Yarn Bowl




Hi! We're a team of five industrial design students (Vincent James, Margaret Royena, Natalie Tillen, Robin Stethem, Vivian Lin) from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, located in Vancouver, Canada. We were tasked in one of our design classes to research and explore the idea of the role of a designer and a maker - though both create, do they necessarily do it in the same way/form of ideation?

Looking into the realm of 3D printing and analog making, we discovered the lack of 'making' that exists in both the design world and the craft and maker world. In such a technology based world in which 3D printing has become the new rapid prototyping tool, we questioned ourselves - how can we 3D print without a 3D printer? What does it really mean to be a maker? These questions helped frame our research project, leading us into various tangents in which we could address the role of the designer and the maker.

Looking around, we discovered how some people explored the idea of analog 3D printing. This yarn bowl was inspired by another project in which we found the instructions to be confusing. Though confusing to do, the winding and adhesive technique was reminiscent of 3D printing - something we figured could be further explored.

It was from various material explorations (i.e playing with different types of yarn and twine) that we realized that everyone is a maker, not necessarily a designer. Everyone is creative and as long as you apply yourself into the process of making, you'll be able to achieve and find your inner creative self. Thus, we decided to recreate the yarn bowl and show you how, in small easy steps using common household items.

Though done as a group, only one person is really needed for this project!

Note: this bowl is not meant to be used to hold liquids or food. If you want to make it food safe, consider coating the inside of the bowl with a clear coat of silicone.

Step 1: Gather Materials

To make this yarn bowl, here is what you will need:

  • a bowl or any rounded object
  • yarn or twine - thick yarn is recommended
  • saran wrap or a plastic bag
  • tape - to hold the plastic wrap
  • white liquid glue
  • a cup or any vessel to hold glue
  • scissors
  • bowl for water
  • newspaper - to prevent mess. You may want to consider working in a place that you don’t mind getting messy.

In our case, we used:

  • a vase
  • wool yarn
  • a plastic bag
  • scotch tape
  • PVA glue
  • sandalwood oil
  • yogurt container
  • scissors
  • bowl for water
  • a big piece of white paper

Step 2: Preparation - Glue

Pour glue into the cup until it is halfway full. (You will need to continuously pour glue throughout the entire process as the yarn absorbs easily)

The amount of glue needed in total is dependant on how big you want to make the bowl. The bigger it is, the more glue is needed.

Alternatively, you can add in a few drops of any essential oils so that it gives off a nicer smell. We added a few drops of sandalwood oil.

Step 3: Preparation - String

Cut about 12” inches of yarn until you are satisfied with the amount cut.

To speed up this process, take the end of the yarn and pinch it between your thumb and pointer finger. Once you have the desired length, continue winding until you have a pill shape loop.

Once cutting both ends of the loop, you’ll have a bunch of individual yarn to work with.

Step 4: Creating the Mold

Wrap the saran wrap or plastic bag around the bowl.

If you are using a plastic bag, tape the ends so it doesn’t shift.

Step 5: Soaking, Removing and Winding

Dip individual yarn strings into the glue, pinching off the excess

Alternatively, you can use disposable chopsticks to avoid getting your hands messy by sliding and pulling the string through the open end. Make sure you don't break the chopsticks into two!

Then, begin winding string from the top. As you wrap, hold the end down to keep the yarn from slipping.

Step 6: Winding

Continue this process until you reach the desired length and size of your bowl. Keep in mind that this can shrink about half an inch as it dries.

You may dip your hands into the bowl of water to get rid of any excess glue on your fingers.

Step 7: Drying

You can leave it to dry at room temperature for about 24 hours or place outside if it is nice and sunny.

Alternatively, you can also use a blow dryer to speed up the process.

Step 8: Finishing

Once dry, remove the yarn from the bowl. The plastic should be stuck on to the yarn. Slowly and carefully remove the plastic from the yarn.

Depending on the plastic used (ie. coloured plastic shopping bags), colours may be transferred onto the inside of the bowl.

As you can tell from the pictures, we didn't wind the yarn too tightly, creating gaps which lets light shine through. Though we didn't try it, it could potentially be turned into a lampshade. In addition, we found out that the plastic bag we used, actually transferred some of its qualities into the inside of the bowl, making it shimmer/reflect the light slightly (hard to tell in the picture).



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12 Discussions

Anne von russ

Question 1 year ago on Step 8

what a great idea. I wonder what it would look like if you used lengths of vibrant colored yarn?


4 years ago on Introduction

Nice. On the project list as a lamp shade. Titebond III glue is waterproof and food safe.


1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Hi acheide! Did not know that - thanks for the suggestion! We'll probably try that out in the following weeks :)


4 years ago on Introduction

this is cool

maybe one could do a vase for dry flowers.

One might need to wrap the halves of the object seprately then glue together

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Hi Bard! We actually tried that out in an earlier exploration but found it a little hard to do so! Unless we actually made each piece of yarn wind tight and straight, it was somewhat hard to align perfectly. We'll definitely continue to explore this in our little research project however. Thanks!


4 years ago on Step 7

why not a turntable and continueous string? if you could figure out how to get the glue on the string you could just spin the bowl and lay the string on.

1 reply

Ideally, that would be the next iteration. For this though, we wanted to make this approachable for everyone with common household tools. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

This is a neat idea, I've never seen anyone do this with glue and yarn before. Thanks for sharing!


4 years ago

What a terrific first Instructable! It's a really beautiful yarn you chose too.