Monday, December 20, 2010

Visible invisible red thread ornaments

A little over a year ago, the design firm I used to work for was hiring a new design assistant. One woman we interviewed had a portfolio item that was centered around this Chinese proverb:
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
When I read it, I immediately thought of The Man. He had only recently arrived in Seattle and moved in with me, after two years of a Seattle-to-Dallas long distance relationship - plus our years of star-crossed lovers bullshit and heartache before that.

The thread may stretch and tangle, but it will never break.

After her interview, I rushed back to my desk to write the proverb down before I forgot it. (Of course, it was already too late and I managed only to write down something ridiculous like "red thread people destined to tangle!" Luckily, that was close enough for Google to figure out.)

When Christmas rolled around, I wanted to gift The Man something representative of that proverb, but I couldn't figure out what. I spent hours on Etsy searching "red string" and "red ribbon" and "red thread" and found a lot of lovely jewelery for myself, but nothing at all for him. Frustrated, I decided to take matters into my own hands and made him a red thread ornament.

A pair of red thread ornaments, actually, connected to each other. Get it? Of course you do. You're not stupid. Still, here's another picture:

It's a simple project, but a sweet one (in my humble, completely unbiased opinion) and I wouldn't even mind if you copied it.

Supplies needed:
1. Clear glass ornaments
2. Tons of red thread, string, or ribbon
3. Pencil
4. Spray glue
5. Patience

Remove the top hanger things from the ornaments. Pull a shit ton of thread off the spool and start stuffing it into the first ornament. If you thread it in slowly, you can make some pretty cool patterns with the thread inside the ornament... just don't get too enamored with anything because there's a good chance it'll shift and flatten before you're done. I threaded it slowly at first, and then got impatient and started wrapping the thread around the end of a pencil and inserting the pencil into the ornament hole to deposit the thread. Turns out, it wasn't a ton faster, but it did leave some cool spiraling "tubes" of thread. Most of my tubes didn't survive the year of storage since last Christmas, but I bet if you shot the thread with a bit of spray glue before cramming it in the ornament they'd hold up better. You can kind of see the remnants of a tube in the bottom right side of the foremost ornament here:

I used a fair amount of thread in both ornaments, but you can leave them sparse if you prefer. It looks cool either way. I decided to go for more thread in each so that they could be hung on entirely different sides of the tree if The Man wanted to play out the "the thread may stretch and tangle" bit.

When you've got as much thread in the first ornament as you want, unroll a shit ton more thread (as much as you think you'll want for the second ornament), being careful to keep it from tangling. (Despite what the proverb says, now is NOT the time to let the thread tangle.) Cut the thread from the spool when you think you've got enough. This snipped end is what you'll begin stuffing into the second ornament.

First, thread the snipped end through the first ornament's hanger thing (inserting it from the bottom of the hanger thing so that it exits out the top of the hanger thing) and replace the hanger thing on the first ornament.

Yes. "Hanger Thing" is the official name of that gold piece at the top of the ornament. Thank you for asking.

Next, thread the snipped end through the second ornament's hanger thing (inserting it this time from the top of the hanger thing so that it exits out the bottom of the hanger thing), and start stuffing the snipped end into the second ornament much as you did for the first. This time, you'll have the second ornament's hanger thing dangling from the thread that you're working with. It'll be annoying, but you'll live.

Keep stuffing it into the second ornament until about 6" (more or less to suit your preference) are left between the two ornaments. Pop the hanger thing back on the second ornament and voila! You'll have something that looks a bit like this:

Pretty, no?

I wrapped mine in an equally pretty red and white box, and wrote the proverb (in red ink) on the inside of the box lid so The Man would understand why I'd given him two ornaments tied together. It's sweet in the context of the proverb; otherwise, it's just weird and cumbersome to hang on a tree.

We decorated our tree last week, and the ornaments are happily hanging together again. Hopefully they will be for years and trees to come...


uncouthheathen said...

I love it! :)

BigSis said...

So sweet. I love it!

Nicki said...

Awww! I love them! My man doesn't get it, but eh.

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