diy project: kate’s pipe cleaner garland

pipe cleaner screen
while working on the projects for the design*sponge book, i made a lot of trips to the craft store…let’s not say a number, but too many! every visit i rushed past the rainbow haze of the kid’s section to get to the serious adult stuff like balsa wood and X-acto blades…i know, i’m super hardcore, right? but anyway, this last trip i allowed myself to browse the kid’s aisle, and let me say there are some real treasures there! so the month of november is dedicated to making modern, useful design projects out of kids’ craft supplies. this first project is made with pipe cleaners, and is inspired in a big way by tord boontje’s until dawn curtain. this would be a great holiday garland (they sell tinsel pipe cleaners!), a quickie room divider, or drape it over a hanging bulb to create a neat lamp (not touching the bulb of course). this cost five dollars and took the duration of a movie to create, so you can definitely experiment with the possibilities. have fun!! -kate

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!

screen supplies

1.pipe cleaners (i used about 150)
2. scissors

screen flower process
1. to make the petals, fold a pie cleaner in half and twist the two together about an inch up from the ends. twist once or twice and leave two ends that are about a half inch long. then push the shape into a petal shape (at this stage it also kind of look like a fish)

2. to make the flower center, cut a pipe cleaner in half and cure one half into a circle, twisting the two ends around each other and pinch against the circle to close.

3. to make the diamond shapes, take a whole pipe cleaner and bend at right angles in a couple places. twist the ends together like you did with the petal to leave two flaps about a half inch long.

4. to connect the pieces to each other, wrap the two flaps around the pipe piece you are connecting to and pinch them against the shape so the ends aren’t sticking out. to connect section to each other, cut extra pipe cleaners into inch long pieces and use those to connect two flowers or bigger sections of flowers and gem shapes.

5. keep making flowers and shapes until you have enough for your project, then start connecting them randomly. i recommend holding up your screen occasionally to see how the shape is coming along. go back in with extra piece of pipe to connect loose pieces until your screen moves uniformly. add to pipe cleaner loops to the top for hanging.


screen day


I am doing this. This is the best alternative to the fake evergreen wreath… ever! Thanks!


this is lovely! Just curious, roughly how many pipe cleaners did you end up using? Want to make sure to get enough packages when I go shopping. :)


Gosh, this is beautiful! What a cool idea. Think this could make a fab Christmas decoration – thanks Kate!


This is so great! I never would have thought to use pipe cleaners this way. I think my Christmas decorations are going to get a little pipe cleaner update this year :o)

Judith Altman

Beautiful! Just saw something very much like this done in a showroom at the highpointMARKET and was totally smitten. Seeing it again tells me I need to buy some pipe cleaners. And now I have step by step instructions to make my own. Thanks!

Jenny Sun

I love the fact you can use such simple and inexpensive things to create an object with so much impact! I’m going to the craft store to get me some pipe cleaners pronto!


I love it! If I can find enough white pipe cleaners, I’d love to try them snowflake style!

Sarah B

Ah, this is so pretty!! I am a huge fan of Tord and often get quite inspired by him as well. I think I may have to go pipe cleaner shopping!

Kim F

That’s pretty cool. Never thought of using pipe cleaners for adult craft projects before! Also of note, saw a beautiful garland made of prescription inserts turned into links at the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan recently.


lovely! I can’t wait to add this to the holiday garland on the stair railing.


Super duper! If my current holiday window plan doesn’t work, I may adapt this! I only wonder if the pipe cleaners start to sag over time and if it will need constant reshaping…


What an awesome idea! I’ve got tons of pipecleaners waiting to be used in lots of different colours. This is so much more interesting than regular garland!


hi everyone! sorry i forgot to say how many i used..duh. i bought two packages of 100 and used about 150 pipe cleaners for a screen that is about 4′ x 5′.


LOVE it!! I can’t wait to give it a shot! Totally going to feature this on my bloggy-blog.


Heather Moore

So clever! I’ve always been a little in love with pipe cleaners, and still find it rather anachronistic that you can find them in every hardware store. I mean, who is smoking all those pipes that need such a lot of cleaning?

Marcia Hernandez

I feel in love with this when I saw it yesterday! So I went to my craft store and got 2-100 pkgs of black pipe cleaners. I made this wave like piece with circles and flowers! I used about 150 pipe cleaners too! IT LOOKS AWESOME on top of my tub! You guys need to try this! It looks so cool!!!!


I made this out of black pipe cleaners and hen added some gray flowers along the edge. I hung it up in my stark white wall and it looks great. I also added some wall mounted votive holders from CB2. Its really pretty when its all lit up.


For those of you that have hung this on a wall, how did you mount it? I have made this and I would like to hang it on a wall, but can’t figure out how to hang it up so it will hold its shape.


I hung mine by securing two small nails near the top of my ceiling. I then hung it from that and used clear tape in various spots to stick it closer to the wall to ensure it retained its shape.

Photograph here:

Katie Bee

so simple and so fun. I think this is going to end up on the giant blank wall in my living room. It could be fun to do with floral wire, but I like it in plain white.


Another incredible, creative project. And there are so many
color/shape possibilities with this. I love the lacy look of the