By Jessica Wilson There is something magical about blogland, don’t you think? It’s kinda like a wee bit of birthday everyday what with all the eye candy and new ideas that so graciously await your viewing. Back in 2008, I stumbled across this amazing bit of eye candy that reintroduced me to the magic that is the pajaki, Polish paper chandeliers (I had one when I was small). I bookmarked it thinking I need to make one and then promptly forgot about it until I saw Lena Crowin’s version. And of course, as is the case with such pretty things, a series of other amazingly talented folks made their own versions. Since I cannot seem to find straw anywhere and since there are already so many beautiful designs out there, I bring you a smaller, thriftier version using items you may already have. Here we go!
Pipe cleaner Small safety pin Needle Needle threader String or single thread of embroidery floss Small paper punches Tissue or crepe paper party streamers will work Scrap paper, book pages, catalogs Scissors White glue Bugle beads
Step 1: Cut your pipe cleaner into one 5″ piece and shape it into a circle. Secure the ends by twisting them into place. Step 2: Wrap waterproof or floral tape around your pipe cleaner. You can, of course, leave it fuzzy but the glue may not stick very well. Set aside. Step 3: Punch out happy shapes from your scrap paper and cut several small circles from your tissue as well. To use your punches on the tissue, sandwich your crepe or tissue paper between 2 scrap pieces. This will keep your tissue paper from getting tangled in the punch. Step 4: Cut your string into three 12″ lengths. Regular old cotton string works here, as you need to be able to thread a needle that is small enough to go through your beads. Gather your thread together and fold in half. Set aside. Step 5: Here’s the somewhat tricky part. A needle threader is your friend here so be nice! Pop a bugle bead all the way onto the threader. Next, pick up your thread at the fold and lace it through the needle threader as well — not too far, about an inch. Step 6: Grasp your thread in place and pull the bead off the threader and over the thread. Your loop of thread should now be poking out of the bead. Secure with a safety pin. (A small drop of glue would be handy here but I didn’t think of it until after the fact.) Step 7: Thread your needle onto one of the stands of thread and begin stringing your beads and paper punch-outs. I began with 2 beads, then a paper shape, then 2 more beads, and a smaller paper shape. After that, I did one bead and one shape, but threw in a 2-bead sequence just for kicks. Try to leave enough of a tail at the end to double loop through your last bead. If your tail is too short (it happens) add a dollop of glue and let dry before moving onto your next strand. Step 8: Repeat for the remaining strands of thread. I added colored tissue pieces to the third and sixth strands to kick it up a smidge. To keep your threads from getting all tangled, pin the whole shebang to your lap or something heavy enough to anchor it in one place. I wish I had thought of this when I was stabbing the wee paper pieces with a needle. Step 9: Next up is adding your wee hoop to give your mini pajaki some shape. I tried many variations but found this to be the easiest. Since we’re working with such a small scale we can’t really follow the same design as the original straw pajakis. You are going to have to use good old-fashioned school glue to anchor your hoop into place. It takes a little while to finish but looks so happy when it is done. Lay out your pajaki and assess where you want your hoop to be placed. I found it looked best just above the second paper shape (on the inside with strands spilling over the hoop). Add a small drop of glue to the outside of the hoop and adhere a single strand to the drop. You will probably need to wedge it into place as it dries. My wee heart punch came in handy for this part. Repeat for each strand, playing with the spacing before you add the glue. Getting the whole thing even doesn’t always work out perfectly but it is still a pretty piece of paper-strung bliss. After the third strand is anchored, it may be easier to hang your pajaki on a nail to finish off the remaining strands. It can get a bit tangled. Step 10: Get bitten by the beading bug and make several more of these wee bits of pretty. Hang one in car or by your bed. Use them to pretty up packages. Try making one in all white. Cut up your tiny fake flowers and use the petals instead of tissue but most of all, have fun! About the Author: Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.