Feb 20, 2011

boro ball tutorial takes I

After I posted about BORO ball here. Hermila (no blog) from my online workshop asked me if I have a tutorial on how to cover Styrofoam balls.  I don't have instructions for them. Even though I made hundreds of them for school fates many years ago. I mainly made them in Christmas colours then. So here goes my version of the tutorial. It was fun thinking of step by step instructions and taking some photos for each step. Of course if you don't understand anything just leave your questions in your comments. 

Styrofoam balls come in many sizes, but today I will use the 3" diameter ball. It's an easy size to work with. You will need a few pieces of your scrap fabric. I'm using six different pieces of vintage BORO fabric here. You will need a Stanley knife, pen and ruler.

On every Styrofoam ball there will be a line around it. It's a manufacturers line. From that line use the pen and draw over it as you can see above.

You can divide the ball into six or eight segments. Today I will only do six because I want to use the indigo moon fabric I dyed as one of the segments. Divide the ball into six sections by eyeballing it. It's okay if you make mistakes, just start practicing until you get it.  The ball will be covered with fabric afterward. Using the knife cut along the draw lines about 1/3" deep. Be careful not to cut yourself doing this.

This is the template for the fabric. Using the template cut one piece from each piece of your fabric. You can use three pieces of fabric and alternate them, but I'm using six today. The template is about 1/4" bigger than the segment all around. 

Place the first piece of fabric over the section. Pin on the top and bottom of the ball. Using the back of the knife push the fabric into the slit you made on the ball. Start a little section at the time. You would be surprised how easy it is. 

The first section is now covered. Do the same to the rest of the segments. You can be creative with the placing of the fabric. 

All the six sections are now covered. Not too hard right. 

Using any braid or cord to cover the joints. I used handmade cord to match the fabric. You will need about 1/2 meter of cord to go around the ball. To start off with, pin the end of the cord and just follow the lines. You might need another pin at the bottom of the ball to keep the cord in place. 

You can use the left over cord to make a hanging for the ball. You can see that there is no sewing, no glue and no mess. For decoration you can go back and add more fabric or stitches on top. See below. 

This ball was done with eight segments. I added another diagonal piece over the plain fabric. You can try more contrasting colour or use ribbon. 

I hope to see some of these balls pop on your blogs in the near future. 


  1. Thank you for this tutorial. It is very clear. Can't wait to try it myself.

  2. Anonymous13:46

    wow- love this. It could be a good use of small pieces of shibori fabric...