A few months ago, I was invited to my beloved Castle In The Air for an afternoon of pajaki making. What’s a pajaki, you ask? Pajakis are traditional Polish paper chandeliers, made from straw and pieces of colored paper. Though they vary in shape and size, these mobiles are always incredibly colorful and festive. I had so much fun making my first pajaki, I knew it was a tutorial I had to share with you. They are definitely time consuming to make (but oh so worth it) so I asked creative geniuses, John McRae and Karima Cammell, of Castle In The Air to come up with a simpler tutorial just for you!
- 2 pieces of florist crepe paper 23″ x 7″ (cut across the grain line)
- 6 pieces of florist crepe paper 12″ x 5.5″ (cut across the grain line)
- 2 pieces of 9′ twine
- 3 short paper straws
- assorted spun cotton balls
- assorted dresden medallions
- 3 pieces of floral wire
- 1 bone ring
- ribbon cockades
- craft glue
Start by creating crepe paper cockades. Cut fringe into each piece of crepe paper. Cut lengthwise along the grain and stop halfway. Then twist each piece of fringe between the fingers.
Glue the edges of each rectangular strip into individual circular tubes. Allow to dry and then accordion fold the circle into a tight bunch.
Take the floral wire and wrap and twist it around the middle of the bunch. Open the solid side and fan out.
Then open the fringed side and fan out. Trim away any excess wire. Repeat the same steps to the rest of the crepe paper. There should be 2 large cockades and 6 small ones.
Tie the two pieces of twine into a cow hitch knot around the bone ring so that 4 even strands are hanging from the ring. Spun cotton balls are used not only to hold pieces in place but also to add a bit of texture and ornamentation. Take a wooden skewer to open up some of the holes in the cotton balls.
Thread all four strands of twine through a large cotton ball.
Thread a single strand through a medium sized ball. Push the ball against the larger ball and tie the knot to secure it. This will be the strand that will hand down the middle of the pajaki. The other three strands will help create the chandelier-like shape. Before creating the shape however, add cotton balls or dresden medallions on each of the three strands. Remember to create a knot after each embellishment to hold them in place.
Now for the shape. Take one piece of twine and insert it into a paper straw. Take a neighboring strand and insert it through the other side of the straw.
One side of the triangle is complete. Repeat the steps on the other strands to create the other 2 sides of the triangle.
Add a few more cotton balls or other embellishments before adding on the smaller crepe paper cockades. Centering a cotton ball helps hold the cockade in place. Sandwich the twine between two cockades with a dollop of glue, fringe side facing in. Press firmly and allow to dry completely.
Add a few more embellishments and finish with some dresden medallions and/or ribbon cockades.
Glue on a small dresden medallion to the center of the crepe paper cockades. Repeat on the other three strands. They should be uniform in length. Then add balls, ribbon and dresden to the center strand, making it longer the other three strands.
Add the larger cockade.
Finish off with more embellishments.
And your mini pajaki is finished!! The best part about this project is that there is no right or wrong way to do this. You can always add crepe pom poms in place of cockades or any other embellishment or beads in place of cotton balls or dresden. Make it your own and have fun!
How incredible are the larger pajakis . . . perhaps we’ll tackle that tutorial next?
(images by HonestlyWTF; tutorial courtesy of Castle In The Air)