This tutorial is something I've intended to share for several years now. I taught this class in 2009 (I believe) and have wanted to share it on the World Wide Web since that time. Not nearly as daunting to put together as I had imagined (now that it's done anyway:).....here it is and I hope it goes to good use among World Wide Crafters:)
How to Make Honeycomb Paper Balls from Coffee Filters - Tutorial
Supplies you will need:
Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue
2 1/2 tinsel sticks or pipe cleaners (stain with Tim Holtz mushroom & expresso alcohol inks for a tarnished look)
A grid made on your computer
Tools to have handy:
Chain nose or needle nose pliers
A pencil or small dowel rod
Cutting mat with grid lines
Rotary cutter (such as Olfa or Fiskars)
That's all you need to make one coffee filter honeycomb ball. At the end of the tutorial I will discuss variations from the coffee filters so you can make balls in different sizes. This is a relatively simple craft but it's a bit tedious and mundane so get your favorite TV show, music or audio book going before you set to work.....or go to RadioLab, TED or TAL (here is one of my favorite This American Life episodes). Okay, now that you're armed with all my anti-bordom devices, let's get started.
1. This tip will make it easier.....actually this tip makes it doable because if not for this, you'd go crazy:)
Take the lid off your glue bottle and place the bottle upside down in a glass (or whatever so long as it's heavy enough that the glue bottle doesn't tip it over). In this manner you can keep the lid off of the glue all through the craft or all day long for that matter. I never worry about it and I only replace the lid when I'm quite finished crafting for the day. I always keep my glue bottles stored in the upside down position so I never have to wait for glue to venture down to the opening. This is a must for Aleene's glue because it's mighty thick. I have actually altered a Morton salt container so I have a pretty way to store my glue upside down.
Here is a photo of my grid. Just go into your favorite software program and draw horizontal lines down the page 1" apart. Color them in alternating contrasting colors (black and red work nicely). Make a vertical line a couple of inches in from the left edge and a horizontal "TOP" line about 1/8" below the second (red) horizontal line. Note: I will refer to red lines and black lines throughout this tutorial so it is probably best to make your grid lines in these colors (matching mine) to avoid confusion.
3. Iron your coffee filters
You can iron a fair size stack at one time. Maybe 6, 10....12....I didn't count....just grab a reasonable amount and iron away. You want the filters to be flat.
4. Cut the filters in half
Stack them and line them up on a grid mat so that your cut is in the center. You really need a mat and rotary cutter for this. You can easily cut the stack of all 23 filters in one cut.
5. Lay your first half filter on the grid as shown below
6. Lay down glue lines as shown below. You can start on black or red it doesn't matter. If you start on red, you will end on black. To avoid confusion while following this tutorial, it's probably best to start with black as I have.
7. Lay the next half filter on top of this one.
You can easily see through the coffee filter that the black glue lines were the last ones you laid down so it is time for the red glue lines.
8. Lay down your red glue lines
When doing the red lines, the top and bottom just need a dot.
As you add filters and glue lines, it's important to wipe any seeping glue and make sure there is no stray glue anywhere.
9. Lay down the next half filter and you will see this:
You can easily see that the red lines were the last lines you laid down. The fact that you can see through the filters in this way is very helpful in knowing what glue lines come next. It is imperative that you alternate the glue lines or the ball will not be right. It's kind of one of those things that you can't screw up on or you will probably need to throw the thing away and start again. I will say that I am very scatter-brained and I have never had a problem keeping this alternating process going without confusion. No one in my class had the slightest problem with it either. Just make sure that you keep in mind the fact that you really don't want to screw this alternating thing up. You'll see that's it's easy to keep track.
10. Keep the following in mind each time when you lay down the red lines. Look at the next photo for reference:
See the glue seepage when you lay the next filter down? Clean it up. It's best to clean up all glue seepage because it will wind up making things stick where you don't want them to stick.
Now, just continue to alternate laying down glue lines in this manner through all 46 half filters. When you've done all 46, you will have a honeycomb ball. However, be sure to keep reading because there are some important steps and warnings that are imperative for success. You must fan the piece out (accordian style) 7 or 8 times from start to finish or you will have a nightmare on your hands:) Don't despair....just keep reading:)
ACTUALLY, NOW IS A GOOD TIME FOR A WARNING:
Stray glue is a no-no. You will see the importance of this when we do the first pull-to-fan-out-the accordian move (coming next). If you get glue anywhere but on the glue lines, wipe it off completely so that it does not stick in places you don't want it to stick.
11. After you have glued your first 9 or 10 half filters, you will need to fan the thing out like so:
This maneuver is slightly awkward at first, especially the first time you pull it out, but it gets easier as the piece gets bigger. Pick it up and start working it like an accordian.
It helps to get a pencil or a small dowel to help you pull it apart.
Keep working it apart to reveal the honeycomb.
See it taking shape? Kinda fun isn't it?
I try to do most of my poking and tugging on the flat edge (or what will be the inside) of the ball. In this way, I maintain the integrity of the outside of the ball. If that makes sense. I think you'll see what I mean as you work with it. You want to keep your paws off the outside of the ball as much as possible, but don't be paranoid about it. The filters are quite a bit more forgiving than you would think.
While the thing is fanned out, check to make sure that all seeping glue is wiped and that all the glue lines are good and stuck (the Aleene's Fast Grab Glue is very nice for this craft...no other glue would work as well and many glues would not work at all). You can leave it fanned out for a couple of minutes to let the glue set a bit. If you set it down be sure to leave the flat (inside of the ball) edge on your work surface. If you let it lay on the rounded side for too long, it might develop permanent bed head:)
12. Lay it down flat on your grid and begin adding the alternating glue lines once again.
You will be able to see what color lines you did last....in this case, I did red last so it's time for black.
13. Glue down another 6 or 7 half filters...........
14. then pull out the accordian again:
I needed a third hand in order to take photos so I used my ribbon storage dowel rod so I could free up my camera hand. You will be fine just using your hands.
AT THIS POINT I'LL INSERT ANOTHER WARNING:
I can't stress the importance of this accordian pulling step. You MUST glue down 6 or 7 half filters then pull apart......glue down 6 or 7 more filters and pull it apart again.....6 or 7 more glue downs then the accordian pull thing again. Seriously. Do it.
Note: As you pull out the accordian each time, check to make sure those top and bottom tips (red line glue dots) stick together properly. For example:
Here it is fixed:
15. Lay it flat once again:
Again you can see the red lines were the last ones laid down so you will lay down black lines on this filter.
16. As the stack gets larger you will want to run your finger over the glue lines to make sure all your glue lines are adhering.
17. Alternate another 6 or 7 times
18. Pull the accordian apart once again:
Pinch together any places that are pulling apart and check those top & bottom (red line) tips to make sure they are sticking in the right places.
Now you can see it taking shape:
19. Lay it flat once again and continue alternating red and black glue lines.
In the above photo you can see that the red lines are next....the stack is getting bigger and the ball is almost complete! Keep going til all 46 half filters are glued. (Don't forget the importance of the accordian pull out:)
20. The following photo shows the glue lines on the final (46th) half filter. Now it's time to pull this around and attach it to the other end to form a ball.
21. The next step is a little awkward. You might want to practice bringing it around into a ball BEFORE adding the final glue lines that will marry the two ends. When you're nice and comfortable with the maneuver, add the glue lines and bring it around making sure to line up the two ends precisely:
Once together NOTE the next photos for the best way to make these two ends stick together:
Pinch together like I'm doing in the above photo.....then...
grab several layers on either side of the two ends and pinch together to secure the ends. In this way you won't risk ripping the two end filters while trying to get them to stick together.
Now you can sit back and be pleased with yourself for a minute:)
How To Make the Pipe Cleaner Hanger:
1. Twist the 2 full length (12") pipe cleaners together to form one long stick.
2. Take the long stick and make it into a spiral. Start it off using pliers:
Continue twisting it into a spiral using your fingers:
3. Next, take the 6" (half pipe cleaner) and make a loop. I think the cap of a reinker bottle is the perfect size:
4. Give it a few twists to form the following:
5. Next, stick the looped piece into the center of the spiral:
6. You'll want to cinch in that loose end on the spiral so it doesn't give you grief when you attach it to the ball. I glued mine (Fast Grab glue is great for gluing pipe cleaners). See the following photos:
NOTE: If you choose to glue it, be sure to take the clothespin off and on every couple of minutes until you're sure all danger of having a permanently attached clothespin on your spiral has passed:) Let it dry thoroughly. Rather than gluing you could also just twist the loose end of the pipe cleaner onto the spiral.
Attaching the Hanger to the Honeycomb Ball
1. Add copius amounts of Fast Grab glue onto the underside of the spiral:
2. Take your honeycomb ball and squish it together (see the following photo) holding it in place with one hand while using your other hand to stick the glued hanger in:
3. HOLD IT IN PLACE FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES WHILE THE GLUE GRABS. (I didn't photograph myself holding it). Fast Grab glue is great for this (hence the name:)
4. Let it set up for one or two hours (preferable not overnight because you don't want the honeycomb ball to develop bedhead in the spot where it's sitting on your work surface). After the hanger is set to the point that it won't pull out, you can hang it to dry overnight.
You can also make these balls from cupcake liners, large or jumbo muffin liners, very small candy paper liners (that you can buy in the candy-making aisle at Hobby Lobby) or any other paper thing you can buy in quantity, iron and cut in half to form mirror images. You can also make any shape that can be cut in half to make a mirror image (I made a heart-shaped one--all pieces must be uniform). Of course it's much easier and faster to stick to balls. The only thing that will change if you use smaller sizes like standard cupcake liners or the tiny candy liners (think Reese's or miniature Reese's) is the distance between your horizontal grid lines. If you use Large Muffin Liners (I use the one's from Hobby Lobby) the grid size is the same as what you would use for coffee filters (one-inch apart as explained in the tutorial). If you decide to do smaller honeycomb balls, you will need to decrease the distance between horizontal lines on your grid. I've made a tiny ball with candy liners which worked like a charm but it was very tedious and my goal was to make a cool garland with old mercury glass beads and tiny handmade honeycomb balls. When I considered how many of those little suckers I would have to make I totally dropped the ball (no pun intended). I just couldn't do it no matter how cool the thought of it was.
If you have questions, please feel free to email me or leave it in the comments section. Happy Crafting:)
Note: for some reason I can't get spell check to work so please forgive any typos. I checked several times, but I'm sure I missed some.