Ball o’ String Light Shade

The project:

Ball o' String lamp

Ball o’ String lamp

The inspiration: I saw this beautiful lamp in a designer catalog for $300. Surely, being the thrifty type I am, I’m not paying prices like this! And so I set out to make my own version of the lovely lamp. My decor is mostly gray, white and beige neutrals with bright pops of aqua and plum. (designer speak: technically, it’s robin’s egg blue and aubergine!) So white seemed like the best color option, not to mention the brightest option for a lamp shade, to best allow light through.

The process:


  • 1 large punch-balloon (the annoying kind attached to a rubber band that kids punch)
  • a bottle of modge podge
  • 1 skein (or so) of yarn
  • water
  • Vaseline
  • 1 Ikea Hemma cord with bulb socket (Looks like an extension cord that ends in a bare bulb.)
  • a large bowl small bucket, paper towels and drop cloths
  • Helpful: a buddy


  1. Lay out drop cloths.  Blow up the balloon to fullest capacity. Coat in Vaseline. Ew. (Bad memories of a bloated pregnant belly, circa 38 weeks!)
  2. Mix together 50/50 blend of modge podge and water in a large bowl or small bucket. Unravel several yards of yarn into the bucket, careful not to tangle things up. Clip it from the skein. Let it soak for a moment.
  3. Wrap the balloon in yarn, rotating and moving in every direction. Leave a space open at the top of the shade for insertion of the light bulb. Here’s where your buddy comes in handy! It’s a wet, slimy process. Repeat steps 2-3 until your balloon is mostly covered, yarn runs in every direction and you’re satisfied with the design. Keep in mind that less yarn makes a brighter, harsher light, more yarn makes a softer glow. Likewise, lighter yarn means more light, darker yarn is more opaque. So perhaps darker yarn necessitates less revolutions with the yarn.
  4. Suspend to dry.
  5. Release the air from the balloon and use wire to attach the Hemma cord/bulb to the shade. Hang and enjoy!
String light lit up at night

String light lit up at night


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