Lighting provides one of the biggest style bang-for-your-buck in nearly any space. While many high-dollar lighting options exist, these are not always a possibility in the budget. So an exploration of DIY options is an obvious next-step…and this DIY string globe light is one of the best. This one was created for a little girls’ bedroom, although this light has a vibe thast could work in many different spaces. Just paint it a color that makes sense – think gold, black, white, or another bright or pale color to suit your style, mood, and vibe.
DIY Level: Beginner
- Large round balloon (example is 24”)
- String (example uses a 220-foot roll of cotton twine; do not use string any thicker than shown here)
- 4-6oz craft glue
- 2-3 tbsp flour (not shown)
- Spray paint
- 3-5 hooks (not shown)
- Edison-style LED light bulb (optional)
Blow up your round balloon to the size you want. Tie it off.
In a disposable plastic container, such as a sour cream/yogurt container, mix flour, water, and craft glue together to form a fairly runny mixture, about the consistency of pancake batter.
As a reference point, this example uses 2 tbsp flour for every 4 oz of craft glue, mixed together with some water to make it the right consistency.
Tie a short string on the tail of the balloon, and a loop on the other end. Hang the balloon with a clothespin so you can access all sides easily. Tip: Cover the surface under the balloon with old newspaper to make cleanup easier.
Dip string into glue mixture before you apply it onto the balloon. You want each part of the string to be covered in the glue mixture.
Another method you can use to saturate your string with the glue mixture is to use a wide foam brush. Dip the brush into the glue mixture, then run the string over the brush.
When the foam brush seems to be short on glue mixture, simply dip it in the container again to saturate it, then continue running the string over the foam brush wherever you left off.
Wrap the gluey string around the balloon. It should be tight but not squeezing the balloon. This is a messy process; just embrace the fact early on.
Saturate and wrap string around the round balloon until you have a look you like.
If you’re lucky enough to have a warm, sunny day outside, I recommend moving your globe light outside to dry in the breeze and/or the sun.
It’s also helpful if it can hang somewhere untouched – up high, or in an obscure corner somewhere.
If you failed to put old newspaper under your work surface (like I did), it may look something like this.
Spray an all-purpose cleaner on the glue mixture drips before they dry, then use a plastic scraper to scrape them off. The sooner you do this, the easier it is.
When your string is thoroughly dry, it’s time to remove the balloon. Cut the tail of the balloon carefully to begin the deflation process.
Gently help un-stick any of the string pieces from the balloon if necessary, doing your best to maintain its original shape. Carefully pull the empty balloon out of a space that’s big enough.
Hopefully you’re pleased with how your globe light frame turned out! Re-string a short, looped string at the point you want to be the top of your globe light, and hang it in a well-ventilated area. It’s now time to paint.
Choose the color you want. This bright berry pink was the girls’ first choice, but as has been mentioned previously, you can choose any color that suits you and your space. The choice of color makes a major difference in the overall aesthetic of this DIY light fixture.
Shake and spray your globe light. The spray paint will reach the inside of your globe quite easily, so you don’t have to worry about doing anything tricky, like sticking the nozzle through a hole and spraying wildly on the inside.
Spray a couple of coats, taking care to catch the top, sides, and bottom of all parts of the string and globe itself. Let it dry completely.
Remove any old light fixture that existed, but keep the base of the light. You can paint it to match the ceiling, if you’re inclined to do that, to help it blend in more. Also, install a few hooks in the ceiling around the base of the light to hold it up.
Install your Ediston-style LED lightbulb. Of course, this bulb is optional, but anytime you create a light fixture where the bulb can be seen easily, it’s best to choose a lightbulb with some style.
Cut out the top of your globe with some sharp scissors. Cut a circle slightly smaller than the positioning of your hooks. Tip: If possible, try to keep major strings and intersections of strings intact at the top of your globe, as these will be necessary and useful to maintaining support of the light while it’s hanging.
Hook your globe light onto the ceiling with your ceiling hooks. Try to always catch at least two strings (preferably even more), such as at a string intersection, on each hook.
Here is a view from the inside of the string globe light; it is hung with three hooks at this point, although I did end up adding one more because the shape was off with just the three.
There you have it! Your new light fixture.
Being oversized, it’s a highly visual addition to the space and is a great piece.
And it casts fantastic shadows when turned on! (That’s actually one of the girls’ favorite features…along with the color.) Enjoy creating your very own custom DIY string globe light.