String balloon sculptures are magical and wonderful and fun to make. This project is definitely on the messy side, so it is best done outside or over a garbage bag. My boys enjoyed using multiple colors of yarn. Want to make yours extra flashy? Sprinkle your sculpture with glitter while the glue is still wet. And while it is sticky and fun, there are lots of science learnings in this project about structures and their supports.
What you need:
Thin, colored cotton yarn
What you do:
Mix equal parts Elmer’s Glue and water in a bowl.
Cut lots of three-foot lengths of yarn.
Run a strip of yarn through the glue mixture. Then squeeze it between your fingers to remove any excess.
Wrap the strip around the balloon in whatever pattern you’d like. To keep it from unraveling, tuck in its end. Hint: Hang the balloon from a wire hanger by piercing the knot. It’ll make it easier to wrap.
Continue this process until the balloon is completely covered. Let dry for at least 24 hours.
Now, poke your finger inside the sculpture to loosen the balloon from its yarn coating. Once the balloon is unstuck…pop it!
Why it works:
As the glue hardens on the string, it becomes a strong, independent structure. When completely dry, the interior structure (the ballon) can be removed and the external structure (the string) can stand on its own. The is similar to the way scaffolding holds up building structures until the building is stable enough to stand on its own and the scaffolding can be removed.
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