One year for Easter when I was a kid, my mom made our Easter baskets. They were delicate, egg-shaped things made with pastel string stiffened with sugar. She lined the opening with matching ribbon and lace, and then we had our baskets. They lasted for only two or three years—such things are hard to store—but oh, my. I loved them while they lasted. They seemed magical to me; they evoked that Eastery feeling of the freedom of spring and the happiness of seeing green again.
The sugar-string baskets are one of the things from my childhood I wish I had a picture of.
When twine (which is the same as string, except for prettier) started become a Thing in the scrapbooking world, it reminded me of the string baskets. Only I didn't want to make a basket—I wanted to make string pumpkins because as much as I love spring, I love fall even more. Especially anything orange. When my friend Monika hooked me up with some twine from The Twinery, it was time to make these:
To make your own, you'll need:
- twine or string (15 yards at least for each pumpkin; more if you want bigger ones.
- hot water
- assorted bits & pieces for the stem and any decoration
1. Blow up the balloons to the desired size. Don't fill them completely full; it's easier if the balloon has a little bit of give.
2. Tie a length of the twine around the tied end of the balloon in a bow.
3. Start wrapping the twine around the balloon. You can wrap it messy (like my light orange pumpkin) or more carefully (like the dark orange one), but try to cover the majority of the balloon with twine. Wrap it tight enough that it grips the balloon to stay in place. If you’re making more than one pumpkin, finish them all before moving on to the next step.
4. Boil 1 cup of water, then dissolve 3 cups of sugar in it. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. (I did this step in an 8-cup glass measuring cup; I just boiled the water in the microwave.)
5. Dip the twine-wrapped balloon in the sugar syrup. Drizzle it all over. You want that twine coated!
6. Tie something longer through the loops you tied in step #2. I tied a length of curly ribbon on.
7. Find somewhere you can hang the pumpkin where it can drip and not make a mess. I hung mine up by putting a heavy glass dish on top of the curly ribbon that I’d laid out in the microwave, and then I closed the microwave door. I put a cookie sheet on top of the stove top to catch the drips. (If I were not a midnight crafter I could have taken pictures but this project, as with almost all my crafty projects, was done very close to the witching hour.)
8. Let the pumpkin dry. Depending on how much twine you used, how big the balloon was, and how thick your syrup is, this will take about a day. If it’s hot outside, hang it out in the sunshine to speed up the drying time.
9. Finally! You get to do what you’ve been wanting to do all along: pop the balloon! It will make as satisfying a sound as you’ve imagined.
10. Fish out the guts of the shattered balloon. Cut the tied end off, along with the two loops you made in step #2. Add a stem of some sort (you can see I used a twig for one and a curled up length of friendship bracelet for the other) and some embellishments if you want. (I’m thinking my pumpkins look naked and need a few leaves, maybe. Or a bow made from a very thin ribbon. Or perhaps both.)
11. Find somewhere cute to put them! I haven't decided for sure where mine are going, but I tried them like this:
with some other pumpkins and that is pretty cute. We'll see where they end up for good. My mother-in-law gave me this cake stand when she was cleaning out her house to move. She said she knew I would love it, which makes me happy because she was right. It’s just the right sort of kitschy for me.
If you make a sugar twine pumpkin (or even if you hold on to this idea and make sugar twine Easter baskets), make sure to let me know how they turn out! But in the mean time, you can check out The Twinery's twine, which is really soft & lovely, here; you can also see a layout I made using twine as the embellishment at Write Click Scrapbook today.