macrame balloons are my fave

June 26, 2012

You know it’s going to be a good day when Sharon visits YAMF. These macrame balloons would look amazing in a huge bundle don’t you think?
Do you wish you had a local bar named the Regal Beagle that you could go to with your friends?  Did your dad have facial hair that looked similar to Magnum PI? Was your mom’s hair down to her waist?  If you said yes to any of these questions, your mom probably did some sort of macrame crafts when you were growing up.  If not your mom, it was most certainly hanging in a neighbor’s house.  It is popping up again in home decor magazines as everything old seems to be new again.  So I decided to update it and work it in to a party decor.  I recruited a fantastic photographer, Jackie Culmer, to help shoot this as I knew that I wouldn’t be able to capture these balloons the way I wanted you to see them.  She did not disappoint!  I freaking love her work.  And I kind of want to make some of these to just hang around the house!

While you could certainly use macrame cording (which I kind of love because it is an awesome thickness) I decided to use yarn which is cheap and something that most people are likely to have around the house.  Likewise, while lots of people are in to the giant balloons, which not only cost an arm, you still have to pay to have them filled (a leg) and then figure out how many will fit in your car to get them to the party location.  I think everyday, run of the mill balloons, are super festive and there are tons of new ways to use them for a big impact without needing a PHD in Crafting or a lot of dough.

See the full tutorial after the jump.

While there are tons of macrame knots that can be done for different visual effect, I decided to keep it super simple to show you how it works and leave it up to you to learn a new knot if it strikes your fancy.  How much easier can this get?  All you need is scissors, yarn and a balloon.


The length of the yarn that you need to start with it pretty arbitrary.  I always gave myself about a yard to work with but always had some left over.  Whatever you decide, you will need to cut 8 pieces of yarn the same length.  The yellow balloon, in the very first image, with the pink yarn used 16 pieces and a different type of knot.  Just saying…possibilities are endless.  Also, I kept it simple with using only one color of yarn but you could certainly add interest with other colors.  Once you have all your yarn pieces cut, tie a knot at the top to keep them all together.  Depending on how low you want the balloon to hang is where you will tie the knot.  For the purpose of the tutorial, I tied the knot right near the top.


It is easiest if you tie the yarn bundle to something to work on the next part.  Just about anything will work.  I used a kid’s chair and a knob from an upper kitchen cabinet.  If you can bribe your small child to sit still and hold it steady that would work too.  But let’s be real, that is HIGHLY unlikely.


Macrame is a series of knots, simple or decorative done in patterns.  All we really need to accomplish here is keeping the balloon inside so we are making a net, basically, to go around it.  To start, you will try to straighten out your strings.  You will want to try to figure out which strings are next to each other.  It is usually easiest to take the two pieces directly in the front middle to start.  Decide where you want to start the pattern and tie a knot as per the example.  I do not study knots so I have no idea what this knot’s legit knot name is.  I call it “the only knot I know.”
Once that knot is done, pick up the next two pieces of string and knot them at about the same height as the first knot.  Continue this with the remaining sets of 2 strings.  This sounds super confusing to me so just look at the picture.  Super easy.


This next part is where we start to create the pattern and help make that net type balloon trapping device we are after.  Take two knots from the previous step that are right next to each other.  There will be four stings total.  You are going to use the two inside strings, which means one string will come from the knot on the left and one string will come from the knot on the right.  Knot those two pieces together, at whatever height you think will look good in your pattern.  Now you will work, moving around the balloon hanger (not technically because at this point the balloon is not yet in it so do your best to picture it as you go).  For now, leave the leftover string from the knot on the left you just had in the last knot.  Pick up the leftover string from the knot you had on the right but it will now be in your left hand.  Now pick up the next knot on the right.  Using the leftover string from the left knot, and the string closest to it from the right knot, knot them together at approximately the same height as the knot you just finished.  Continue the rest of the way around.  Once you have completed that level, start again using the two strings closest to each other from adjacent knots.  Keep in mind that most balloons are tear drop shaped and if you do your knots too close together, your weave might be a little tight for the balloon to fit in.  This is another reason that yarn works well, it has a bit of give to it so it can stretch around the balloon.


Knot as many levels as you think you need.  Much like everything else I do, this is not an exact science.  Blow up your balloon.


Try to create an opening at the untied end of your balloon hanger and slide the balloon in with the knotted end pointing toward the very first knot you made of all 8 strings together.  Hold the balloon knot and initial yarn knot in one hand.


It is easiest to get the balloon situated by putting the fat end of the balloon against your stomach.  With your other hand, grab the loose pieces of yarn and bring them to the underside of the balloon.  Then tie a knot to finish it.


Boom.  Super easy and adaptable so many different ways.


On this balloon hanger I learned how to do a square knot.  I like that it sort of gives it a honeycomb effect.  And I will be making these again for sure.  I think I might even make them messier, with uneven knots, to give it a more haphazard look.  Which is MY fave.


Think of all the other fun stuff you could put in clear balloons too.  The glitter, of course, looks awesome, but I could have even put Legos for a recent Lego party we had.  The only limit is the size of your funnel.  As long as something will fit through the funnel, you can put it in the balloon.  Um, OMG.  Candy?!  I’m seeing a whole new type of pinata, people!!

images: Jackie Culmer
See more awesome from Sharon at Cupcakes and Cutlery



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