Cork, the phellem layer of the bark tissue of the cork oak; I often wonder how this lightweight, rot resistant, fire resistant, termite resistant, impermeable to gas and liquid, and buoyant material became so popular in the home decorating. Just search on Pinterest for cork and you will see hundreds of DIY ideas. I for one have always been fascinated by its texture, earthy color, and rustic vibe. As a result I tend to use them in my decor when ever I can. So far its use in our home has been limited to cork Christmas ornaments, cork vase, cork coasters, and cork boards.
What makes matters tricky for us is that both of us do not drink alcohol. So if I have to do a wine cork craft then I need to source the corks first. In this particular case hundreds of them as I was making 3 large cork balls. Luckily I found a seller on one of my Facebook yard sale groups who had a sack full of corks that she had purchased for a project of her own but never got around to doing it. Her loss or should I say procrastination was my gain.
Any how, armed with a sack full of corks and smooth foam balls from Hobby Lobby I set out to the make the cork balls the same way I made the cork ball ornament only to realize that the same method won’t work. That ornament was about the size of the smallest of the three cork balls I had in mind for the centerpiece of our new dining table, which meant that I was able to get away with the random placement of the corks. In this case however I was working with smooth foam balls of 6″ and 8″ inches in diameter. Any irregularity in the pattern would be easily noticeable because of the size.
Here’s my new and improved method to make a large cork ball (so you won’t have to make the same mistakes as I did).
- Smoothfoam balls – I used the 8″ ($7.99) and 6″ ($3.99) balls from Hobby Lobby for the large ones and paper mache ornament (2.5″) for the smallest one. Please make sure that you get the smoothfoam and NOT the styrofoam balls as styrofoam will melt under the heat of the glue gun.
- Gold metallic acrylic paint
- Foam brush
- Glue gun and loads of glues sticks
- Corks – I used about 280, 200, and 50 corks respectively. The end sizes of the balls were; 12″, 10″, and 7″ in diameter
- A round dish – for balancing the ball for easy painting and hot glueing
How to Make a Large Wine Cork Ball
- Paint the smoothfoam ball with the gold acrylic metallic paint. You don’t need to be really thorough with it, as long as the stark white of the smooth foam is not seen you are good to go. The intent is to get a color close to that of the corks so you won’t notice the base in case there are any gaps between the corks when done.
- Let the paint completely dry before you start glueing the corks.
- Keeping the ball on a round dish for balance, start hot glueing the corks on the center line of the ball. Slowly work your way around the ball making sure to hold each cork down till the glue is dry.
- Once that layer is complete start the next layer on top of the current one. Repeat till you complete that circle.
- Keep glueing on the same side till you reach all the way up. As you get to the top it might be a little tricky to keep the corks in place. You might have to hold them down firmly for longer than the rest. Please refer to the video posted at the end of the post to see how I did it.
- Once that side is completed flip the cork ball over and repeat on the other side.
- Let the glue dry completely before displaying or decorating.
In case you are like me and can understand the process better with a video here you go!
We love how the cork balls turned out. They look perfect on top of our new rustic dining table. They’ve even held up very well to kid abuse.
Do you love cork DIYs too? How about collecting them? Some of my friends collect corks and I always joke with them that if it were me my house would be full of cork projects.