I wanted to celebrate the holidays by festooning my Christmas tree in garish reds and greens this year and I wanted to do it for under $50. With my new Captain America pinwheel ornaments (Project No. 12), my old-school pipe cleaner chain garland, and these grand little felt stocking ornaments my mom hand-sewed in the '70s, I figured that nearly 30 feet of colorful Felt-Ball-Garland should put it over the top.
First, I needed to buy the felt balls. I've had my eye on them for some time at Raleigh, North Carolina-based ornamentea.com, so I cranked up my laptop and started mousing. I can't believe this store isn't in P-Town— it's quirky, it's crafty, and it's cool.
Before buying, I had to do some math. I figured three 9' lengths of garland would drape a normal size tree modestly— that's 27 feet total. ornamentea.com's 1cm + 2cm Felt Balls came 50 to a bag, in "Xmas Colors," for $9.50. Two hundred of them would put a ball about every inch and a half on the strand.
I threw four bags of balls in my virtual shopping cart and headed to the "Ribbon and String" department, where I snagged 100 yards of red Bordeaux Baker's Twine (traditionally used to wrap bread and baked goodies, $13.25). After adding $5.60 for shipping, I was within spitting distance of my budget.
Construction: I cut three 10' lengths of twine (to allow for loops at the ends). Then, as if I was making cranberry or popcorn garland from the days of yore, I threaded the first 9' length of twine onto an embroidery needle, tied a knot at one end, and started stringing. The needle plowed through most of the balls with ease, but the green ones were dense and required the help of pliers to pull it through.
It took 15 minutes to string 200 balls onto one length of twine. I monitored size and color as I skewered, so I didn't end up with too many balls of one color or size all in one place. When finished with each strand I made a little noose at one end so the three strands could hook onto one another like a happy little train.
I'm thrilled with my Teeny Tiny Tacky Felt Ball Garland. It was easy to make, not too expensive, and the strands look righteously like Christmas. But they don't have to.
Ornamentea.com has felt balls in a multitude of color combinations— Retro, Flora, Jazz— you name it. Any of them could really fancy up a room all year round.
Next Week: Making Yarn
Made is a weekly how-to advertising-sales feature that focuses on D-I-Y projects and the local businesses that can help you make them.