A couple years ago I was inspired by a picture of vintage yoyo flowers made with knitting needle stems I saw in the first issue of Flea Market Style Magazine. I've made quite a few and sold some at the antique malls where I rent space. I also created kits to sell in my Etsy shop so people can make their own. There are loose yoyos for crafting available on eBay and Etsy by various sellers besides me if you want to give these a try!
Recently an Etsy customer wanted a large custom order for about 70 stems. I had that many knitting needles, but I realized that many of them would be too long for her needs. You can't really shorten knitting needles, so I came up with a "Plan B", and I want to share it here.
Fabric yoyos in various sizes
Bamboo shish-kebob skewers
Hot glue gun
Spray paint or craft paint
Color copier and paper for leaves (optional)
Step 1: Paint your shish-kebob skewers the colors of your choice. I like several different colors.
I would recommend sticking the skewers upright in a piece of styrofoam if you are spray painting them. It would be easier than what I did (sometimes I do things the hard way!):
Step 2: Select three or four yoyos, lined up by size so the smallest one is first.
Step 3: Spear the smallest yoyo through its center with the pointy end of the stick.
Step 4: Slide the yoyo all the way to the end of the skewer, almost till it falls off.
Step 5: Spear the next yoyo, but before you push it next to the first yoyo, apply some hot glue between them around the stick. Just a dab is fine, then slide the second yoyo into place.
Step 6: Repeat step 5 with the third and fourth yoyos, if you have a fourth.
You should have a pretty flat surface on the top to glue a button.
Step 7: Find a nice button and apply some hot glue to the top of the yoyos to secure the button.
Optional Paper Leaves:
When I made the yoyo flowers before, I used fabric stiffener on feedsack fabric to make leaves and was happy with the results, although it was time-consuming to make them. I came up with a different leaf-making option this time around. I'd also like to suggest that felt would make nice leaves.
Using a color copier, put a piece of fabric right in the copier and make a copy of it. When the copy is out of the machine, put it back into the machine so you can copy the flip-side of the paper. Now your leaves will have the design on both sides.
I used scalloped scissors by Fiskars to cut out the leaves, leaving a little tab at the end of each leaf:
If you have a paper punch that makes smaller size holes than a standard office size punch, make a hole in the tab on the leaf. If you don't have one, pierce the tab carefully with the pointy end of the stick and slide the leaf into place:
Put a little glue on the underside to keep it in place:
Now your flower is finished:
And what about shortening the stems? You can cut the sticks with wire cutters or garden pruners (pictured below) so you can have a variety of sizes in your display. A grouping of these flowers look great in a Mason jar filled with dried beans, colorful fish tank gravel from a pet store, or even candy like red hots or candy corn. Another option is painting the jars with your left over spray paint.
You can see in the image below I was experimenting with some options besides leaves, like ribbons and lace. You might think of something even better!