OMG you guys! I am so excited to share this super fun and amazingly cute DIY with you today. I love love love all the little kid rainbows that have been making the rounds lately whether that be on clothing, plush items, wall decor—whatever!—but I extra love the little rope rainbow trend of which Mandi Smethells is the queen. I tend to want to take everything that’s fun and make it oversized and I was pretty positive that a rope rainbow in her vibe would be amazing on a large scale and it turns out I was right!! Can you guess what I used as the base to make mine a giant version instead of ropes? I’ll give you a hint—splish splash!
-5 pool noodles (did you guess it?)
-thick cotton rope (try the trim section of your craft/fabric store)
-thick yarn in preferred colors (I didn’t use more than the yarn you see above, so one large yarn should be enough for my size)
-hot glue gun
-X-Acto knife and scissors
–10′ of 3/8″ copper coil tubing
–mini pipe cutter
–4cm wool felt balls (I used the coral color)
OK! So, first you are going to decide how long you want your outer rainbow color to be, which will determine the overall size of your rainbow—since it’s the outer layer. I wanted my outer layer to be longer than my pool noodles were, so I just cut off 8″ of another noodle and hot glued that section onto the end of another full length one to give me an extra long noodle to work with. Then I used my pipe cutter to cut a piece of copper coil that was about 2″ shorter than my noodle so it wouldn’t stick out the ends once I threaded it through my noodle. It took me a bit to figure out what to use as the backbone of the rainbow as I needed something that would be bendable and yet strong enough to keep its shape once bent. I remember always seeing those copper coils in the hardware store and I thought they might be worth a shot and they were perfect! If you do a much larger rainbow than this, you may need to try the coil in the next size up. It will be harder to bend into place, but also stronger as well once bent into shape.
Once your pipe is cut, make sure it’s the right length for your noodle and then use an X-Acto knife to carve out some of the inner portion of the last 1″ or so of each noodle end so you have a larger space to add your rope fringe at the end. Pool noodles are super easy to cut into, so this part shouldn’t be too hard.
Then, hot glue your yarn end to one end of your noodle and start to (are you ready for this?) twist the noodle to wrap the yarn around the noodle. It is still time consuming but it is waaaay easier to twist the noodle than wrap the yarn around the noodle. So keep the yarn holding hand in place and use the other hand to twist the noodle body as you go. I glued my yarn to the right end of the noodle and twisted the noodle away from me, but if you are left handed you may want to start on the left side and twist if that is more comfortable. Keep twisting and twisting until you have about 3″ of yarn-covered noodle and then push all the yarn downwards towards the end you started from to condense the yarn and make sure it’s super tightly packed with no pool noodle underneath in sight (it will also help keep the noodle covered when you bend it into a rainbow shape as well if it’s tightly packed yarn).
Keep twisting and pushing down every 3″ of yarn until you reach the end. I used more glue to secure the yarn to the noodle on the last 1″ of the noodle and then tucked the end into the noodle opening and glued it in place.
With your outer noodle now wrapped, slide in your copper pipe that you cut to fit and then bend it into your rainbow shape. I made mine a bit of a taller/skinnier rainbow, but you could do a shorter/wider one as well if you like. Once it’s bent into place, make sure your next noodle is long enough to fit within that shape and start to wrap that noodle with the next color yarn. When you are almost done wrapping that noodle, place it back inside the outer noodle to check the fit. Usually adding the yarn changes exactly how much noodle length you need, so you’ll just want to keep checking the length before cutting the noodle and finishing the end with yarn.
Repeat with each color for each noodle until you have four layers! Since you’ll have leftover copper pipe after adding it to your outside noodle, use the rest inside one of the inner layers of noodles and that will help it keep its shape even better.
This is also a good time to take a piece of yarn the color of your third layer in and tie it around your pool noodle so you have a hanger on the backside to hang your rainbow from. Basically, if the top of the rainbow is at the 12:00 position on a clock, tie one end of a piece of yarn at the 1:00 position and the other to the 11:00 position with the knots on the backside so you don’t see them and you can use the yarn that connects the two points as a hanger. Much easier to do it now before you glue things together!
Now it’s time to glue our rainbow together! I clamped my outer layer to a coffee table so it wouldn’t move from that position, but you could also just place boxes or heavy books at the sides and top/bottom to keep in place while you glue as well. Just put a generous amount of glue at the sides where each noodle touches the next and add one layer at a time until you have all your layers complete.
Now that your noodles are attached, take your thick rope, cut it double the length you want your tassel to be, and then tie some twine at the middle of the rope to keep the tassel together. If you can’t find super thick cotton rope, you can also cut three or four strands double your tassel length and just tie them all together in the middle for the same effect.
I did varying lengths for each noodle, but you can do them all the same too. Now if you like that curly look once you unwind the rope, you can leave it that way or …
… you can use a pet brush to brush out the rope into one larger tassel.
As the finishing touch, glue some large felt balls around the perimeter of the rainbow and your sweet little project is ready to hang!
Seriously though, how amazing is that!?! I couldn’t be more pleased with how this turned out and I’ve even been going in her room just to look at it randomly during the day. It makes me so happy! I hung it high enough that she’s not interested in trying to play with it, but if that changes I may just move it to another wall instead.
Just a quick safety note: I’m not worried about Lola reaching this from a safety standpoint. She actually plays with those felt balls normally (and they aren’t a choking hazard size for her since they are larger) and the rest of this is just yarn and pool noodles. But if you make this on a smaller scale or just small felt balls, just be careful it doesn’t fall into baby’s hands if there are items attached you would worry about them having.
This is totally an item that I would also hang in any other room in the house, so don’t feel like this is limited to a kid’s room if you aren’t in that zone yet. I’m sure this will make an appearance in another room eventually too! xo. Laura