My goodness. I just love spaces with lots of texture. Texture can make your home feel calm. Texture can make your home feel cozy. Using organic textures anywhere can instantly make you feel more…at home.
This is what I was thinking about when I created this gorgeous wall hanging for my master bedroom. I like to believe that I came up with this concept on my own, but the truth is textile art just like it is also blowing up Pinterest and Instagram, so I can hardly take the credit.
Luckily, credit isn’t the important thing when it comes to making bespoke art for your home or for someone you love. While it’s easy to spend upwards of $100 picking the perfect yarn for your wall hanging, you can also make a beautifully budget-conscious piece for under $20. The details are up to you.
I’ve included my step-by-step advice to get you started on your very own custom DIY piece of fiber art.
- Wooden dowel. Opt for one at least a quarter inch wide so it can bear the weight of the yarn. The rest is mostly up to aesthetics. A larger piece could use an entire 36 inch dowel that’s ⅝ inch wide. A smaller piece could use just a 12 inch dowel that’s ¼ inch wide. Your best bet for wooden dowels of the right thickness is Michaels or a hardware store.
- Cord. This will be what you attach to the dowel and hang on a nail or hook for display. You’ll want something that can bear weight, so don’t use your yarn for this. I used cotton macrame cord. You could use leather or something else that makes you smile if you’d like to make more of a statement. Cord can be purchased at places with craft sections like Michaels and Target.
- Yarn. Collect yarn in 7 different colors. You won’t need an entire skein (aka a whole thingy) of yarn of any of these colors, but if you want to make a big yarn hanging using a 36 inch dowel, you’ll need almost 95 yards per color. You can get yarn lots of places, including Michaels and Target, but you’ll probably have the most fun and choices at your local yarn store. Wherever you buy your yarn, definitely see if you can get some help to wind the yarn. Avoiding tangles makes everything else easier down the line.
- Scissors. These will need to be sharp enough for cutting yarn and the cord.
- Masking tape. You’ll use this to make a guide for cutting your loops of yarn at the right length.
- Wide toothed comb. You will use this at the very end to add the finishing touches on your fiber art.
A note on choosing colors. Honestly, this is the hardest part for me. Decide on a room this will hang or colors that you love and then work from there. You will want two “favorite” colors. Then you will step up and step down from there. Your step downs will be darker (there will be two of them). Your step ups will be lighter (there will be two of these, too). There will be one middle color that will be almost white but not quite. This middle color should help connect your two “step up” colors. The seven colors can blend nicely into each other or not, since you will also be doing some manual blending. However, the colors should not completely clash, as they will be viewed together and create a color story. Going forward, we’ll give the seven colors the following names:
Color A = Step down of favorite #1 = Darker hue of favorite #1
Color B = Favorite #1
Color C = Step up of favorite #1 = Lighter hue of favorite #1
Color D = Middle color = Nearly white hue that falls somewhere between Color C and Color E
Color E = Step up of favorite #2 = Lighter hue of favorite #2
Color F = Favorite #2
Color G = Step down of favorite #2 = Darker hue of favorite #2
1. Tie the cord to the wooden dowel. This will require two knots. I find it looks best aesthetically if the distance between each knot and the end is approximately 10% of the length of the wooden dowel. For a 36 inch dowel, I like each knot to be about 3 inches from the end. For a 12 inch dowel, I like each knot to be about 1.5 inches from the end. As for the knot style, I googled easy knots for this step. The tautline hitch or slip knot are both good choices. Cut the ends if they hang.
2. Hang your wooden dowel on the wall or place it on the floor. Either way, it should be near where you are working, so you can get some automatic feedback as you get your craft on.
3. Create a guide. For this step, you will use masking tape to create a guide for how long you’ll cut each piece of yarn. Place a length of masking take that’s just a bit longer than your wooden dowel’s length on a smooth hard surface. I recommend going slightly longer than the length of the wooden dowel because you’ll lose some length when you attach your yarn bundles to the wooden dowel. Test your guide by making a little loop of yarn that’s twice as long as the masking tape length. (You may need to cut a few test pieces of yarn to find just the right length, so pick your cheapest yarn or longest skein for this task.) Hang the test loop on your wooden dowel to see what you think. Add or remove masking tape from the guide based on what you find.
4. Make a yarn bundle. Begin with yarn Color A. To make a yarn bundle, you make a little inverted U shape along your masking tape line. So the yarn goes up along the length of the masking tape and then back down. Use the scissors to cut when the yarn meets the beginning of your inverted U. This is one loop. The number of loops depends on the length of your dowel. For a longer dowel (36 inches), 6 loops is a good number per bundle. For a smaller dowel (12 inches), 3 loops is a good total number.
Do not worry about being exact with the length of each loop or each bundle. Fiber is an organic form. The ends being a little uneven is part of its charm (and just adds more texture!), plus you’ll clean it up at the very end.
5. Hang your first yarn bundle on the wooden dowel. Make sure to place it inside the two cords you tied in Step 1. To secure the yarn bundle, you’ll hold your little 3-loop bundle against the wooden dowel, then pull the tails of the yarn back through the loop.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, adjusting the proportion of each color of yarn in each bundle to make a stepwise transition between your 7 colors, with particular emphasis on colors B, D, and F.
That’s confusing, but here’s my effort at breaking it down: Basically, you will want to change the proportion of each color of yarn for each bundle. This will create a fade effect. You can, of course, experiment on your own, but my opinion is that changing the proportion of each color every time creates a more pleasing experience for the eye. You can use your own judgement here about how to do this or lean on mine. You can scroll down for a detailed example for making a smaller yarn wall hanging on a 12″ wooden dowel, but here’s the overview that you can apply to any size yarn wall hanging:
Basically, you will want an entire bundle of loops that is solidly colors A, B, D, F, and G. The reason for this is that colors A and G will be the borders for you fiber art. And colors B and F are where you want attention to go. Color D will be where you need attention to visit for a moment so it can rest a bit in between your other colors. In between all of your colors, you step up and step down.
Here’s what that looks like: In bundle 1, every loop would be color A. In bundle 2, every loop would be color A except 1 (that other loop would be color B). In bundle 2, every loop would be color A except 2 (the other two loops would be color B). You’d progress, decreasing color A each time and increasing color B each time. Once you got to three loops of color B, you’d start adding color C. Color C (and also Color E) would be a little different, in that once you got to all but 1 of your loops being color C, you’d start making more of the loops color D, without ever making all of the loops color C.
The effect is a gentle blend. Your eyes won’t know quite why the colors look so nice together, but they will. It’ll be the same feeling you get when you see a shelf of books lined up in rainbow order. You may also notice that your particular blend of colors (or weight of yarn) calls for a different plan for blending. That’s lovely and your intuition should be respected.
Here’s a detailed example of the bundle composition for a hanging yarn tapestry that uses a 12 inch wooden dowel whose bundles are comprised of 3 loops each.
- Bundle 1 = 3 loops Color A
- Bundle 2 = 2 loops Color A + 1 loop Color B
- Bundle 3 = 1 loop Color A + 2 loops Color B
- Bundle 4 = 3 loops Color B
- Bundle 5 = 2 loops Color B + 1 loop color C
- Bundle 6 = 1 loop Color B + 2 loops Color C
- Bundle 7 = 2 loops Color C + 1 loop Color D
- Bundle 8 = 1 loop Color C + 2 loops Color D
- Bundle 9 = 3 loops Color D
- Bundle 10 = 2 loops Color D + 1 loops Color E
- Bundle 11 = 1 loops Color D + 2 loops Color E
- Bundle 12 = 2 loops Color E + 1 loop Color F
- Bundle 13 = 1 loop Color E + 2 loops Color F
- Bundle 14 = 3 loops Color F
- Bundle 15 = 2 loops Color F + 1 loop Color G
- Bundle 16 = 1 loop Color F + 2 loops Color G
- Bundle 17 = 3 loops Color G
7. Cut and style. Use the wide-toothed comb to gently brush out the yarn and then trim some strands so that some are up and some down until you get that perfect “I just woke up like this” finish. You can even tease the ends for a super fun look.