artsy fartsy,  crafts gone wrong,  crazy stuff,  easy on the words,  heavy on photos

Not all my ideas are good.

beautiful failure

I’ve been thinking up Christmas crafts for my next installment over at Alpha+Mom and my recent projects have gone horribly wrong. Luckily, I have enough time before my next post is due to test them out. But I thought you’d like to see my latest failure.

wrapping party

I had this idea that I would take some yarn in pretty colors, dunk it in liquid starch, wrap it around some styrofoam cones and make these really cool cone-shaped string trees. Not string cheese, string trees. Cool idea, right?

string trees


Bethany took some really pretty pictures of the craft while it was going down. It had so much promise…

first sign things are not really going to turn out

But the next morning, after the starch had dried, things did not go well. That yarn and string would not budge! I pushed and pulled. I finally had to loosen the yarn with a knife.

uh...this doesn't look right

What came off looked pretty sad. Not really very cone-like at all. I fully expect to see this on Craftastrophe someday.

Princess Leia?

Maybe I could save them for Halloween next year and be Princess Leia in neon.

elephant snout? monkey, er I mean elephant see, elephant do

Or an elephant?

I think I’ll take another crack at this. Maybe I’ll try more starch or putting some tinfoil down on the cone first…I don’t know. It might work, it might not. Good thing I have about five more ideas up my sleeve.


  • The Chatty Housewife

    OH OH OH those could be adorable! I loved the photos of the flop, they are awesome! What about wrapping the cone in plastic wrap using a couple of straight pins and then using white glue for the yarn? That way it might be stiffer and you can just lift it off the cone and then peel off the plastic wrap. I guess if the glue sticks to the plastic wrap maybe you could spray it with pam first lol?

  • Cassie

    ok, coming out of lurk-dom to finally comment-love your site btw! and I have my own “bug” at home hehe :)
    try alene’s clear tacky glue. i just made some twine lamp shades with this glue & it works wonderful! stiff, the shade held its ball shape really well and it looks cool (to me anyway) hanging from the ceiling with a slew of tiny sparkly lights stuffed in it.

  • Andrea

    I tried something similar and had equally wonderful results (i was using balloons instead of a cone.) First one – they stuck to the balloon. Second one, tried Pam and the string just slid right off. Conceptually, it seems so simple but in practice – not so fun.

  • Sarah

    Oh such promise! I hope you find a way to make it work. Get Bethany to help you again – that way she’ll be distracted and won’t notice me stealing her beautifully-lit lemon tree.


    These can be so great, you’ll work it out! Thank you for sharing a craft-gone-wrong… It’s good to see it happens to us all! :)

  • tracy

    ut-oh. i was so hoping that would work. i’m a k-6 art teacher and was planning to steal that idea. hmmm…i like the idea of leaving it on the styrofoam and just covering it more completely. super cute anyway. it was totally worth the giggle tho. reminds me of some art project gone wrong i’ve created….only i failed w 25 “bugs” at a time. you win some you lose some….
    btw…it’s artsy SMARTSY. ;)

  • Mysh

    These are wonderful! How about different sized funnels that you could use to create a “stacked” tree? Just a thought. Still love yours!

  • erika

    all of your ideas are good. this just needs a little tweak and you’ll find it.

    or you just found a completely different project that needs a new name. ;)

  • netfrog

    I love the during pictures but seeing the bare cones made me wonder just how you’d get the string out.

    You definitely need to try again and use foil (or waxed paper) and glue thinned a bit with water.

    Can’t wait to see take two.

  • Patty

    I Love this idea! I made the same craft just with styrofoam cone, I covered them with glad cling wrap, makes it much easier to remove once dry, then construction paper mache then wrapped them with the yarn dipped in starch. Took some time to dry, but placed them in front of a window in the sunshine, and that speeded up the drying time. Then once I hung them on the tree, I placed one of the small tree lights on the underside and let the light shine through! Still love your idea though! You sure are one crafty mother!

  • lourdes

    I like the concept…I agree w/ the others — try a different glue. The execution of this craft is off, not the idea.

    I’m also a lurker, but I just want to say that I think it’s awesome that you don’t color your hair. I think that I live in your neck of the woods based upon the pics, but you look so fresh faced and natural, which isn’t the norm here. I hope that you continue with the natural look and don’t succumb to $120 dye jobs or highlights.

  • BeachMama

    Oooh, I love this idea! I wonder if wrapping the styrofoam in plastic wrap would work best? Someone else may have suggested something but I am playing catch-up and don’t have time to read them all.

  • Vicki

    I did something like this once, but I dipped the yarn in Elmer’s glue. I wrapped it around a balloon, and then popped the balloon after the glue dried. They are ridiculously fragile, but are pretty and have held up for a couple of years now. Just thought I’d share!