I went on an experimental streak last week. I usually know exactly what I want to make before I start. I’ve already constructed it in my mind, maybe drew a sketch or two, the point is I usually start creating with the end result in mind. This was the complete opposite. I didn’t set out to create a DIY woven vase. I just wanted to weave and started wondering what would happen if I weaved around a shape. So I grabbed a party balloon and started, blatantly winging it but carefully documenting as I went along – just in case.
Crafting “freestyle” was very soothing! I’ll show you the steps I took to create this vase below and I highly encourage you to be experimental with this tutorial. Use whatever yarn or material you love, change the way you weave around. Weave more, weave less, weave shapes!
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To make your own DIY Woven Vase, you’ll need…
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Step 1: Create the DIY Woven Vase structure
To start, blow up a party balloon and tie the end shut. Next, cut 3 lengths of metal wire. Take one piece of metal, bend it smoothly around the balloon and twist the 2 ends together to hold the wire in place. Repeat this with the other 2 lengths of metal so that your balloon ends up surrounded by metal, like in the picture above.
Step 2: Arrange raffia around the structure
Next, create a bundle of raffia and tape the ends together with masking tape. Spread your raffia to open up the bunch and place your balloon in the middle. Arrange the pieces of raffia as evenly as humanely possible around the balloon and tie the bundle shut again, with tape or a rubber band.
Step 3: Weave the body of the vase
To start weaving, thread a plastic tapestry needle with a long piece of paper string or any other natural yarn. This is a very experimental craft project, so use any material you like or have on hand!
Tie the end of the paper yarn to some raffia toward the bottom of the balloon and start looping the yarn around small bunches of raffia. Go around the balloon 2 or 3 times, pulling the bunches of raffia closer every time.
Be careful when introducing the needle, it’s plastic but it can still pierce your balloon!
If you pierce the balloon, you can always replace it by sliding a new balloon through the raffia with the blowing nib protruding from the structure. Blow the balloon, tie the nib and push the nib into the structure behind some raffia.
You can weave all the way up or choose an open weave by leaving space in between rows. I weaved around the balloon at a few inches intervals twice. To reduce the space between the bunches of raffia, I split the small bundles of raffia to weave around different pieces of raffia with every row. This added a diamond pattern to the open weave.
Step 4: Weave the neck of the vase
Once you reach the top of the balloon, weave around a few times with paper yarn. Now, open up the bundle of raffia and untwist the metal wire. This will give you more space and flexibility to weave the neck of the vase.
At this point, I got bored so I change my paper yarn and started weaving the neck with raffia. I liked the contrast of textures but this is completely optional!
To weave the neck of the vase, weave tighter and tighter around the vase for at least 2″ (5cm). Then, spread your bundle of raffia apart to loosen it up and start weaving looser, gradually with every round, for another 2 inches. This will give the neck of the vase a gentle curve.
Step 5: Trim the top of the DIY Woven Vase
Now, that the neck of the vase is done, grab a pair of scissors and cut the excess raffia until it’s 1/2″ (1 to 1.5cm) short. Be careful not to catch any metal wire in your scissors!!
Next, gently bend the metal wire to follow the neck of the vase. If the wire is long, cut it short with a pair of pliers. I tried to leave at least 1″ (2.5cm) of wire to provide extra support for the neck.
Step 6: Trim the bottom of the DIY Woven Vase
Finally, cut through the taped bundle at the bottom of the vase and trim the raffia short.
You now have official clearance to burst the balloon! FINALLY – if you’ve been trying hard to keep this balloon safe for a few hours, it will feel damn good to finally release it from the vase structure!!!
That’s all! Place your vase on a flat surface and slightly tap the bottom to adjust the metal wire until the vase stands up relatively straight. It’s fine if it has a slight wonkiness to it, it’s part of the charm 😉