweet of you to go through all the trouble to put the directions together. I know how long it takes to create a post. Really really appreciate it!!!

Tolentreasures said...

I love these! Can't wait to try them! I have old stacks of books just waiting for them!

CAthy

Anesha said...

Wonderful thanks for sharing. :)

Sarah Lou said...

LOve these - and I gotta say I love flat as well!!!

ArtGirl said...

cool tutorial!! thanks!

Cherie Burbach said...

Wow, these are amazing. I would have never thought of this, thank you for this tutorial. I'm going to link to it from my About article on making things from old book pages. What a unique item.

Eileen Bergen said...

What an impressive centerpiece they make. Thanks for sharing, June. Happy New Year!

Cyndi L said...

How totally simply completely smashing these look!! I couldn't believe they are this easy to make. Totally new to me too :-)

Daisy Yellow said...

These are magical, they remind me of twinkly stars, just wonderful! Thank you for the detailed tutorial.

shredding Houston said...

These spiked balls are really very unique and beautiful. I do love how simple the procedures are and the fact that old paper materials were utilized. This will not only help reduce clutter at home but is also a great way of creating Christmas decors for this year. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.

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