I’m constantly getting into silly arguments with my partner about my DIY projects. Whenever I turn to him for advice, ever the left-brainer, he gives me the practical answer, which I hate. Shouldn’t you be able to carry it this way? Wouldn’t this shape make it sturdier? What’s this extra piece for? Excellent questions, all.
I’m realizing that on the art/design spectrum, I fall much closer to the former than I thought. I like nonfunctional objects, unanswerable questions, excessive use of materials and lots of extra steps. I can’t help it. The problem I’m usually trying to solve is how to add strangeness and beauty to my surroundings, not how to make life easier. If you look at my archive of DIY projects, I think you’ll see that at heart, I’m really not a pragmatist or a minimalist, as much as I’d like to be. Form does not follow function — they duke it out constantly.
I’ve prefaced this particular project with the above disclaimer because I want everyone to know that this project is not practical. Electrical cords continue to vex those with aesthetic sensibilities; the majority of us want them to blend unobtrusively into the background — or better yet, disappear altogether. But say you have a cord that needs to stretch across a room, and you’re sick of the tack-it-along-the-floorboards approach. My hope is that you might consider going the opposite route: Make the cord the center of attention, perhaps a giant colorful braid that you probably won’t trip on because, well, you can’t stop staring at it.
Is this project practical? No. Can you remove the cords easily from these tubes? No. Is it wise to put a giant rope out on the floor? Um, not really. But this is the only extension cord I’ve ever liked enough to potentially wear out of the house as a giant necklace, and that’s success in my book. So if you’re into a little frivolous anti-design, this project is cheap, easy and really fun to make. Enjoy! — Kate
Read the full how-to after the jump!
- 3 extension cords (all the same length, 6′ or longer is better)
- masking tape
- 3 skeins of thick/bulky weight yarn
- 3 plastic cord tubes (these can be found at IKEA or most hardware stores in the electrical section)
1. Tuck the end of an extension cord into the open slit of the plastic tube.
2. Tape the tube to the base of the plug to secure the tube to the cord. Continue tucking the entire length of the cord into the plastic covering.
3. Cut the covering to the exact length of the cord. Repeat steps 1–2 for the other two cords.
4. Take the end of one skein of yarn and knot it around the beginning of the first covered cord.
5. Begin wrapping the yarn around the cord, covering all the plastic and tucking the loose end of the yarn into the first few wraps to conceal it. Continue wrapping the cord with yarn. As you do this, you can begin rolling the finished cord into a small loop and securing with a piece of yarn to make wrapping easier. When you get to the end, knot the yarn around the base of the cord and snip off the excess.
6. Repeat with the other two cords.
7. Begin overlapping the cords, one over the other to form a simple braid. Secure both ends by knotting a piece of yarn around all three right near the base.
8. Place the cord in an open area for display, or use anywhere you would normally need extension cords. Don’t place the cords in doorways or anywhere someone might trip.