Making chicken wire light balls is really easy. Really. I am craft-challenged and got a D in Art in Fourth Grade, so when I say something's easy- trust me. I know.
But as so many readers have written in asking me to explain the exact process in greater detail, I decided to make a step-by-step How-to post- complete with pictures.
My buddy, Mertis, has gladly volunteered to show and tell...
First- Measure out about 3' of chicken wire. All measurements are approximate here. You can make your balls larger or smaller.
Then cut with tin snips or wire cutters.
Roll the wire into a tube and twine the snipped edges together to form a closed cylinder.
Mert says you might want to use pliers or wear gloves as the wire's a bit tough on gentle fingers.
Now comes the fun part. Begin bending and folding the ends to shape your tube into a closed, rounded top- you're trying to form a ball- a rounded dome...but you're working with finicky chicken wire.
Use the clipped pieces of wire to hold the top of your ball in place. Some times Mert mutters words of encouragement to the wire, as if she could somehow coax or threaten the oblong cone into the appropriate shape- but I can't print the exact wording. This is, after all, a family project.
When she is satisfied, she begins the process of weaving the strand of lights around the ball. At this point your "ball" looks more like a rectangle than a really circular ball but I tell Mert the light strand will help mold the wire into shape. Actually, from 50' in the air, a cone looks pretty much like a ball to me.
Mert ties the male end of the plug to the top of the ball, then begins winding the strand of lights around the ball.
Mert says one of the secrets is using cable ties to secure the lights to the wire frame and to keep them from slipping out of place. The wind can play havoc with your light balls so they need to be tightly secured.
Mert uses two hundred lights per ball.
A bit of mashing, a little shaping and voila! You've got a light ball! Start to finish- maybe 15 minutes.
Next post we'll cover securing your ball to the extension cord and how to "hang 'em high" in your trees.