Dorm DIY #2 – twine lanterns


There is something about fairy lights that makes them instantly transform a drab-looking room into a warm and inviting space. While fairy lights look great on their own, last year I saw some interesting tutorials online that used household items to make really pretty little lanterns out of white string. Since I love a good (and cheap) DIY project that allows me to avoid spending my summer earnings on ikea decorations that will end up in the landfill, I set out to make those little twine lanterns and turn them into a string of fairy lights.

This project is a tiny bit messy, so its best to do it outside if you can.

What you need:

  • string of 10-15 fairy lights
  • 15 water balloons
  • cotton twine/string
  • vaseline (enough to coat all the balloons)
  • 80g cornflour
  • 100g white school glue
  • clear spray paint
  • twist ties or wire (to attach the lanterns to the fairy lights – you could probably also use string or thread if you wanted)
  • plastic container like an old yoghurt container (the glue mixture is hard to clean off)
  • something to stir with, like a clean twig (please don’t use your flatmate’s favorite spoon)
  • 60ml warm water
  • scissors
  • rubber gloves if you don’t want your hands to get dirty
  • a long rod/stick and two chairs to suspend the balloons from
  • something to keep the floor clean like a tarp or old towel


twine-lanterns-1Blow up the water balloons (a few more than the number of fairy lights).

Cover the balloons with a coat of vaseline.

Mix 80g cornflour with 100g glue and 60ml warm water and stir until smooth.

Cut a piece of string about the length of your arm span and put it in the bowl with the glue mixture. Fully submerge the entire string in the glue, but keep hold of one end.
twine-lanterns-2Carefully pull the string out of the glue mixture and drape over the balloon, criss-crossing in whatever pattern you like. Tuck the end bits of string under other pieces.

Take a short, fresh piece of string and tie around the balloon’s bellybutton (?). Use this to hang the balloon from the rod to dry.

Repeat with all of the balloons. I found that using my arm span to ‘measure’ the strings gave the balloons a more even look and while some of you may prefer to dip the string in the glue mixture as you go along, I found it easier to submerge the whole string at once.

Let the balloons dry for 24 hours, then burst them and coat the twine lanterns with clear spray paint.

Poke the fairy lights into lanterns and fasten using white twist ties, wire or string.



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