How to Make Temari

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Introduction: How to Make Temari

About: 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 microcontroller (tessel.io); now thinking about climate c…

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

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.)
Pins
Maybe a flexible tape measure.
Scissors are helpful.

Step 2: Roll a Yarn Ball

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

Step 3: Roll a Thread Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!)

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3 People Made This Project!

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70 Comments

0
whitneythepooh2
whitneythepooh2

Question 9 days ago on Introduction

I watched something that has a temari ball in it. When the ball hit something it jingled like a bell. I’m assuming there was a bell inside it. If I want my temari ball to jingle like that do put a bell in the middle of the yarn?

0
ashley.mentlik
ashley.mentlik

Question 2 months ago on Step 9

What is going on at the poles? Why do you have a whorl of color up there? Based on your instructions, you shouldn't be going through the poles at all...

0
SelkeyMoonbeam
SelkeyMoonbeam

Answer 2 months ago

Oh yeah, looks like I forgot to mention that part! I just stitched a little circle at each pole to finish off the excess thread for each layer.

0
ashley.mentlik
ashley.mentlik

Reply 2 months ago

Thank you!! I can't wait to try this!!

0
alyssam4jesus
alyssam4jesus

Question 8 months ago on Introduction

At the equator, do you wrap the thread around the guideline under the equator or do you make a small stitch at the equator? I love how your equator turned out and would like to repeat it.

0
SelkeyMoonbeam
SelkeyMoonbeam

Answer 2 months ago

It's been a long time since I made this, but I think it's a small stitch.

0
SelkeyMoonbeam
SelkeyMoonbeam

Answer 2 months ago

That should be right at the beginning, it's what you wrap the yarn around!

0
ata1anta
ata1anta

4 years ago

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.

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0
oskeola
oskeola

Reply 3 years ago

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

0
757478
757478

Reply 2 years ago

probably just put different colored beads on a string that you wrap around the ball.

0
acornman
acornman

8 years ago on Introduction

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

0
Sharon Coulson
Sharon Coulson

Reply 3 years ago

While Styrofoam doesn't crumble now, it has recently been discovered that various plastics (acrylics & as well as Styrofoam) are stating the disintegrate - after many years. I would hate to do all this work and then have my great-grandchild have her/his inherited ball start to collapse. They might also start to collapse if stepped/sat upon or played with by that special pet! The person who turned me on to this art said the center/support ball can be made of dryer lint, cleaned animal hair, anything that can be formed into a tight ball & then wrapped with leftover yarn.

It takes a little more work, but may be well worth it in the long run. Plus it is easier to put the 'love message' inside if you wrap the basic started ball, right.

0
donna.brideau
donna.brideau

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
Sharon Coulson
Sharon Coulson

Question 3 years ago on Introduction

Is it customary for the underneath thread to show through? I have seen many that are totally covered in pattern, and only a few where the 'base' wrap thread shows through, as in yours. THX, ~S

1
oskeola
oskeola

3 years ago

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

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0
oskeola
oskeola

Reply 3 years ago

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 >…<

0
Pators
Pators

4 years ago

Sapete se esistono corsi per imparare quest'arte?