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Yarn Hearts: The Art and Science of How Heart Works (and a ‘fail’ to cope with!)

yarn wool heart with white glue using heart shaped balloon

Over here, we LOVE Valentine’s day for the way it sets up the spirit in our home and inspires us to see ‘love’ in all the artful ways possible. For more than a week now, Pari is into making things on this theme. I love that kids love themes. (smiles) It gets them (and me!) excited and helps them attach meaning to what they are creating.

I think festive themes help a lot not just for art and craft projects but also for reading, writing and many other subjects.

The moment Pari knows that she’s writing a message in a greeting card that will be read by – let’s say – her Grandma or Uncle or Dad – and make their festival (Valentine’s, Diwali, birthday) extra special, she gets motivated and starts seeing a ‘purpose’ in her ‘making’.

So, yes, she and I are continuing to read, make and explore the Valentine’s theme.

In the process, we’re experiencing a fair share of ‘fails’, too!

I’d shared one ‘fail’recently about this magma experiment and also wrote about what we learned from it.

But, the one I’m sharing today was hard to cope with. Pari and her friend – Mitali – had put their heart and soul into making these yarn hearts. Seeing it fail led to shattered hearts….

valentines yarn heart art ideas for kids

The girls braved all the sticky mess this project created. They sat through it for hours. And yet, it didn’t turn out right.

Rather, it didn’t turn out at all…

Half way through, I pitched in to support the girls. But, I realized, there has to be a better way or a trick to do this.

Please, pelase, pretty please – do share any helpful tips and tricks that you might know of from experience or otherwise. For we’re really keen on trying this again.

We decided to integrate art and science in this project.

Watched some animated videos of the functioning of the heart. Discussed and explained to each other – by drawing and painting etc. After going through a few videos – some rather complicated – we chose a few basic ones to see a few times.

The video below from You Tube is very helpful. You can explain to your child depending on his/her age and interest.


Also, this animated video explains in a much simpler way – the functioning of a heart. Easy to understand for a kid.

After watching all these, Pari was excited about making a heart to demonstrate the science of it. I wanted to support her idea but wanted to keep it simple so that she could do it herself and feel the satisfaction of pulling it off.

art craft based on functioning of heart

How about using a heart-shaped balloon to make a yarn heart in two colours – red and blue.

Red on the left side (for oxygen-rich blood going out of the left ventricle – into the body) and blue on the right side (to show deoxygenated blood coming into the right ventricle for purification).

And, we set off.

art and craft with yarn wool

  • Colourful yarn wool (red and blue to show the good and bad blood)
  • White glue (lots of it) – watered down
  • Heart-shaped balloons
  • Flat brush

The girls had fun trimming yarn into 2-3 inches pieces. Dozens of them. Pari collected red and blue. Mitali chose purple.

They applied some glue on the balloon and started sticking the yarn down – using fingers and brush. They were at it with determination and enthusiasm.

A few moments into and I saw it wasn’t going to be easy.

The yarn kept sliding off the balloon surface. Using brush made it all the more tricky as it stuck to the brush rather than sticking to the balloon. The glue was trickling down, too, creating mess.

I tried it myself and saw that dipping the yarn in glue and then pasting it might work. This was helpful but far more messy.

Anyways, we didn’t mind the mess. We had the table covered with newspaper and knew that the glue can be removed from hands easily.

We managed to complete one half of the balloon. We waited a few minutes and turned it around to work on the other side.

But, oops! The yarn slided off in bunches…. It was hard to have it stay put while working on the other side.

We decided that we’ll leave the first half to dry and try our hands the next day to finish the remaining half.

Now, with kids, you never know if they will have the motivation to continue a half-finished project. The next day, they couldn’t get back to it.

The third day, when they finally did, disaster had struck! The ballon had shrunken in size and there was no way they could have finished the rest of the work.

The portion they had already done – dried very nicely with net-like framework. It looked and felt beautiful – as if woven.

But, that’s all we had. After being moved from one place to another a few times, the net started coming off.

This project was inspired by this and this yarn bowl I had seen a few months back. They suggest a papier mache paste instead of white glue. But, I’ve also seen some get fine result using white glue instead of the papier mache paste.

So, I’m guessing that it’s not the glue that we used but the super slippery balloon surface that caused the havoc? May be it’s more pragmatic to work on a bowl rather than a 360 degree shape like balloon?

3d yarn heart

But, I’d so love to make a 3D yarn heart…..

How do you think we can make it? I’d really appreciate your tips and input.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ann January 27, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Great time of the year to learn about the heart and the “functional” yarn heart is a really neat idea!

  • Manish January 28, 2012, 8:59 am

    So this turned out to be quite an experiment at the end, huh! It’s good that you share such ideas as well, even though they may not have turned out as per the original plan!

    Reminds of Edison’s quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”! Another one on failure, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”..

    Coming back to your experiment.. wondering if a different glue would do the trick..? let me think more!

    • Rashmie February 1, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Mannu – LOVE those quotes that you shared!
      Especially this one – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”!

      About glue – I think so, too. Another reader suggested using liquid starch. Let’s see…

  • Angie Hertz January 29, 2012, 4:02 am

    Melissa Taylor sent me this link. I am her daughter’s first grade teacher. I love the idea! My suggestion would be to use liquid starch. It dries much more quickly and is surprisingly stiff when dry. Let me know if that works.

    • Rashmie February 1, 2012, 1:18 pm

      Angie – how nice of Melissa to send you the link and thank you for your suggestion. We’ll try Liquid Starch. I think it should work. Funny enough – we tried it a few days back when making home made salt dough. Our salt dough was too crumbly and then I introduced starch and it became amazingly pliable and stretchy!

  • Kala February 1, 2012, 6:46 pm

    Yarn ballon heart is very unique and simple loved it :)

  • Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree February 5, 2012, 11:50 pm

    The hearts look so cool! I’ve tried this process before with just yarn and have never been very successful! We did egg shaped lanterns with small balloons, yarn and tissue paper and that turned out very well: http://www.thechocolatemuffintree.com/2011/04/egg-shaped-lanterns.html Maybe try the tissue paper too with the yarn. I hope you have better luck. I can just imagine the 3-D yarn hearts…..they would be amazing!

  • Deborah February 7, 2012, 4:58 am

    You could also just make a heart shape from glue and yarn on a sheet of wax paper and let dry so you would be able to hang it up. Wouldn’t be as cool as this 3D idea but might be pretty too!

  • Cricket February 22, 2012, 11:21 pm

    I might be late with this, but how about if you used a long white thread or yarn to make the heart – it might be easier to wrap a long one – and if your balloon had a sticky surface, like sprayed with hairspray or something, it might not slip off. Then dip or coat it with glue and let dry. When it is all dry, you could then weave red and blue through the white mesh.

    My 5 year old loves anatomy. I might just give this a try with her, too!

  • Kaoru August 12, 2012, 2:26 pm

    I make this without cutting the yarn. I wrap the yarn (dipped in glue) around and around the balloon. This way you don’t need to worry about sliding pieces :)

  • Barb January 30, 2013, 9:04 pm

    I made easter eggs with balloons and crochet thread and liquid starch. Came out great. As you wrap the thread then apply starch and keep going. I then rolled the whole balloon and thread in the starch. When dry may take a day or so then pop the balloon.

  • apple blossom August 12, 2015, 11:10 pm

    how about making the heart with white yarn and glue. Then on day two or three. paint the two sides the red and blue.