Introduction: How to Make Temari

Picture of How to Make Temari

Temari are beautiful little thread balls. They don't have much more use than any other ball. They bounce a little. They're pretty.

I like to make them to keep my hands busy on road trips or while watching movies. They're low-key and relaxing. They're amazing demonstrations of non-Euclidean geometry.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need:
A bit of yarn (the color doesn't matter; it won't show)
A needle
Thread. One of the colors of threads will be used a lot. The grey one in the picture was used up. (I often use serger thread for this.) The other colors should look nice together. (I changed my mind on the design of this one, so the threads pictured aren't the ones I used.)
Maybe a flexible tape measure.
Scissors are helpful.

Step 2: Roll a Yarn Ball

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Roll a little ball of yarn, to the size you want your ball to be.
Roll tightly.

Step 3: Roll a Thread Ball

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Tie a knot in the end of the yarn.
Thread your needle with the thread you have a lot of, but DON'T snip the thread from the spool!
Make a stitch through the knot in the yarn and into the ball. Don't lose your needle in the ball!
Make a few more stitches through the ball using the tail of the thread, until the thread is difficult to pull out of the ball/ the tail of the thread has run out. Put the needle away somewhere safe.
Wrap thread around and around the ball in all directions.
Wrap firmly. Try to use this wrapping to make your ball as spherical as possible.

Keep wrapping until you can't see anything but your wrapping thread.
Leaving a long tail, cut the thread from the spool.
Thread the needle with the tail and make many stitches, all over the surface of the ball, to hold threads in place and to secure the tail.

Pro tip: You can wrap with two colors at once, if you want! You get a gorgeous, deep texture and your ball is covered faster.

Step 4: Mark With Pins

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The making of temari is essentially geometric. So we need to subdivide this sphere with evenly spaced points.
This is the step where you may find a flexible ruler useful. I just do it by eye, but you can be more precise if you want.

Place a first pin directly into the ball.
Place another one directly across the center from the first pin.
Place another pair of pins to create a line across the center that crosses the first line at a right angle. See the first picture.
Repeat to complete a set of three-dimensional right angles.
The ball should now look like the second picture.

One of the pairs of pins will be the poles, and the other two pairs will form an equator. It doesn't matter which is which; they are identical at this point.
Subdivide your "equator", halving each section. See the third picture.
Subdivide each of these sections again. See the fourth picture.

Pro tip: This is not the only way to subdivide your sphere; if you're interested in other non-Euclidean geometric patterns, you can position your pins differently. Here are some examples of different geometric base patterns.

Step 5: Sew Some Guidelines

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Every time a new piece of thread is used, we'll attach and tie off the same way:
Cut a long piece of thread.
Without tying a knot, stitch through the ball several times, until the thread is difficult to pull out of the ball.
[use your thread]
Tie off by sewing the tail into the ball just like when you attached it.

Attach a piece of thread.
Wrap a line of this thread around the equator. Wrap, don't stitch!
You can do this several times if you want a thicker line.
Tie off.

With the same piece or a new piece of thread, wrap from pole to pole at each pin on the equator.
Wherever threads cross, make a small stitch to tack your guide threads into place.
I double- and tripple-wrapped my threads to make decorative varying thicknesses.

Step 6: Begin to Stitch a Pattern

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Using your guide lines, stitch around in a pattern. I stitched at the base, over three lines, at the top, over three lines, at the base... and around and around, to get a petal-like pattern.
Stitch only at corners. Otherwise, wrap.

Repeat on the other side of the sphere.

Step 7: Stitch Around and Around

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Repeat the pattern you've stitched with all of the colors you have lined up. I worked outward, making a layer of purple, a layer of another purple, a layer of teal, etc., building outwards.
If you want one color to be thicker, you can repeat it as many times as you want. I stitched the gold thread over three times.

Step 8: Tacking Stitches

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You'll notice that the threads don't always want to stay where they're put. You can push them back into place with your needle, and to keep them there, you can make a tiny stitch over the top of a color where it crosses itself.
I did this only with the gold thread.

Step 9: Voila!

Picture of Voila!

Look at that lovely temari!

You can give it to a friend, a relative, a child. You can display it. You can make a loop of thread and hang it from a tree or a chandelier. You can make more, in different colors, patterns, sizes.

Update: I have added some pictures of other temari I've made, for inspiration!
(Here are more pictures of the bowl they're in- I made that too!)


ata1anta (author)2016-03-31

I think I have the same book, mine have styrofoam balls at the center also. I did these a couple years ago. One ended up as a gift to our favorite Japanese restaurant (which has since closed). They were done for a contest hosted by a Japanese seed bead manufacturer.

oskeola (author)ata1anta2017-11-22

woahhhhh these are gorgeous!!! Beads really? I dont understand the process, enlighten me!! huhu

oskeola (author)2017-11-22

After 2 years not touching a thread, your tut with all the oh-so-important preparation is where i came back to : ) this one has a "fake" obi (not centered) since those 2 patterns weight differently. Had fun gardening with it wrap around my wrist heheee

oskeola (author)oskeola2017-11-22

Trouble: styrofoam ball inside but not quite a round sphere :<< and i find it impossible to cover up all the yarn since threads are wayyy too small no?? I think my wrapping method is wrong somehow >…<

Maroov made it! (author)2016-10-29

Hi Thanks for the instructions. I am a Temari addict from Belgium, living in Austria. I just finished my website and hope to find more enthousiastic Temari makers in my region

Pators (author)2016-10-09

Sapete se esistono corsi per imparare quest'arte?

MaryG152 (author)2016-09-13

Ι have so many embroidery threads and now they will come handy with this tutorial - thank you so much!

DebL31 (author)2016-07-23

beautiful! Thank you for sharing. And i love your bowl, too! You are very talented!

Gorilla22 (author)2016-04-04

That is so cool! I wish I could sew...

sinzu made it! (author)2016-04-01

Amazing !
Some years ago, I was in Japan for a university internship, and I found a wallet on the street with A LOT of money inside. I bring it to the police station but it was complicated because I didn't speak Japanese and policemen didn't speak english.
Few days later, the policeman recontact me to meet the owner of wallet. He was so happy and to thank me he offer this kind of ball which was unknown for me. As he don't speak english, he couldn't explain and so, I didn't understood the meaning of this present, I just understood that his wife made it for me.
Today, I discovered your instructable, and by this way, the symbolic of Temari ball (friendship, loyalty and wishing a brilliant and happy life). It's now make sense for me, thank you for that !

I like to beleive that good action bring good thinks !
Have a look on this really nice Temari, made by a Japanese.

mlduffy (author)2016-03-31

Wow! this is amazing! Never heard of this, will have to try! TFP!

KookyKreations (author)2016-03-31

I am a temari maker too - it is addictive! This is a very beautiful but quite complicated pattern. If you want to start somewhere easier, try a pattern from the doyen of American temari makers, Barbara Suess, such as this one:

She also has some basic instructions - the ones above are great but if you want more details, check out these:

I have attached a couple of pictures of ones I made - you can go so many directions with this. I start with styrofoam balls, cut in half, hollowed out, filled with a few rice grains and glued back together. Makes a nice rattle.

rucloph (author)2016-01-04

if you are going to make this for one of your kids, write down a wish you have for them on paper and put it in the center. they will never know what it is, but it is something that mothers in japan would do when making temari and gifting them to their children. i think essentially it's a good luck charm or just something sweet you would like for your kid.

MelK5 made it! (author)2015-11-24

I ended up making the same ball twice when someone wanted a key fob of the first ball.

evegillian (author)2015-10-31

These make wonderful christmas tree ornaments. Light, indestructable and beautiful.

oskeola (author)2014-03-19

Have it done in an intensive 2 days working with lots of unravel and such XD the spaces are not so equal and threads was inside out, haha. thanks a lot!


SelkeyMoonbeam (author)oskeola2015-02-09

gorgeous, thanks for sharing!

hometownbetty (author)2015-01-01

Wow, I am going to have to try this out! Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

:) would love to see what you make!

Oh yes, I have been doing some more research and my boys want me to make a star wars inspired one…maybe i'll get the courage to make a tutorial…but love your tutorial. =)

FabienneC (author)2015-02-09

Thank you very much for sharing : I'll add a link in my blog to send my readers to this page ! I've posted a picture of your temari ball on the article I wrote with link to your page : I hope you don't mind ! Tell me if i'm mistaken !

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)FabienneC2015-02-09

Glad you like it, thanks for the mention!

acornman (author)2012-08-20

I have a book on temari and styrofoam balls are used extensively. The process used is similiar in that the styrofoam ball is wound with wool or other thread to provide the base for the decorative thread. The styrofoam is quite dense there is no problem with crumbling

donna.brideau (author)acornman2014-10-13

I saw a book, and they used styrofoam as well. The one I saw they cut the ball in half and placed tiny bells inside as well.

halla (author)2013-02-10

amazing thanks for sharing
god bless u

Mikishiwa (author)2013-01-03

well, I'm definetly going to make this and give it as a gift to my crush!

taemuli (author)2012-11-10

YAY! Ive just finished trying this, and it didnt turn out too bad for a first go. This instructable is great!

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)taemuli2012-11-10

Glad you liked it! Do you have pictures of yours?

taemuli (author)SelkeyMoonbeam2012-11-11

just used 3 colours to get the hang of it :)

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)taemuli2012-11-11

Oh, that looks great! Well done!

craftyevasapple (author)2012-09-27

How beautiful! I've never seen these before but just have fallen in love, with ideas as for their uses spinning in my head. I also have bagfulls of left over yarn from sweater etc. projects and now I know of an excellent use for them which will also help me get rid of the bags!
I love the comment about placing rice or bells inside for children's balls. Just imagine the beautiful colors you can use for such projects!

Also I would think that you would want to use a good quality thread, like Gutterman if you are taking the time to create these beautiful works of art. Joann Fabrics often has great sales on such things and they have so many beautiful colors from which to choose! There would be nothing so frustrating to me as having made a complete ball out of some old thread I found, only to have it break due to weakness of the material I choose. Your time in creating this is worth a great deal!!

craftyv (author)2012-08-19

Are the other balls in the pictures knotted or simply balls of wool ?

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)craftyv2012-08-20

In the last pictures? The other two balls are (1) a tennis ball and (2) this ball.

craftyv (author)SelkeyMoonbeam2012-08-20

Love this too. I have seen "hackysack" on this site before but In Australia it is not a term used at all. Great. Thank's.

iOskr (author)2012-08-20

lot of work, beautiful results!!!

Antzy Carmasaic (author)2012-08-19

Really really really pretty. The first image looks surreal!

LemonLily (author)2012-08-16

Can we use styrofoam balls for this part? It would save some yarn (even though most of us have scrap yarn laying around.) But anyway, this looks lovely!

craftyv (author)LemonLily2012-08-19

I must admit I havn't tried this yet but I think that a dab of glue to attach any thread that will be covered later by the outside decorative threads would work well. I'm going to try this ASAP> Good crafting.

SelkeyMoonbeam (author)LemonLily2012-08-16

Yes you can! But I think it would be less fun to work with; you will need to stitch through the center of the ball a fair amount to sew in the ends, and I would be afraid of the styrofoam crumbling inside.

craftyv (author)2012-08-19

This ticks all my boxes as I am both a crafter and a lover of beauty for beauties sake. There are always odd balls of yarn at charity shops and the like for less than a $1 and you can get bobbins of sewing thread too. I however could never buy expensive threads for this as they are quite expensive especially the ones as shown which look like Guttermans (top of the range). I will have a go and try to use the cheapest "stuff" I can but like many crafters I am very adaptive. Love it.

jwebsd (author)2012-08-19

Something USELESS yet ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL in today's world! "Ars gratia artis" Indeed. Years ago, I was so burned out emotionally, physically AND spiritually, I went walking and ended up in "Japantown" in San Francisco and saw a room of women making such beautiful "useless" things and burst into tears with joy in just being alive in the same world with them. Now you!

dagob (author)2012-08-19

wow!!! I'm really impressed. What a perfection! This is excelent! Thanks for sharing!

evilution (author)2012-08-19

Dip it in clear resin and it'll last for ever.

wolnut (author)2012-08-19

I've made these before, but your way is easier. Thanks for the instructable. I used to put a small bell or container of rice in the middle so that it rattles, if you are giving it to a child. Also my inside was a scrunched up plastic bag very easy to pass a needle thru and recycling at the same time.

tema137 (author)2012-08-18


Suzume Mai (author)2012-08-17

Very pretty! But I wonder if if I take the pins off will the threads fall off as well? Thanks for the great instructions btw

Be careful when you take the pins off! Make sure that you have stitched anywhere the pins are supporting before you take them out, because you're right! The threads could fall off if you remove the pins and your threads are not stitched down.

bisozozo (author)2012-08-17

fantastic! i'll try making one! looks great! like a piece of jewel!

raviolikid (author)2012-08-17

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I always wondered how they were made.

(Now, I know.)

About This Instructable




Bio: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a ... More »
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