This article is also posted at Squidoo!
Inside this ball of yarn are all sorts of little goodies I chose for a friend. I wanted to send them to her in a way that’s entertaining, and since the gift will travel a long distance, I also had to come up with something that would take the abuse of going through the mail.
My solution? I turned a pile of ephemera and goodies into a surprise ball. Here’s how:
First, I chose the items I wanted to send, inlcuding a printer’s block, some buttons, rhineston brads in a small watchmaker tin, and a bunch of ATC backgrounds. I’ve seen all manner of things wrapped this way: small pieces of artwork, figurines, art dolls, fat quarters for quilting, little handwritten notes—you name it. I usually try to keep my largest item smaller than my hand, so the ball will end up about the size of a small melon, but if you have lots of ribbons and fibers for wrapping, and the strength to lift the finished ball, make it as large as you wish.
I usually choose to make the largest item in my pile of goodies the center of the ball, so here, I’m starting with the ATC backgrounds. One or two would probably buckle when wrapped, but a dozen wrapped together in a stack makes a very sturdy center.
Because this is going to a mixed media artist, I wanted to include lots of different fibers and trims. I’ll be changing the wrappings in each step—but if you’re senting to someone who knits, crochets or weaves, perhaps you’ll want to purchase one lovely skein of yarn, and wrap the whole thing with that instead. Think about the recipient, and what she’d like.
Next, I’ll add two shorter, thicker items, to pad the center out, and start turning this into more of a ball shape. Here, I’m using some lovely lace trim to wrap the printer’s block to the center of the ATC backgrounds.
On the other side, I wrapped the little tin of brads. I like including something in a tin close to the center of the ball, because when it’s finished, you can shake the ball and hear things rattling inside.
By the time I have these two items securely wrapped, the ball is already taking shape. It’s getting rounder.
The next layer was done with wide strips of lovely bright yellow silk. As I wrapped, I added groups of buttons, so three or four of them will fall out at a time when the ball is unwrapped.
After several layers of wide, bumpy wrapping, I needed something to tighten the ball up. I chose some narrower flat lace trim.
To hold the end of the trim in place, I attached this little bottle cap pin. Now I really have a nice ball shape going.
Now that the ball is larger, I can include some longer pieces. These are long bamboo beads, held in place with my favorite string from the hardware store. Maybe some nice handmade paper beads could go into this layer.
The next layer included some unmounted rubber stamps, since my friend is really into stamping. These small pieces of rubber wrapped around the ball easily, held into place by some jute twine.
For my last layer of wrapping, I chose some brightly colored yarn. I covered the entire ball with this, so it looks like just a big ball of yarn—but when you lift it, it’s heavy, and it rattles.
I always include a little note or tag that’s visible on the outside of the ball, telling the recipient that yes, they should unwind it to find their presents. I’ve added a sheet of tags to the free printables section of the site. I cut mine out, and edged it with a little chalk in to match the yarn.
Tie the tag around the ball, and it’s ready to go!