i dream of making pretty things. i usually fail.
So I’ve never had a root canal, but I’ve heard they’re annoying, painful and all around a horrible experience. This DIY attempt can be described with those same adjectives.
When I first bought the Bust DIY Guide to Life the This Little Light of Mine living room string lights was one of the first crafts I couldn’t wait to attempt. Here’s a photo of what it looks like in my book (I couldn’t find one online, sorry)
They look super pretty and I thought they’d be nice to have for the backyard during summer nights that usually lead to drinking wine with friends and family until after dark falls.
I was going to attempt it when I first got the book, in February, but realized it’s a project best to be done outside because it was going to require a lot of room and make a mess.
If you want to attempt it, you’ll need a string of lights (I got mine at WalMart for $11, it’s a string of 100. I would’ve preferred a smaller string, but it’s off season I guess). You’ll also need a lot of twine (I had mine lying around the house), water and flour to make the paste and then some small balloons (I used water balloons from the dollar store).
Here’s a quick rundown of the directions:
1- In a medium pot, boil 2 cups of water. In a bowl/measuring cup/whatever you want mix 2 more cups of water with 1/2 cup of flour. When the water in the pot boils, add this mixture and bring to boil again. DO NOT LET IT BOIL OVER (this sucker is tricky and will sneak up on you). This is your paste.
2- Blow up your balloons, one for every other light bulb. I had 100 bulbs and had to blow up 50 balloons. FUN! For every balloon that got blown up, I’d say 2 popped. I finally started using a hand pump, but not matter how you do it this is a very tedious job. Also very drying on your hands. FYI: balloons also like to spontaneously pop or lose air. If you think you can blow them up one day and complete the project the next, you’ll find a lot of your balloons are deflated. I tried to do a few at a time, mais non. It’ll take about 2 hours to get them blown up.
3- You’ll also need to attach a string to the end of your balloons. Either at the time you pump them up or later after they’ve all been pumped. I don’t know you or pretend to know what you want to do with your life, so make this decision on your own. But just know, that whatever you choose the balloons will get tangled up. Try to devise a system, but these tricky balloons will foil it. Guaranteed.
4- Cut pieces of twine, the book recommends arm length, I made mine double that and it still didn’t cover as much as those in the book.
5- Take your project outside. Next you’ll be covering the twine in your paste by sticking it in your bowl of paste and then squeezing off the excess. Wrap your balloon with the string and let air dry for a few hours. Like I said, the book says that arms length worth of string should get the job done but unless they have the arms of basketball players (or other freakishly long limbed people) it’s not enough. I used my clothes line to hang them up outside avoiding drips of paste all over my house and instead have them all over the sundeck. No worries, at least that can be hosed off.
Also, try not to do it on a windy day. I didn’t. I knew Sunday would be the last sunny day for awhile so I had to get it in.
6- Once dry (I took mine down at night to avoid the night air wetting them again, but left them to finish drying on my table, they weren’t wet-wet, but I thought I’d take the precaution), the balloon will probably be popped. Slide the balloon out, using tweezers to avoid unraveling the ball. Slide on every other bulb on your string of lights.
Confession: Of my 50 blown up balloons, I did only 25. I got so frustrated and fed up with the wind and the mess and the twine not covering the full balloon, I decided not to do every one just in case I hated the project once I got them on the bulbs.
When I started sliding the balls on the bulbs, I realized that my twine balls weren’t covering the same way they were in the book. Too many spaces. The holes were too wide and the bulbs could easily slide in and out. When I lifted the string up to admire my (halfway finished) handy work about 5 of the balls fell off right away.
I am happy with how the ones that stayed on (as long as the string of lights was moved around very carefully), but it’s just not worth my time or frustration to finish this project. I can’t guarantee they will stay on as I move the string around to hang it up in my backyard, nor that they would stay in place if there was even the slightest breeze.
I think I may have underestimated this project, I thought it would be easy and done in an afternoon. Boy, was I wrong. Maybe it’s my lack of patience, but I don’t really recommend attempting this unless you know for sure this is something you’ll cherish. It’s hard work!
What have some of your DIY fails been? Or projects you thought would be much more simple (or faster) than what they turned up to be?