Whirl-it lampshade

We really needed a new lamp, and we´ve planned to make one for months. This week we finally got around to it. It takes a bit of different materials, but it´s really easy when you´ve started. We recommend making it outdoors, as it gets quite messy. The result is pretty neat, especially at night when the threads cast shadow on the walls.

We planned to make the lamp using the yarn Garnstudio Ice, but it ran out really quickly, and we had to improvise by using a thinner yarn to complete it. Perhaps it happened for a reason - we really like the contrasts between the yarn quality and colours. Happy whirling!

What we used
One big, round balloon. We used really big one, but didn´t fill it completely. (You can get them from balloon-companies where you live, try Google...)
A pump to fill the balloon with
2 balls of Ice og 1 ball Lerke, or other yarn, preferably cotton or acryllic.
Water resistant marker
Wallpaper glue
An old box to mix the glue and the yarn in
Stick to mix the glue and the yarn
Gloves, if you don´t like it messy, we made it without...
Something to hang the lamp by. We used IKEAs ricelamp hanging device (bottom right), and cut the long bits off
Paper cloth
Wire with lightening bulb

How we did it
Gather all the materials.
Put the yarn into the glue and mix properly. Work the glue into the yarn without unveiling the ball.
Fill the balloon to a desireable size. Rub it in with a thin layer of vaseline.
Get your hanging device, and mark a circle at the top of the balloon that´s 1 -2 cm smaller than the hanging device.
Hang it and start whirling.
Whirl pretty tightly. Start out vertically and work more and more horizontally. Make sure it gets even. Make sure you stick to the circle you drew on top. Tuck the loose ends under the yarn at the top, and work the circle when you´re done so it´s all even.
Leave it drying for 24 hours, we recommend that you take it inside to dry.
Pop the balloon, place your hanging device and light inside the lamp, and let there be light!

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    nice post, this site's great!
  • Response
    Response: lamp shade

Reader Comments (108)

I love it! Great Diy!!!! I can't wait to try this and couldn't resist posting about it. Come take a peek:
Thanks for all your wonderful projects!

juni 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterluvinthemommyhood

absolutely fabulous!!! gathering material to do this with my daughter right now!

juni 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervely

Where did you buy the big balloon?

juni 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdina

Thanks guys!
We love feed back!
We go the balloon from a balloon company in Norway:

Google it or try the yellow pages where you live.

juni 30, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

really cool!! Do u think it will work on the rice paper lamp from ikea as well? So i dont hav eto look for the bog balloon?

juni 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBillete

Awesome!!!!!!!!!! I wanna try it!!!
ps. I added you to my blog!:) Love your blog!

juni 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

wow....I love it! such a wonderful idea, thanks for the tutorial!

juni 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Thanks for your nice responses.
Billete: A ricelamp would probably be hard to cover in vaseline, and the clue would probably just stich to the ricelamp. But, we´re not sure.

juni 30, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

Hi; This looks really great, I want to try it! Can you tell me what size balloon you bought, I think it is a good size? Thanks so much!

juli 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGoneril

What a brilliant idea! Thank you so much for sharing.
I know a lamp very similar to this one from a Dutch company called moooi, but I think I like this version even more.
Love your blog.
It's going to be difficult to find a balloon so big, but I'm going to look for it!

Thank you!

juli 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

I love the lamp! Do you think Elmer's glue or a general, all-purpose white glue like that would work for this? Just to save a little dough and not buy wallpaper paste! Thanks!

juli 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggy

Also, would any color yarn work??? Does wallpaper paste dry clear?

juli 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggy

We are not familiar with Elmer's glue, sorry... We would recommend using a glue that is without smell, as the lighting bowl heats the pendant a bit, and it might smell... Also, as our yarn was so light in terms of colours, we're not sure how darker colours will turn out. Do a small test perhaps. It looks like there might be a bit of white stuff from the glue still overlaying the yarn.
Best of luck!

juli 13, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

This is great, but I'm confused about how to make this past the point where you hang the balloon up. Can you post more pictures of the process? Once the balloon is hung up do you basically make a little yarn circle at the top and then wind the warn around the balloon?

juli 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn Lewis

Hi! Sorry, we haven´t got any photos of it, as I got my hands so full of glue, that it was impossible. However, you simply whirl the yarn full of glue around the baloon, and try to not wind any yarn outside the circle you´ve drawn on top. You don´t have to make a yarn circle, but try to shape the yarn into a circle when tou´re done. It´s sticky and wet and easy to shape into place as long as you keep the circle in mind while you´re winding. Hope this cleared things up!

juli 26, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

Okay... so I actually tried this a little over 2 weeks ago, and I must say it didn't work at all for me! When I checked on it the next morning (after letting it sit for 24 hours) is wasn't hard and sturdy at all! In fact, it was just kind of a big floppy mess! I'm going to try this again as soon as another balloon gets delivered my way, but do you have any further instructions?!?! I used an all-purpose wallpaper glue. This time I think I'm going to try and also spray it with some spray glue or starch to try and harden it up. I know this seems like an easy project, but if you have any further advice, I would appreciate it! Thanks!

august 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShaena

Hi! Sorry to hear it didn't work out. We used a pretty strong wallpaper glue. The store had two different ones, one for paper mache and one stronger. We used the stronger one. Perhaps your lamp got too much glue. When we were winding the yarn, we squeezed it through two fingers before winding it, so excess glue was removed. Do you think that could help?

august 1, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

elmers glue is working great for me so far...probably going to end up being 3 large bottles when all is done. i know from previous projects that it dries hard but not quite clear, more of an opaque. for a balloon i am using one of those huge punch balloons that has a rubber band attached. found them at a party store. more of a toy than a regular balloon and the size is perfect. i am planning on spraying it w/ clear coat spray when i am done to make it sturdier and shiney. i will post again after i am finished....this is so much fun!

august 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchandajoy

This was a great idea. I make easter eggs almost the same was. Use an oval shaped ballopn and after it dries cut a hole in the front fill with grass and whatever else you want. Great gift for teachers. ( fill wiht note pads and pens or post its.

august 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermary

Hi! I've always wanted to do this too, this is great! Just wanted to mention that punch balloons, that you can get at party stores, are almost perfectly round. Hope that helps!

august 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Dresbach

This was also listed out with step-by-step by ReadyMade magazine earlier this year.


august 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterunknown

Hello unknown!
Seems like some think we´re idea stealers...
Just to clear things up: Lamps like these are not an idea from 2009, one of us had one in our bedroom as a child, and they where hugely popular in the 70s. There is now a design version around, which have made them come back into fashion. We´re guessing that loads of people have made this around the world without knowing about eachother. We are not claiming this is our unique idea, we´re simply remaking a childhood lamp, and we´re not surprised others have made it in the same way, as it´s really the best way to do it.
For later comments, we really would appreciate a full name.

august 12, 2009 | Registered Commenterpickles

Cool! I use to make Easter Eggs using glue mixed with water. I like the idea of using wall paper paste. I also used Pam spray, didn't think of vaseline. Using it as a lamp, very creative.
If you make Easter eggs, you can use any size, cover the top more, then after it dries, cut out a circle on one side (or I am going to try and mark it like the top of the lamp) then glue lace or ribbon around the opening, put easter grass inside along with a stuffed bunny or chick and a few flowers, really cute.

august 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindy

completely awesome!

august 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

i should totally try this! soo neat! a throwback to paper mache, but for adults :)


august 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>