DIY String Lanterns, String Lighting
Hopefully, the following tutorial is beneficial to you. I've tried to make it as thorough as possible. Be forewarned, making string lanterns or string lighting is not rocket science and it's certainly not an expensive project, but IT IS MESSY! lol So, dress accordingly and do this project either outside or in a craft area where you can spread a tarp on the floor.
You will need:
- Sharpie pen or permanent marker
- Craft scissors
- Wrapping Twine (twisted cotton, marked for light load)
- approx 4 oz White school glue (dries clear)
- 1/2 cup Tapioca starch (found at grocers)
- approx 1/4 cup cold water
- Container to mix glue, starch & water
- Stir stick or chopsticks or tongs to mix and handle wet twine
- Disposable gloves (optional)
- Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
- Fast drying spray paint (I used Krylon or Rustoleum - whatever I had on hand)
- Christmas string lights or Hanging lamp cord from Ikea or Pier 1
- Tarp to place under project
- Blow up balloon and tie securely. Using permanent marker, draw a circle around the knot in balloon that is just large enough to accommodate whichever lighting method you've chosen. If using tiny Christmas lights, opening can be very small. Draw the circle approximately 2 1/4" in diameter (side to side measurement) if using a standard light bulb. Note: another option for these string lanterns is to use without lights and hang the string globes in groups as a sort of mobile. In this case, forget about leaving any openings during the construction process.
- Prepare work area by laying down tarp. You will need to hang the balloon from a hook or otherwise suspend it so all sides are not touching any areas. Cut twine at a comfortable working height for you and tie twine around knot in balloon.
- Mix starch, white glue and hot water in container until all lumps are removed. Consistency should be like a thick creamy soup. Tip: Add water to the dry ingredients slowly while stirring and adjust as needed.
- Put on disposable gloves if you don't like getting your hands messy. Smear Vaseline all over the balloon until all areas are coated.
- Begin feeding the twine a bit at a time through the wet mix and drape over the balloon. Tuck under the end pieces of the twine at start and finish. Be sure to follow the lines of the circle drawn in step 1. (Under the picture you'll see an explanation of why this is so important.) Continue wrapping vertically at first at a comfortable tightness and gradually switch to wrapping the twine horizontally.
In the picture above, you will see two string globes. Both have dried well enough and the balloons popped by themselves. The globe with the purple balloon was my first attempt at making these. See how I continued the twine at the top and it actually covers the knot? WHAT was I thinking?? Arrrgh! Don't do that! Be sure to follow the directions in step 1 above depending on how you'll be using these string lanterns when complete. Plan ahead.