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Papier-mâché Lit Garland

I always try to think of craft ideas that I can make with supplies I already have. This month I have lots of tissue paper scraps leftover from another project so I came up with this papier-mâché garland. It’s easy to make and customize with any colors of tissue you like – tailor the color palette to use as decor for a party or just to add a colorful glow to a room.

Papier-mâché Lit Garland | Oh Happy Day!Papier-mâché Lit Garland | Oh Happy Day! Papier-mâché Lit Garland | Oh Happy Day!

Materials needed: Tissue paper, small balloons, scissors, matte decoupage glue, foam brush, string lights, small bowl, string or twine, clips or clothespins, and newspaper.

Step 1: Cut small squares out of tissue paper.
Step 2: Prepare the rest of the supplies – spread newspaper out over your work surface, mix decoupage glue with water (two parts glue to one part water), and inflate balloons so they are round (use less air than can fully inflate the balloon).
Step 3: Papier-mâché the balloons: paint a layer of watered down glue over the balloon and stick on bits on tissue. Add more glue as needed so the tissue is completely soaked. Continue covering the entire balloon, leaving as small of an opening as possible around the knotted end of the balloon. Repeat with a second layer of tissue.
Step 4: Clip balloons onto string with clothespins and let dry overnight.
Step 5: Once balloons are dry, use the scissors to deflate them. Holding the tied end of the balloon while the air is let out, carefully pull it out of the papier-mâché ball. Stick each ball over a lightbulb on the light string and hang!

Papier-mâché Lit Garland | Oh Happy Day! Papier-mâché Lit Garland | Oh Happy Day!

Photography by Veronica Sharon 

  1. Nicole

    February 26, 2014

    Where do you find tissue paper in such fantastic colors?

  2. 2moiselles

    February 26, 2014

    I love this garland, it’s very lovely!!

  3. Zandra Zuraw

    February 26, 2014

    This is so sweet! And looks do-able, which is always nice. Great way to customize if you have particular colors in mind!

      • jordan
      • February 26, 2014


  4. Tara

    February 26, 2014

    This is such a great idea! How do you adhere the paper mache ball to the light string?

      • ashley
      • February 28, 2014

      The balls don’t need to adhere – they just fit over each lightbulb and should stay in place if the holes used to pull out the deflated balloon are small enough. But if you are having trouble keeping them on you can use a small bit of tape to keep them in place.

  5. Lauren Lou Bate

    February 26, 2014

    Oh, I love this! I’ve had to throw out my case de cousin Paul ones as they got mouldy (stupid, unventilated Parisian apartments), but I’m always changing up the colours in my room, so this way I can have different a different garland whenever I want without spending a fortune! Merci!! xx

  6. Erin

    February 26, 2014

    So, so cute! Definitely have to try this out.


  7. Lindsay Marie

    February 27, 2014

    I am going to attempt this one – did you find that any of the balls fell off the lights? it seems like the hole would be too big.

      • ashley
      • February 28, 2014

      If you papier-mâché as close as you can around the knotted end of the balloon, the hole should be small enough to fit snugly over each lightbulb. If the hole does end up too big or gets torn in the process of deflating the balloon, you can always papier-mâché more pieces of tissue around it after you’ve taken the balloon out, or even cover up the hole entirely and just cut a small slit to slide the lights over.

  8. Katharine

    March 2, 2014

    These are lovely!
    A few questions, though:
    1. Do you think it would work to pre-load the balloons with a few simple trinkets such as 1 wrapped candy, one small printed message, and one small polished rock? Or a jingle bell?
    2. What would you estimate is the time it would take to make, say, 50 of these, if a person were a fast worker?
    3. Also, did you have trouble with the balloons deflating on their own, before the project was dry?

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